Saddam's Palace Is Tourist Hotspot for US Troops

Ruins are all the sightseeing most get to do
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2008 12:21 PM CDT
One of Saddam Hussein's palaces sits near Baghdad airport, now used by the U.S. Military May 29, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – It’s impractical—not to mention dangerous—for US troops to do much sightseeing in Baghdad, but Saddam Hussein’s ruined presidential complex is one exception. As one of the few places off-duty service members can go, the palace has become a magnet for military tourists, the Wall Street Journal reports. One sergeant has even starting giving tours; so far, he’s shown 3,000 Americans through the ruins.

The compund is the size of dozens of football fields. Parts are still beautiful, and parts are used by the military for official purposes. But other sections stand as bombed-out ruins, burial sites for Iraqis killed in the initial “shock and awe” bombing. “They all got blown up watching Pretty Woman,” one tourist observes. “What a way to go.”