Saturday, June 7
... And The Truth The Victors Refuse To See
Mr Blair Paid a Flying Visit Last Week; Next Week it’s the Turn of President Bush. Reporting from Baghdad, Robert Fisk Suggests an Itinerary That Would Open Their Eyes to What’s Really Going on in Iraq
by Robert Fisk, The Daily Times/Pakistan, June 3, 2003
Iraqis, it now seems certain, are to be blessed this week with a visit from their Liberator-in-Chief, George Bush Jr. While Washington has been avoiding all mention of the trip, the new Iraqi newspapers - one of the few positive results of “liberation” here - have been happily speculating for days on Bush’s arrival.
And we all know what the American President would like to do when he arrives: to be filmed inspecting Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, the purported reason for the Anglo-American invasion illegally launched against Iraq. The problem, of course, is that there don’t appear to be any.
So how will the Bush public relations boys manage this particular piece of theatre? [...]
... First, join a gas queue. George Bush will help to push his limousine to the back of the three-mile petrol line by the Hussein bridge - many motorists run dry before they reach the queue - and here he will wait ... and wait and wait. Eight hours if he’s lucky, maybe 12. Maybe 24.
Then George Bush can visit the 158 Iraqi government ministry buildings that should be the infrastructure of the new US-backed government which he has sworn to establish here. He will see, of course, that of the 158 buildings, every one was looted and then burned after the Americans occupied Baghdad.
Next, a trip to the former Saddam City, now “Sadr City”, the vast, foetid, boiling Shia Muslim slums where power is now dangerously divided between three prelates, all of whom oppose the American presence with varying degrees of ferocity and self-interest. Mr Bush will discover that nationalist and religious sentiment - rather than Iranian “terrorism” or “interference” - demand an American departure.
Mr Bush will take tea with a Shia family at midday when, as usual, there is no electricity, so that he, like them, will sweat for an hour in their hovel. [...]
... President Bush will leave Iraq as he came - not by air, because the US authorities still don’t allow commercial flights to Baghdad - but on the long and dangerous road to Amman where armed thieves roam the motorway past Ramadi, where no driver goes by night. He will thus experience life for ordinary Iraqis in the wake of their “liberation”: the fear of anarchy and lawlessness, of robbery and assault. [...]