The Rumsfeld Papers


New Video Released: Middle East Envoy

"A Diplomatic Gift from Saddam Hussein"

March 8, 2011

In December 1983, I traveled to Baghdad as President Reagan’s Middle East Envoy and met with Saddam Hussein. At the conclusion of our meeting he presented me with a gift. Such gifts can be unusual, but even so I was shocked by this one. Saddam had given me a three-minute videotape documenting alleged Syrian “atrocities.” The blurred, choppy footage shows young Syrians biting the heads off of snakes and stabbing puppies, to the apparent applause of then-Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad. Saddam’s message was clear: The Syrian regime was barbaric. Though his evidence was hardly convincing, his conclusion was a tough one to dispute.

WARNING: This video depicts graphic violence. Some viewers may find it disturbing.

View it here.