One of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces is being turned over to the Iraqi government:
MOSUL, Iraq – Task Force Band of Brothers will turn over control of the former Saddam Hussein presidential compound here to Iraqi government officials in a ceremony in Mosul July 20.
The Mosul VIP Residence site, built over 2.2 square kilometers and completed in 1994, contained Saddam Hussein’s northernmost presidential site and includes several palaces and VIP residences, three lakes, and man-made waterfalls. According to the complex’s pre-war caretaker, it was built for Saddam Hussein’s son, Qusay. Apparently, neither Hussein nor his sons actually stayed there.
The main palace has been home to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Division Main Command Post, Task Force Olympia CP, and Task Force Freedom CP, situated in one of the former regime’s palace buildings overlooking the Tigris.
The compound has also served as headquarters during some of its greatest successes in Iraq. Notable among those many successes was the May 5, 2003 Mosul city and Ninewa provincial council elections, the first post-Saddam Hussein election in Iraq.
While serving as northern headquarters, it played host to many VIPs and dignitaries, among them: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice; Secretary of Army Francis J. Harvey; nearly every U.S. Senator; comedian Robin Williams; and actor Bruce Willis.
Since the departure of Task Force Freedom in December 2005, the compound has been home to elements of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and other coalition forces. Earlier this year, they began the task of vacating and restoring the compound in order to hand it over.
This is good news on its face, because it continues America’s phased withdrawal from Iraq and its peaceful return of power to the Iraqi people. It’s also good news for those who support the war because the anti-War Left adored images of America’s military lounging in Saddam’s pleasure palaces. To the Left, these pictures didn’t highlight the overthrow of a brutal tyrant. In their mind, they provided proof positive that another brutal tyrant — the American military — had taken over. With the military’s withdrawal from the palace, that’s one less propaganda item in which the anti-War people can wallow.