Iraqi Native Talks About Saddam's Capture And Iraq's Future

Sundus Strickland says the national media is distorting the reality about life in Iraq.

The Gautier resident says living conditions are improving quickly, as are the spirits of the Iraqi people, despite what many Americans may see on the nightly news.

Her information is firsthand; she calls her mother in Baghdad several times a week.

WLOX News first interviewed the Iraqi native in early April, as US troops were advancing toward the Iraqi capital.

Sundus Strickland left Iraq following the first Gulf war. The 31 year old woman is a staunch supporter of President Bush and his decision to wage war against Saddam Hussein. She's overjoyed about the capture of Saddam and optimistic about a brighter future for her native land.

She says the national media is giving America a distorted view about conditions in Iraq.

"I think things are improving a lot. But nobody's talking about it. Nobody's showing it. They always talk about the bad things and the killing and the violence. But lots of good things is happening there," she said.

For instance, she says, the Iraqi people are now receiving humanitarian food and medicine. Strickland says Saddam's sons used to peddle relief supplies on the black market instead of giving it to those in need.

"Now they get it for free. My mother tells me they have food, they have medicine. They give them lots of food. The American soldiers are helping people there and giving them food," she said.

President Bush himself assures Strickland the mission in Iraq will be worth the sacrifice. She wrote the President before the war started and received a reply in early November.

Strickland reacted with disbelief over the recent capture of Saddam Hussein. An overseas phone call from a brother-in-law in Saudi Arabia alerted her to the news.

"And there he is. After all these years of living in marble palaces that he built for himself from my people's money and my country's wealth. He ends up in a hole like a rat," Strickland said.

She says Saddam must answer to the Iraqi people he brutalized. She also predicts a swift judgement.

"And I think, if this decision is up to the Iraqi people, he has no chance of living," she predicted.

Sundus Strickland knows about the brutality of Saddam Hussein. During the conflict between Iran and Iraq, her 21 year old brother grew weary of war and refused to fight. He was shot to death.