Metaphors and politics

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Sat Mar 29 22:10:08 CET 2003

"Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters" <mertz at> wrote in message
news:mailman.1048965415.15853.python-list at
> "Terry Reedy" <tjreedy at> wrote previously:
> |> In a dispatch from Amman, Jordan, distributed by UPI and
published in
> |> the Washington Times on March 23, veteran foreign correspondent
> Btw. for non-USA readers who may be unaware:  the _Washington Times_
> the house organ for Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.
> it is somewhere to the right of Ghengis Khan.  Truth comes in many
> guises, but the medium provides an initial clue.

For someone claiming to be of superior intelligence and knowledge,
this is pretty pathetic.

UPI (United Press International), the *source* of the story (reread
the first line of my quoted text above), is a major news service
founded in 1907.  Its reporters have included 'right-wingers' such as
Walter Chronkite and Helen Thomas (well know liberals, for those who
don't know).  (See  for more.)  Their story was picked up
by more than one of their subscribing newspapers.  I picked the first
that appeared on google's list.

Here is another from Australia's Sunday Mail (another right-wing rag?)
that combines the UPI info (I presume) with a local source.  They
quote from 3!! separate disillusioned (by reality) 'human-shield'
returnees.  Given people's general reluctance to reexamine deeply held
beliefs even in the face of strong contrary evidence, this is pretty

We were so naive

HUMAN shields who fled Iraq after experiencing Saddam Hussein's brutal
regime have admitted they were naive to volunteer for the role.

Australian Jake Nowakowski, 25, who spent three weeks in Baghdad, got
his first glimpse of the true feelings of many Iraqis only on his way

"It wasn't until we crossed the Iraq border back into Jordan that I
asked the driver what he really thought about a war," Mr Nowakowski
said on his return to Melbourne this week.

"He said they didn't want war but they wanted to get rid of Saddam
Hussein and it was an opportunity for that to happen."

Mr Nowakowski said human shields were treated like pawns by Saddam's
regime. "In retrospect I think we were being naive," he said. "We went
into a country that was being run by a dictator."

Mr Nowakowski was in Baghdad as a shield for the Truth, Justice, Peace
group. He said accommodation and meals were paid by the Iraqi

The group first realised they were being used by Saddam when they were
posted to a Baghdad power station. The Republican Guard set up
barracks 500m away and the protesters found out the site had
communication towers certain to become military targets.

"We set out to shield humanitarian sites but the Iraqi officials were
continually trying to manipulate where we could be," Mr Nowakowski
said. "We were denied access to schools, hospitals and orphanages."

Eventually he was posted to a grain storage terminal at al-Taji, 35km
from Baghdad, that stored rice, barley and Australian wheat.

But Mr Nowakowski said government control caused their enthusiasm to

They found out that their "minder" was a former high-ranking official
in Saddam's Ba'ath Party.

Another human shield with a changed view is an American, the Reverend
Kenneth Joseph, who said his trip "shocked me back to reality".

He helped to secretly film 14 hours of uncensored video of Iraqi
civilians. "Some told me they would commit suicide if the American
bombing didn't start," Mr Joseph said. "They were willing to see their
homes demolished to gain freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny."

Mr Joseph described Saddam as "a monster" the likes of which the world
had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. "He and his son are sick
sadists," he said.

Another human shield, American photographer Daniel Pepper, revealed
how he was "a naive fool" to be a human shield.

"I was shocked when I first met a pro-war Iraqi in Baghdad - a taxi
driver taking me back to my hotel late at night. I explained that I
was American and said, as we shields always did, 'Bush bad, war bad,
Iraq good', " he wrote in London's Daily Telegraph.

"He looked at me with an expression of incredulity. As he realised I
was serious, he slowed down and started to speak in broken English
about the evils of Saddam's regime.

"Until then I had only heard the president spoken of with respect but
now this guy was telling me how all of Iraq's oil money went into
Saddam's pocket and that if you opposed him politically he would kill
your whole family."

Mr Pepper said he left Baghdad by taxi for Jordan with five other
human shields. Over the border, they asked the driver what he felt
about the regime and the threat of bombing and he replied that Iraqis
" want America to bomb Saddam".

After five weeks in Baghdad, Mr Pepper said: "Anyone with half a brain
must see that Saddam has to be taken out.

"It is extraordinarily ironic that the anti-war protesters are
marching to defend a government which stops its people exercising that

Terry J. Reedy

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