Dr. Mark Green spends his days and sometimes nights serving as chief of the Emergency Department at Bay Medical Center. But on December 12, 2003 he says he was just an American soldier serving his second tour in Iraq.
A solider given the unique opportunity of spending time with the man believed to be responsible for the deaths of thousands. Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. “Here I was just a Doctor...and he was talking...and I was talking and I hadn't gotten any orders not to talk with him."
Through an interpreter, Dr. Green got to experience a part of the war most soldiers don't; a face-to-face encounter with the man who was the major reason for "Operation Iraqi Freedom."
"What did you feel as you were sitting in the room with a man most of the world hated," asked NewsChannel 7's Neysa Wilkins.
"It was intriguing... I mean it was surreal, that's really the best word for it surreal," said Green. "There was a bit of trepidation, I mean he was a terrible dictator, killed hundreds, thousands of people, allegedly, and then I found him to be charming though. So in my mix of emotions I was telling myself, Mark don't become enamored with this guy. He'd kill your family in front of you to extract a confession. So it was just a very broad mix of emotion. He sat cross legged, very comfortably, as if he were some dignitary being interviewed by a historian."
Dr. Green kept his questions centered on Hussein’s history.
"I had toyed with the idea of asking about his sons and things that were more personal, but most of my questions were historical. Why did you invade Iran, why did you invade Kuwait? Did you think the American response would be what it was when you invaded Kuwait? And I tried to stay away from WMD, anything that would compromise the investigation of him."
Dr. Green felt compelled to share what he had learned from Hussein with the world. He sat down and penned this book. "A Night with Saddam."
"Some of Saddam's answers are eye-opening, and they aren't in any other history book and I got the fortune to hear it directly from him. "But I still think it's that human piece that resonates the most." That human piece is about the hardships of war...on the families left back home as well as the soldiers.
"I make myself a little vulnerable and my family a little vulnerable and share some of the struggles we went through. My son, one of the things he told my wife as they drove away is "I hope Daddy doesn't die." Here is this 7 year old boy saying this to mom as she is driving away after dropping me off to go to Iraq."
People are responding to this unique perspective of the war. "Because of my son-in law who is in Kandahar, he is at Ft. Leatherneck at Kandahar, he will be coming home in February. It's been hard months, very hard months. Exactly why he's over there, this man caused it. This man helped start what is going on and I think it will help him realize, too, everybody, why we're over there."
Dr. Green says he's just humbled to have been a small part.
"I got the opportunity to serve with some great soldiers who are committed to this country and its freedom and that's an honor. They are awesome Americans."
If you'd like to get a copy of Dr. Green's book you can log onto www.anightwithsaddam.com and get the information.