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          There it was, buried on page A28 of the July 3 (Saturday) L.A. Times: "Army Stage-Managed Fall of Hussein Statue."
          Never mind that international press---I particularly recall Robert Fisk's columns---had reported this information ad nauseum, in detail, almost from the day it happened. Never mind that Ahmad Chalabi and a cadre of his sycophants were among the "Iraqis" cheering as the statue fell. Never mind that the crowd on hand was tiny. Never mind that the statue's face was covered first with a U.S. Flag, then hastily switched to an Iraq flag for PR purposes. Never mind it was a U.S. Marine vehicle that pulled the statue down.
          None of it was "true," you see, until the Army admitted it, just before July 4th weekend, where it would die in newspapers few would read. Before that, this was just wild lefty raving.
          The Army's internal study on the Iraq occupation concluded that it was a Marine colonel, not joyous Iraqi civilians, who ordered that the statue be toppled Apr. 9, 2003. And it was, as the Times reported, "a quick-thinking Army psychological operations team that made it appear to be a spontaneous Iraqi undertaking."
          And people accuse Michael Moore of propagandizing!
From the heroics of Jessica Lynch---all of which proved to be propaganda, disgusting even poor Pvt. Lynch herself---to the claims of weapons of mass destruction and Condoleezza Rice's warning of an impending "mushroom cloud" in the U.S., to Abu Ghraib, to the new Iraqi "sovereignty," the entire Iraq operation has been a monumental lie.
          That's monumental, as in statue.
          Yes, "defining moment" that reportedly thrilled Vice-President George W. "President" Bush---that put tears in his eyes as he watched on CNN---was as bogus as his own election. As fake as Ashcroft's color-coded terror warnings. As transparent a con as the administration's interest in "freeing the Iraqi people." As slippery as oil.
          Here's how it went down:
          After the colonel---unnamed in the report (I wonder why)---chose the statue as a "target of opportunity" (maybe he thought it was the real Saddam?), the psych-ops team began---get this---using loudspeakers to get people to gather around. Hey, wanna be on TV? Remember how the Marine vehicle used to pull the thing down was loaded with cheering Iraqi kids? They were put there by the psych-ops team!
          Can you say "Action!"? Calling central casting. . .
          The well-intentioned American populace bought it, thanks in no small measure to an obscenely compliant press. Is there a greater shame in U.S. journalism history than the hordes of "embedded reporters" who jingoistically passed along propaganda as fact? Who rode into battle, egos cocked, ready to bravely pose in front of a camera at a moment's notice?
          How anyone can still view the invasion and seizure of Iraq as justified, constructive---let alone noble---just dazzles.
          But then, we're talking about the American people here. Good Cheetohs-munching, TV-and-church mesmerized citizens who confuse reacting with thinking, age with sagacity, and personal wealth with importance. These are citizens who have as much power of discernment and analysis as contestants on "Extreme Dating." Who combine a strange mixture of naivete and skepticism; the former reserved for whatever the government tells them, the latter for whatever the press reports. Oh, they snicker, the New York Times reported it? Heh, heh, you know what that means. . .(Thank you, Jayson Blair.)
          Rescuing the Iraqi people was a lie. Any interest in their "freedom" or "democracy" was a lie. It's as plain as the beard on Saddam's face. I cite again, (and again, and again) the neocon agenda, as spelled out in the Project for a New American Century---the foundation of Bushcheney's foreign policy. How is it that so few Americans know anything about this, even now?
          The PNAC clearly spells out the actual actual reasons for the invasion: the seizure of Iraqi oil; the permanent occupation of the Middle East as a tactic to frighten the countries there into converting to democracy (yes, that's working very well, isn't it?); the desire---that's desire---for a Pearl-Harbor-like event to give the administration carte blanche to carry out the seizure of Iraq.
          There is another factor. Is it any small coincidence that Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, President Dick "Vice President" Cheney, and others in the administration have done work for Israel's ultra-right-wing Likud party? The role of Israel in prompting U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, whether you agree or disagree with it, is enormous.
          The results: close to a thousand mostly young U.S. soldiers dead (and about 117 foreign troops seldom reported in the States); 10,000-plus seriously injured, maimed young men and women in U.S. hospitals with ruined lives; between 10,000 and 30,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and children dead, and unknown others maimed.
          And now the latest joker in the deck: half the people in Iraq want Saddam to walk free! They believe that everything he did---from invading Kuwait to gassing the Kurds (if he did this; there are credible reports that say it could have been either Iraq or Iran) to sanctioning rape, torture, and murder of countless thousands of citizens---is excusable.
          Wow. And to think: Bush, Cheney, and the rest have the audacity to accuse people of cynicism for suggesting that perhaps Iraq is not ready for democracy!
Yes, Like the "new Nixon," Saddam is back. There he was on the tube, ranting about how Bush is a "criminal" (via yet-to-be-explained audio that the U.S. had tried to block.) In restaurants and coffee houses across Iraq, people shouted and pumped their fists in the air when Saddam denounced "Kuwaiti dogs."
          This just in: Mohammar Qadafi's daughter is one of his defense attorneys, and plans are under way to form a Saddam government-in-exile.
          Heck, before long, they might build him a statue.

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