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It's one of those stories from overseas, Reuters, a London paper, vague sources quoted...the type of story to make you go hmmmmm...Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf, Comical Ali, Baghdad Bob... captured. This of course, after he's been reported dead of suicide then hiding in his home. The first story, if true, negates the other two. The second begs questions like "why didn't we go arrest him then?" ('We' being the reader and a band of Navy Seals, of course, perhaps with additional gunmen to protect the reader.)
I was never in on the "Baghdad Bob" craze. The military part of my mind expects propaganda from the enemy. Given that some are shooting real bullets at soldiers while this guy was just spewing foolishness at reporters I would consider him far down on the list of things to do. "Capture fugitive Iraqi Information Minister clown" just seems like a lower priority then "restore water and electricity" or "get these weasels to stop shooting us in the back then running away."
In fact I enjoy comic relief, even in the midst of war. The tougher the times, the harder I'll laugh. And I know a stooge when I see one.
Now here's a blast from the past.
From CENTCOM Operation Iraqi Freedom Briefing ~ 11 April 2003 Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, Deputy Director of Operations
GEN. BROOKS:...I would add that information-wise, the coalition governments have identified a list of key regime leaders who must be pursued and brought to justice. The key list has 55 individuals who may be pursued, killed or captured, and the list does not exclude leaders who may have already been killed or captured. This list has been provided to coalition forces on the ground in several forms to ease identification when contact does occur. And this deck of cards is one example of what we provide to soldiers out -- soldiers and marines out in the field -- with the faces of the individuals and what their role is. In this case, there are 55 cards in the deck...Then later, in Q & A:
Q General, Jeff Meade from Sky News. You've changed regime for anarchy, it seems, in many places. And some Iraqis seem to take the view that the coalition forces are too passive in this, in controlling what's going on, because they may be liberated but they don't feel particularly safe. I wonder if you're going to use any of these prisoners -- you talked about the Five Corps surrender, or maybe get the police back on the street, some of these people who are used to following orders may now follow your orders. Do you have any plans for that?
And if I can also ask a second question, your deck of 55 most wanted, does that include the former information minister -- because every pack needs a joker? (Laughter.)
GEN. BROOKS: Well said, Jeff. Well said. Well, there are jokers in this deck, there's no doubt about that. (Laughter.) And that is also there are cards that have "joker" marked on them.
And he wanted that card to be there. Every reporter in that room wanted that card to be there.
Because Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf had committed the most heinous crimes against humanity possible; in time of war or not. He had lied to the press! And they believed him! He bamboozled them. And as I said, that was his job, and he did it well. To see him denying the tanks behind him will always stand in the history of corporate loyalty as the most dedicated act of total commitment to an employer that any one will likely ever perform. Expect all the really savvy management seminars to include it soon.
Laughable? Yes, the Information Minister is. He's Gimli the Dwarf in the movie version of Lord of the Rings - the comic relief amidst carnage.
The response to him by the media was not funny. It was the job of the reporters to asses his validity, and they failed utterly. He exposed them for the bumbling incompetent anti-American droolers they are. They believed him because they wanted to believe him. They wanted to believe it was CENTCOM that was lying about the amazing advance of the American
Orcs Army and Marines on Helms Deep Baghdad. Even with the airport taken he was able to successfully sow seeds of disbelief amongst the most ignorant members of the press. It was only after the statues fell that the last of the stalwart lefties finally surrendered to reality - no quagmire, no refugee crisis, no thousands dead in house-to-house fighting.
Saddam's crimes pale in comparison to the brutal lies that Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf sowed among our poor naive journalists, so eager to be on the front lines of the next Vietnam. Add the fact that it wasn't a quagmire, that it wouldn't result in the impeachment of the President, that the good guys would win, to the fact that they were lied to and you can probably imagine the sense of despair that must have overwhelmed the Baghdad Press corps when the first of the statues fell. A tribute to their professionalism that they persevered and reported even when confronted with the ultimate reality of such a stunning setback to their cause.
And what then of Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf? His instant superstar status on the internet and late-night talk shows (now fully recognizing the clown for what he was) probably forced suppression of most of the rage that so many in the mainstream press felt for the man. That plus mis-reporting about museum looting took their little minds off the topic of forming a lynch mob and tracking him down.
And now he has turned up on Arab TV claiming to be alive. (Note to media: you can believe him this time. He is alive.) Claiming to have been questioned and released by the Americans. And looking like the supply of Clairol in Baghdad has dwindled to nil. (Note to searchers for Saddam.)
A sad pathetic man, separated by weeks of hard living (ironically while becoming a superstar via ridicule in the west) from the jut-jawed darling of the left-wing press that ranted live via satellite in our living rooms every day.
Questioned and released.
Oh how that must burn within the stomachs of his betrayed but once adoring fans.
While I agree that we can only expect propoganda from the other side, it was still very entertaining to watch this guy blatantly lie, night after night. I guess after the stress of watching our soldiers fight battles and get killed, it was a comic relief---in a weird, sick and twisted way. It just made us feel better.Posted by serenity at June 27, 2003 08:20 PM
There are no Americans at the airport. We have all your bases.Posted by Sgt Hook at June 27, 2003 08:37 PM
Might I also add how hysterical it was to watch CNN take this guy's words seriously.Posted by serenity at June 28, 2003 01:25 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(3) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)