we are told: Terrorist attacks in the USA are a result of jealousy of our freedom and democracy.
reality: The USA is the most agressive and violent nation on Earth. These attacks are a result of the hatred of US policy. Many people in the world would laugh at the idea of democracy in America. It is not called democracy when the leader refuses to listen to the people. Attacking another country to install your own military leader is not democracy. George W. Bush has made a laughing stock of American democracy.
About the American people: Many people I have met think Americans are stupid, naieve, or confused because they believe the propaganda put out by the American government.
we are told: Iraqis hate Americans.
reality: In Iraq I was treated with kindness that I have never experienced before, espically after finding out that I was American, they wanted to shake my hand, get my autograph, invite me into their home, and become friends.
we are told: Iraq is a dangerous place.
reality: Yes, but only as a result of the American bombs. In general I felt safer in Baghdad than in most American cities, and much safer than anywhere in Texas.
we are told: The Turkish parliment rejects the use of their country for launching an attack on Iraq. This creates a problem for the US military.
reality: The Turkish parliment did deny the US military use of their country, but the US military continues to unload equipment, gather troops, purchase hospitals and airports, build military bases, and prepare for war, without regard for what the Turkish parliment says. People feel their country is being invaded by the Americans and perhaps they will be next. One woman here told me that it felt like their country is being raped. The Turks are powerless to stop their allies, the Americans.
we are told: Iraqi's are leaving Baghdad in fear of chemical attack by Saddam.
reality: Iraqi's are leaving Baghdad in fear of 3000 American bombs.
we are told: Iraq's current poverty and despair is due to repression by Saddam.
reality: Iraqs current despair is a result of war and 12 years of US led sanctions.
we are told: The US will dismantle the torture chambers and rape rooms.
reality: I know someone who experienced these torture chambers first hand. The equipment used was made in the USA. This was more than twenty years ago. The USA built the torture chambers.
we are told: The Kurdish people want war.
reality: I interviewed groups of Kurdish women who told me they did not want war, In the case of war they said that their children would all be killed by the Americans and that they would be raped.
we are told: Iraq will experience democracy after the war.
reality: This must be a new definition of democracy, where a foreign power invades a country and installs a new leader, in this case General Tommy Franks. This is not democracy, this is a military dictatorship.
we are told: The war will result in a more peaceful world.
reality: The USA is in the process of creating many millions of new enemys. How is this going to result in peace? This will result in more "terrorist" attacks and continuous war.
we are told: Saddam is evil because he gassed his own people 15 years ago.
reality: Yes, Saddam gassed the Kurdish people, using American made gas, and 5000 were killed, and yes I think this is evil. However, there are more than 5000 people in Iraq killed every month in Iraq, for the last 12 years as a result of the US led sanctioins. Over a million dead. This is 200 times the number gassed by Saddam. By this logic the Bush family and American policy is 200 times more evil than Saddam.
we are told: The American military only targets military targets.
reality: In Iraq I was personally shielding a grain elevator (food storage). In 1991 grain elevators and water purification plants were among the sites bombed. Wheat fields were burned by American napalm days before harvest. Of course there is also the example of the Al Amiriya bomb shelter where 408 women and children were killed by a "bunker buster" bomb, specially designed to penetrate such structures. These are civillian targets, destroyed as a deliberate attack on the civillian population.
we are told: America is bombing Iraq in order to liberate them.
reality: The Iraqi's do not want to be liberated, they do not need to be liberated. You cannot liberate dead people, the dead are already liberated. America is invading Iraq and taking over.
we are told: "You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists."
reality: There are many other options. You can be against US policy, and against the terrorists at the same time. The vast majority of people in the world fall into this category. It is called "peace".
At the book market
I was at this book market. There were thousands of books there of all kinds. Technical books, scientific books, medical books, romance books, political books, classic literature, on and on. As far as I know there are no sanctions on books. They are not "hungry for literature", they do not need American liberators to provide books as the copy associated with this photo would seem to imply.
'America's Great Enemy'
More books... the media is not always consistant.
At the Shabandor Cafe
I know this shop. It is a juice stand. The owner was very proud of those photos you see on the back wall. They show Baghdad as it was in the 50's and 60's. I got some close up pics and have put them on the website. Most of the patrons of this shop are teenagers. The juice is very good and the owner usually refused to take my money. This scene is staged. People do not generally gather there to read or smoke nargile (the fruit flavored smoke)... it is not a coffee shop or tea house and they do not sell nargile. They sell juice and a few sweets.
Over the Tigris
Another obviously staged photo. Why are these children looking through the hole?
But actually I like this photo. I think it's completely appropriate that the bombs are dropping on the childrens heads. Perhaps that is intentional on the part of the photographer and a slip up on the part of the editor. Good job!
Even more books... seems like they shouldn't be too "hungry for literature".
There is never this much boat traffic on the Tigris. Ocassionally you can see a small fishing boat. These boats are hired for this shot, for what purpose I don't know. Notice that they are the same color and design. The shot would be more successful if they would have taken the time to contact a variety of rental agencies.
Support for Saddam
Actually there were many pro-Saddam rallies during the time I was there. They were generally larger than the rest of the anti-war rallies. Of course pro-war, pro-liberation, or pro-Bush rallies were non-existant.
Yes, due to 12 years of sanctions, the entire city is falling into disrepair. Parks, storefronts, and shopping malls have been abandon. During the Iran/Iraq war, the Iraqi people were building MacDonalds and other western type business. America supported them and they were preparing for the Americans to come, as tourists... But instead the Americans are bombing them.
Typical media sex sensationalism. Actually there are very few sex oriented ads or establishments in Iraq, at least not visible. And even these are not allowed to show actual photos in public, hence these drawings. There is MUCH less of this type of thing in Baghdad than I have seen in most American cities as well as isolated freeway exit ramps in rural America. The "B-Movie bonanza" is in the USA, not in Iraq.
Of course I could go on and on... these lies are much more frequent than anyone would have the time to comment on or uncover.
We are constantly bombarded by lies and partial truths in the media, designed to pursuade us to support the war by hiding the horrors, dehumanizing the "enemy", and victimizing ourselves... this happens all the time. Most of the media that most Americans see is a lie.