Saturday, January 17, 2004


The St. Cloud Times reran the op-ed piece by Abbas Mehdi that Mitch discussed last week. I wrote a little about this before. It's worth noting that the comments of our local paper readers. Since that link will go bad fast, let me copy a few over, to preserve them.
floradora from franklin: Am I the only one in the world who wonders if Saddam Hussein is really as bad as his enemies,(read; Bush Oil Cartel) and the CIA (read; friends and willing accomplices of Daddy Bush who once was their leader along with any other faction that has the power to let them continue their dirty tricks) paint him? He may very well be, but it appears that he wasn't that big a monster until he got too big for his britches, so to speak, and perhaps did not toady up to the good old USA dirty tricks and oil power people. And, not to mention the Brits, who had scores of their own to settle. One must remember or even learn that our own government is a wizard at propaganda and shaping public opinion. It has more control of the media than we seem to want to know. For example, last night, a local newscaster reported that there would be an investigation of reports of mis-treatment of Iraqi prisoners by the military after three of them had been dismissed for kicking a prisoner. He didn't mention that they took turns, two holding the prisoners legs apart while the other one kicked the prisoner in the "groin area", (read; scrotum, to put it delicately). So unless someone had seen the story reported by some obscure source, weeks before the local report, one would think, my, my, a little kick isn't so bad. Could it be that we are being led to think that? Is the government influencing that news cast? Who knows? What does seem obvious, is that we didn't hear much of anything about Saddam until the government needed to inflame the U.S. citizenry into attack mode. I am sure the media can get any number of Iraqis to stand in front of a camera and tell us all about the atrocities they have suffered but, funny thing, any more, old cynical me, I just wonder how many candy bars or packs of cigarettes that interview cost.

ollie from lake wobegon: This war was started by a group of Chickenhawks...that is, by people who refused to serve, did not serve in the military when it was their time, and therefore have no clue or concern about what it is like to do the fighting. Thousands died because of the enthusiasm of these draft dodgers who inhabit our administration, including the AWOL/Deserter President. Perhaps if they had seen young people, with their futures ahead of them, die...they might not have been so gung-ho to start a war on such weak justifications. Moral pygmies.

You can react to that in the comment box. You wonder what these people read. You also wonder if they've managed to even understand Mehdi, who was driven out of his homeland by Saddam and marked for death. I don't want to engage in psychology-from-afar, but I found this from last month quite telling.
Mehdi, an Iraqi-born professor at St. Cloud State University, hates Saddam and has devoted years of effort to overthrowing him.

His own mixed feelings [over Saddam's capture], which surprised Mehdi himself, made him want to caution U.S. officials to take care that the treatment of their high-profile captive not aggravate the sense of humiliation that many Iraqis feel about the situation in their country. ...

And, finally, he felt a sense of failure, as a member of the anti-Saddam resistance, that the final overthrow of Saddam was accomplished by outsiders.
I get that. I understand that. But I wonder whether the sympathies in Mehdi's oped come more from a political understanding of the Iraqi street or from an expression of personal frustration?