Wed., April 30, 2003
As the conflict wound down, those in the corporate press did their best to highlight staged photo ops of Iraqis welcoming U.S. invaders, while underplaying the much more common Iraqi reaction--widespread rioting and looting. Even the relatively minimal coverage offered to the latter was too much for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who fumed at the press for an overemphasis on this violence.
The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the major Iraqi Shiite opposition group, has decided to boycott the U.S.-sponsored talks aimed at creating a new Iraqi government because, in the words of SCIRI leader Abdelaziz Hakim, the talks are "not to the benefit of the Iraqi nation." Shiites make up 60% of Iraq's population, and, while those in the administration made repeated references to bringing democracy to Iraq, Rumsfeld, when asked in an AP interview (4/24/03) what would happen if the Iraqi population prefered an Iranian-style Islamic government, replied:
"If you're suggesting, how would we feel about an Iranian-type government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the answer is: That isn't going to happen."
Huge anti-American demonstrations have followed the U.S. invasion, beginning only days after the collapse of the Hussein regime. At the end of April, India's NDTV conducted a poll in Baghdad, trumpeted as the first real opinion poll in Iraq in three decades. It revealed that, while most Baghdad residents (54%) believed the U.S. had done the right thing by invading, virtually the same percentage (52%) think the U.S. should leave immediately.
Perhaps most importantly, though, none of the dreaded weapons of mass destruction--the alleged imminent threat from which was the administration's major argument for launching this project--appeared at any time during the conflict, nor have been found since the end of the conflict. None of them. No deployed weapons. No stored weapons. None of the infrastructure such weapons would require. Nothing.
If the corporate press ever decides to stop sitting on the information--and that's, admittedly, a big if--this administration is going to have some explaining to do in the near future.
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