Bringing Down Saddam

Friday, January 07, 2011


On April 9, 2003, a group of Iraqis and US Marines toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein. For some, this signaled the liberation of a jubilant people. For others, it was a photo-op orchestrated by the US to suggest victory long before the fact. Journalist Peter Maass, suggests in the latest New Yorker that neither of these accounts captures the truth.

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Comments [4]

K Habig from MN

I watched the video of this event live, and saw how the US military were orchestrating the activities of the thin crowd of Iraqis. So, I was surprised to see how this was presented in the media as an iconic scene of victory in Iraq. I'm glad to know that this presentation has come under scrutiny, and that there are others who question the media's interpretation of the event.

Jan. 09 2011 05:15 PM
Not a Chance

As long as jingo spewing jingoistic conservatives perpetuate the market for absurd, uninformed jingoism at the expense of the truth, some part of the media will forever cater to them and produce tripe.

Some Americans prefer truth and calling their government to account for all that is done in the name of our potentially great nation.

As illustrated above, others will forever prefer a fairy tale America which they believe incapable of monumental stupidities at the hands of whichever idiots happen to be in power. To these happy dunces, the mere fact that the name "America" is somehow attached means any and every farce and fiasco should be cheered as loudly as any meaningful altruistic good that is done.

Such idiocy diminishes the real good that our country often manages in the world, and will forever permit the most stupid in our government to excercise their moronic whims with impunity, simply because they wear a pin of the American flag.

Thanks for the story, and too bad it's taken almost ten years to gain any real traction in the media. This is perhaps the fourth story I've heard since Peter Maass's New Yorker article was circulated.

I just wish I could believe media at large will ever learn its lesson about serving the truth over tomorrow's ratings, or about succumbing to jingoistic blather by the "right" so as not to be labeled unpatriotic. You'd think the real definition of patriotism would have sunk in by now, seeing what the last decade of lies by the right has done to our country.

Jan. 08 2011 11:39 AM
john staudenmaier sj from detroit

I'm listening to the media error stories right now and write to express my relief that OTM is back. Last week's treatment of games and gaming made me crazy. I'd call it an uncritical hour long infomercial laced with a couple futurist-sort tub thumpers telling enthusiast audiences that gaming is the more or less total human future. Surely it's accurate that gaming develops skills of the problem-solving sort; gaming doesn't do so well teaching how to live with grief and loss, or tenderness and stillness, or to wait while someone is sorting through her/his thoughts to tell me something important.
I'd gotten used to OTM as trenchant and critical. Welcome back!

john staudenmaier, sj emeritus editor of Technology and Culture: The International Journal of the History of Technology

Jan. 08 2011 07:47 AM
Just a Thought

Of course there was that other unimportant and crass photo op involving the USMC and an American flag called the flag raising at Iwo Jima which will be an iconic symbol of our nation until the end of time. Of the six weary men impulsively raising that flag with a rusty drainage pipe, three would not survive the battle and the one Native American soldier would suffer from PTSD as a result of the war until his tragic alcohol related demise ten years later. It would be weeks and thousands of lives later before that small island was secured and the terrible Battle of Okinawa was yet to come. Do those stark realities of human suffering and sacrifice cheapen the image or make it even more sacred?

The mass destruction of mass graves in Iraq were no myth and the courageous Iraqi celebration of the fall of the tyrant who filled them with thousands of their fellow Iraqis wasn't either.
Perhaps we can forgive the journalists in the Palestine Hotel in 2003 who volunteered to work in a police state and combat zone for doing their job and reporting on an impulsive, jubilant and dramatic moment involving their fellow countrymen who fought their way into Baghdad to rescue them, liberate an ancient city from tyranny and lay the foundations for a decent representative government. Yeah, that's a moment worth preserving for the ages. Thanks

Jan. 07 2011 08:09 PM

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