You have probably seen the photos of the statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled, and TV footage of jubilant Iraqis rolling the bronze head around, bringing back memories of so many previous popular uprisings – 1989, 1956, 1953...
If there is one thing this
war has taught us all, it's that we can't believe what we're told. For
Donald Rumsfeld these were "breathtaking". For the British
Army they were "historic". For BBC Radio they were "amazing".
The BBC website had the honesty to say that "dozens" of Iraqis were involved, but this grain of truth was swamped by the overwhelming impression of mass joy. The radio and TV were even worse.
The masses are no doubt glad to see the back of Saddam Hussein, but was this a US Army propaganda coup.
April 6th: Iraqi National Congress founder, Ahmed Chalabi is flown into the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah by the Pentagon. Chalabi, along with 700 fighters of his "Free Iraqi Forces" are airlifted aboard four massive C17 military transport planes. Chalabi and the INC are Washington favorites to head the new Iraqi government. A photograph is taken of Chalabi and members of his Free Iraqi Forces militia as they arrive in Nasiriyah.
April 9th: One of the "most memorable images of the war" is created when U.S. troops pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Fardus Square. Oddly enough... a photograph is taken of a man who bears an uncanny resemblance to one of Chalabi's militia members... he is near Fardus Square to greet the Marines. How many members of the pro-American Free Iraqi Forces were in and around Fardus Square as the statue of Saddam came tumbling down?
The up close action video
of the statue being destroyed is broadcast around the world as proof
of a massive uprising. Still photos grabbed off of Reuters show a long-shot
view of Fardus Square... it's empty save for the U.S. Marines, the International
Press, and a small handful of Iraqis. There are no more than 200 people
in the square at best. The Marines have the square sealed off and guarded
by tanks. A U.S. mechanized vehicle is used to pull the statue of Saddam
from it's base. The entire event is being hailed as an equivalent of
the Berlin Wall falling... but even a quick glance of the long-shot
photo shows something more akin to a carefully constructed media event
tailored for the television cameras.
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