Just Another Staged Baghdad Rally?
by Ivan Eland
Senior Fellow and Director, Center on Peace & Liberty
Independent Institute
April 12, 2003

This wide-angle photo by Reuters of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in central Baghdad arouses suspicions that the "spontaneous jubilation" by the Iraqi masses shown on television around the world was a "media event" orchestrated by the Pentagon.

Rather than a spontaneous mass demonstration, the photo clearly shows that only a couple hundred Iraqis participated in the largely empty and heavily guarded Fardus Square. American tanks and troops surrounded the square and one armored vehicle "helped" the Iraqis pull down the statue.

In the upper part of the photo, it appears that normal traffic into the square has been blocked by American troops. Conveniently, this square is in close proximity to the Palestine Hotel, which houses journalists covering the war. The timing of the activities is also suspicious; the wrecking of the statue occurred during the morning shows on the American television networks.

The motive for this seemingly staged event: In the wake of reports of an ambivalent Iraqi reaction to an invasion billed as one designed to "liberate" Iraq, the Bush administration badly needed television pictures showing Iraqi popular support.

Thanks to Information Clearing House for the source information and photo.

Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif., and author of the book, Putting "Defense" Back into U.S. Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World. For further articles and studies, see the War on Terrorism.

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