... John Burns's Feared and Pitiless; Fearful and Pitiable.
At that instant, I felt sorry for him, as a man in distress and perhaps, too, as a once almighty figure reduced to ignominy. But the expression of that pity to the Iraqis present marked the distance between those, like me, who had taken the measure of Saddam’s terror as a visitor, shielded from the worst of it by the minders and the claustrophobic world of closely guarded hotels and supervised Information Ministry trips, and Iraqis who lived through it with no shield.
That I could feel pity for him struck the Iraqis with whom I talked as evidence of a profound moral corruption. I came to understand how a Westerner used to the civilities of democracy and due process — even a reporter who thought he grasped the depths of Saddam’s depravity — fell short of the Iraqis’ sense, forged by years of brutality, of the power of his unmitigated evil.
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