April 11, 2003
Saddam Statue Scene Staged
by Robert Fisk
. . . a statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down on Wednesday, in the most staged photo-opportunity since Iwo Jima. . . .
. . . As the occupying power, America is responsible for protecting embassies and UN offices in their area of control . . .
Every government ministry in the city has now been denuded of its files, computers, reference books, furnishings and cars. To all this, the Americans have turned a blind eye, indeed stated specifically that they had no intention of preventing the "liberation" of this property. One can hardly be moralistic about the spoils of Saddam's henchmen but how is the government of America's so-called "New Iraq" supposed to operate now that the state's property has been so comprehensively looted? . . .
"Deadly Deception, Pretexts for War," The Wisdom Fund, July 30, 2001
["The US flag that was put on the face of Saddam yesterday - it was replaced by an Iraqi flag when the people shouted for that - was the flag that was flying over the Pentagon on September 11."--Paul Wood, "9/11 Pentagon Flag Used To Cover Saddam's Face In Baghdad," BBC (Baghdad), April 10, 2003]
["Rather than a spontaneous mass demonstration, the photo clearly shows that only a couple hundred Iraqis participated in the largely empty and heavily guarded Fardus Square. American tanks and troops surrounded the square and one armored vehicle "helped" the Iraqis pull down the statue."--Ivan Eland, "Just Another Staged Baghdad Rally?," Independent Institute, April 12, 2003]
["The scene was marred by the presence of American tanks and soldiers who, before reaching that square to help a few Iraqis topple down the statue, had slaughtered many civilians and left a trace of blood and destruction.
"Alas, tyranny is now replaced with colonialism. Let us not be intoxicated by that image and let it erase the fact that this "liberating" power itself was complicit in propping and supporting Saddam throughout the 1980's when he waged his war against Iran and killed one million Iraqis. All those Iraqis were not worthy of liberation back then, because they were serving another function: fodder for weapons and for containing Khomeini's Iran. I remember seeing Rumsfeld shake hands with our oppressor on Iraqi TV back in the early 1980's and both Bush I and Reagan supplied him with weapons and military intelligence while he was gassing Iraqi Kurds. No wonder it was difficult to topple him without his original sponsors who came uninvited and with ulterior motives that have become painfully obvious by now.
"Yes there were Iraqis cheering and dancing, but that should not be (mis)interpreted as rolling out the red carpet for American tanks. The crowd at Al-Firdaws square was a few hundred and no more. Baghdad is a city of 4.5 million."--Sinan Antoon, "(De)liberation: The paradise promised in Iraq has been lost," Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), April 13, 2003]
"The Toppling Of Saddam Statue: An Eyewitness Report," SBS TV (Australia), April 17, 2003
["There was the CIA's man, an Iraqi fixer of the American stooge Ahmad Chalabi, orchestrating that joyous media moment of 'liberation', attended by 'hundreds' - or was it 'dozens'? - of cheering people, with three American tanks neatly guarding the entrances to the media stage. 'Thanks, guys,' said a marine to the BBC's Middle East correspondent in appreciation of the BBC's 'coverage."--John Pilger, "Something deeply corrupt is consuming journalism," April 25, 2003]
[A Reuters long-shot photo of Firdos Square showed that it was nearly empty, ringed by U.S. tanks and marines who had moved in to seal off the square before admitting the Iraqis. A BBC photo sequence of the statue's toppling also showed a sparse crowd of approximately 200 people--much smaller than the demonstrations only nine days later, when thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad calling for U.S.-led forces to leave the city.--Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, "How To Sell a War: The Rendon Group deploys 'perception management' in the war on Iraq," InTheseTimes, August 4, 2003]
David Zucchino, "Army Stage-Managed Fall of Hussein Statue," Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2004