The CBS reporters later gave Najeeb's family footage of this interview. At that time, interrogators at Abu Ghraib informed Najeeb and those working for his release that they did not have any incriminating evidence against him and that his release depended on the Kerbala police.

The CBS interview with Gen. Karpinski aired in the United States on Dec. 24. On Dec. 28 at 1 a.m., Najeeb awoke to find one of his tent-mates overjoyed because of his own release. Najeeb congratulated him. "You are going home too!" the prisoner cried.

At this point in his story, Najeeb's face glowed with joy. He waved his arms to describe what happened next. "All of a sudden the door burst open, and Dr. Jasy and others came in singing, `Happy Biiiiirthday Baba Najeeb! You're goooooing home!'" The long torment was over.

Hours later as we rode home from Kerbala to Baghdad, our translator spoke. "It is as if the terrible weight of all that suffering is somehow balanced by his great love for the young doctor." Or more than balanced. Najeeb wept for Dr. Jasy and for his son Ahmed more than he did when recounting his days of torture.

His love does not erase the wound, but outweighs it by far.