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The fear, the squalor …and the hope | 19 March 2005

This article first ran in the 3rd May 2003 issue of The Spectator Baghdad We could tell something was up as soon as we approached the petrol station. There was an American tank parked amid a big crowd of jerrycan-toting Iraqis. Unusually, the soldiers were down and walking around, guns at the ready. Then I

Alice doesn’t live here any more

Alice Thomas Ellis, the novelist and former Spectator columnist who died last week, once took part in an earnest feminist questionnaire that asked her to name the most important event in women’s history. ‘The Annunciation,’ she replied. Alice — known to all her friends by her real name, Anna — bore the physical aspect of

How I escaped from my hospital hell

You thought it was difficult to get into an NHS bed? Try getting out when the bureaucrats say no. In my own case you might have thought they would urge me to be gone, for I was a bad patient. Normally I have a high pain threshold, but that Monday as I came round from

The devils’ advocate

For most people, to defend a blood-stained tyrant is perverse and shocking; to defend two seems like recklessness. Yet the causes of both Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic are what occupy Ramsey Clark, 78, as he crowns a political career that started with his appointment to the US government on the first day of the

Out of the ashes

Baghdad As the Puma chugs over Baghdad I look out over the machine gun and I have to admit I am full of a sudden wistfulness. I have been here before, almost two years ago exactly. It was a week after the end of the war, and in those days my feelings were of nervous