Sunday, August 08, 2004

Revisionism and Propaganda

It should not shock anyone that when someone, like a columnist, wishes to defend a position he or she took on an issue in the past, her or she will try and revise and extend their remarks after the fact. Peter Bronson is trying just such a ploy. In his column today he writes about a visit from an Iraqi who he says is thanking the USA for freeing Iraq.

Now there are two issues on this column that I want to address. First I will talk about Bronson's revisionism. It seems odd to me that Peter would bring these women's stories to light and not expect a certain point to come back to bit him in the ass. Peter says that "America" was right to invade and take over Iraq because of the way Saddam oppressed his people. One of the women had family members killed by Saddam back in 1991 during the Kurdish uprising. This was the same uprising that the USA failed to support, beyond belatedly starting the now fly zones. Why would she look past that big fact? Why would she not acknowledge it? Maybe she did, but that is part of history that Bronson would sooner forget, after all, it was a Bush who did not act to say those hundreds of thousands of people then, but his son claims this as the reason now.

When Bronson writes "The two women told me about mass graves, 300,000 buried corpses.." I have to point out that the vast majority of those corpses, which no number in mass graves was ever determined, occurred in Southern Iraq in 1991 when the Shiite Muslims revolted against Saddam and were left out to dry by the USA.

These are reasons that justify the UN opposing, and if it became necessary, invading and removin Saddam from power. This is not why the USA started a pre-emptive war, or at least not the reason the people of USA were given. We were told that Iraq posed a real threat to the USA, not a long-term possible threat that could happen in ten years. We were told we could not wait for the UN to act, we had to act before it was too late, before we here on US soil were attacked with help from or direct by Iraq.

That was the bill of goods we were sold. That along with the reasonable tact that Iraq was in violation of UN sanctions, which ended up being rather limited in the end anyway. We now have a propaganda tour from two women, who I frankly never heard of, who are on a tour to spread "their" opinions of why we fought the war.

I agree with helping establishing Democracy anywhere in the world, but I don't want to be tricked into thing that what these women are say has full truth to it.

The second issue revolves around why they were in the USA. Here are their bio's from the event Peter attended where they spoke:
Surood Ahmed is a women's activist from Kirkurk, Iraq and Taghreed Al Qaragholi, women's activist from Baghdad. Surood Ahmed is a Kurd and studied Agronomy at the University of Mosul. Her family suffered under Saddam Hussein's regime. Her sister, aunt and stepmother were killed by Saddam's Republican guard during the 1991 uprising in Kirkuk and she was wounded trying to fee the city. Since the liberation of Iraq she moved back to Kirkuk and reunited with her family. Ms. Ahmed works to promote democracy in Iraq and plans to help train women to become involved in the political process.

Taghreed Al Qaragholi was born and raised in Baghdad and graduated from Al-Athar University College. Under the Baath regime she was denied a higher education because she refused to join the Baath Party. Her father refused to serve in Saddam Hussein's army and was forced to go into hiding. She now is the administrative director of the Iraqi Independent Democrats, where she typed the new Iraqi constitution. She is an active member of the Iraqi Independent Women's Group which includes one of the six female ministers in Iraq's new government, and a number of deputy ministers.
What I find puzzling is that they somehow got funding to go on tour of the Midwest, appearing in Columbus at a similar event.

It is even more interesting to read a far better column on their visit to Detroit, where the ‘purpose’ of their visit was covered, not the Pro-War propaganda that Bronson spewed.

How many people really could buy the claims Bronson quotes?
They urged our troops to stay in Iraq. "Ninety-five percent of the people in Iraq feel like us," Al Qaragholi said. "Only 5 percent are from Saddam's group."

She should know. She was invited by the World Affairs Council of Greater Cincinnati to speak Monday night because she worked on Iraq's constitution as administrative director of the Iraqi Independent Democrats. She also works for women's rights. For Iraq, that makes her part James Madison and part Susan B. Anthony - and all fed up by anti-war Americans who think we should feel guilty.

"Guilty about what? We are free now. Now I'm not afraid," she said. "I assure you, they will find the weapons of mass destruction. They already have. Saddam was a weapon of mass destruction."

These strong and successful Iraqi women are also WMDs to neighboring regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, which use Islam to keep women veiled and powerless. "Ninety percent of Iraq is Islamic, but we refuse to have an Islamic state," Al-Qaragholi said. "That threatens their leaders and their regimes, and that's why they have made Iraq a battleground," she said of the terrorists and their Islamic-fundamentalist sponsors.
So either this women has poll numbers that are not known to anyone else, or her 95% claim is as I expect a fabrication. I laugh at Peter's Susan B. Anthony reference, which is often used by anti-feminists because of her contextual views on abortion. The WMD dismissal is right out of GOP Talking Points. I wonder where Surood Ahmed got those?

Now, the most serious issue that Ms. Ahmed is either in denial of or just ignorant about is the issue of people in Iraq wanting an Islamic State. She is so very wrong. Many Shiites want some type of Islamic State or one where Islamic law is practiced. That Islamic Law does conflict with women's basic human rights in most every Islamic country. Islamic rule or interference in Iraqi government is something that is a crux of the conflict between the three main power groups in Iraq. Kurdish autonomy is the other big sticking point, which not surprisingly was not addressed in Bronson's column. I don't know why it would be after all; propaganda can’t have bad news or skepticism and still be propaganda.

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