Happy 4th of July
I'm off to an Independence (from Bush) Day fund-raiser for John F. Kerry. But I couldn't let this get past my sensor. It's from the L.A. Times, and I'll just post the whole story, because it's not that long:
Army Stage-Managed Fall of Hussein Statue
The Army's internal study of the war in Iraq criticizes some efforts by its own psychological operations units, but one spur-of-the-moment effort last year produced the most memorable image of the invasion.
As the Iraqi regime was collapsing on April 9, 2003, Marines converged on Firdos Square in central Baghdad, site of an enormous statue of Saddam Hussein. It was a Marine colonel — not joyous Iraqi civilians, as was widely assumed from the TV images — who decided to topple the statue, the Army report said. And it was a quick-thinking Army psychological operations team that made it appear to be a spontaneous Iraqi undertaking.
After the colonel — who was not named in the report — selected the statue as a "target of opportunity," the psychological team used loudspeakers to encourage Iraqi civilians to assist, according to an account by a unit member.
But Marines had draped an American flag over the statue's face.
"God bless them, but we were thinking … that this was just bad news," the member of the psychological unit said. "We didn't want to look like an occupation force, and some of the Iraqis were saying, 'No, we want an Iraqi flag!' "
Someone produced an Iraqi flag, and a sergeant in the psychological operations unit quickly replaced the American flag.
Ultimately, a Marine recovery vehicle toppled the statue with a chain, but the effort appeared to be Iraqi-inspired because the psychological team had managed to pack the vehicle with cheering Iraqi children.
Coming out on a Satuday during a holiday weekend, this probably won't get a lot of play in the press. But God dammit. It was pretty obvious this was fishy from the beginning; at the time Information Clearing House printed pictures showing that there was no throng of people (maybe 100 or so) around the statue, and that the area was sealed off by US tanks. Also, it shows proof that at least one of the "jubilant Iraqis" in the crowd was a member of Ahmad Chalabi's Free Iraqi Forces militia. Now, we get official confirmation that the entire event was fucking staged, and almost catastrophically bungled by the Marines putting the US flag over Saddam's face (like so many hoods over Iraqi detainee's heads). My biggest regret is that Bush-Cheney didn't use this in a campaign commercial before it was revealed as bullshit. Then again, they just believe the American public ignorant enough to slip it in somwhere anyway.