the President's Desk
Emboldened by Dan Rather and CBS?
Uses the Media for His Own Message
Saddam’s Anti-war Movement
Timing Of Saddam’s Interview with Dan Rather Plays Into His Strategy
Interview Was Just Luck Said Rather?
of Saddam’s Deception Revealed One Week After the Interview — Iraqis
Posing As U.S. Troops
On February 24, 2003,
Dan Rather, anchor of the CBS evening news, taped a three-hour interview
with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
An Iraqi television crew taped the interview (which is standard
practice for Saddam Hussein) and a tape that combined all three cameras
into one composite feed was delivered by the Iraqis.
CBS indicated prior to its airing that the interview would express
Saddam’s feelings about his own people, the American public, Osama bin
Laden, and what his own fate might be.
Uses the Media for His Own Message
As I viewed the video,
I thought to myself, “What does Saddam have to gain by granting this
interview?” Then the answer
was obvious. For several months,
the media had criticized President Bush’s plans to go to war with Iraq
if it did not comply with U.N. Resolution 1441 — total disarmament of
its weapons of mass destructions. At
the same time, Iraq gave pretense of cooperation with the United Nations
weapons inspectors whenever the Security Council met. (1) Saddam also
continued his charade of Iraqi disarmament obligations while implementing
his very successful strategy of cheat and retreat.
When Iraq projected the illusion of cooperation, the media said
that Iraq was doing everything it could to cooperate with U.N. inspectors,
although it was still not enough for the U.S.
As the media continued its attacks on the President, Saddam Hussein
knew that he could use the U.S. media as a vehicle to continue to divide
opinion in the U.S. and the world to come against President Bush’s plans
to disarm Iraq forcibly. He had already been able to bribe France, Germany,
Russia and China through trade agreements and the promise to develop
the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves in Iraq.
These countries that
had allied themselves with Iraq knew that it possessed weapons of mass
destruction because they had supplied Iraq with the material and/or
technology to develop these lethal weapons.
Many had also provided conventional weapons to Iraq’s military. These nations knew, as did the world, that Saddam had already used
chemical weapons against his own people as well as in the Iran/Iraq
war. However, in spite of this
knowledge, the world had falsely convinced itself that Saddam would
not use these weapons against them if they supported him.
The current anti-war
movement by the media has not been about the war against Iraq like it
has been about being anti-President Bush and anti-Republican. The media has had a hard time accepting President Bush to be a popular
President despite the fact that the American people have believed in
him. In fact, the media have
done everything that can to cause his popularity to dwindle. Nothing had worked…until now.
The media continues
to convey the message to the American people that if the U.S. goes to
war against Iraq without the support of the U.N., it does so unilaterally. However, how often do the American people hear
that even without a second U.N. resolution, more countries would support
an American-led war on Iraq now than the 33-strong coalition in the
1991Gulf war? (2). Also, where was this same media (as well as the Democrat politicians)
when America retaliated against Iraq without U.N. approval on December
16, 1998? In the face of pronounced
objections from U.N. Security Council members (France, Russia, China),
the U.S. was joined by Britain in a four-day strike against Iraq without
U.N. approval. With only a report
by the U.N weapons inspectors that determined that Iraq had failed to
“provide the full cooperation it promised,” this coalition of countries
justified an attack against Iraq in 1998 under the leadership of former
Today, the Bush Administration
provides extensive information (as much as it possibly can without compromising
how it has obtained it) on how Iraq continues to operate its clandestine
chemical and biological weapons program. People are murdered daily by
Saddam in Iraq. Yet this is
not enough for the media as well as many Democrats. In addition to his destruction within his own country, Saddam is
also a threat to the stability and peace in the Middle East as well
as a threat to the Americans because of his support of worldwide terrorists.
Yet the media as well as the Democrats still want to give the Iraqi
inspections more time. They
say, “We have contained him for more than 12 years, he is not a threat
to the U.S.” However, where again was the media as well
as these Democrats when President Clinton led the United Sates and its
NATO partners to start bombing Bosnia to protect Bosnian Muslims without
seeking U.N. approval in 1995. Once
again these same groups that condemn President Bush said nothing when
President Clinton ignored the United Nations and persuaded NATO to embark
on a sustained bombing campaign of Yugoslavia to protect Muslims in
Saddam Hussein has
learned valuable lessons from these examples and knows that the media
can be an important ally to support his cause.
Saddam’s strategy for the coming war is simple. If he survives, he has won. As I came to the end of the video, Saddam gave
me the clues that led me to this hypothesis. In the interview, Saddam said to Dan Rather that it would be important
to Mr. Rather and the American people to know that Iraq was not defeated
in 1991. Saddam said through
a translator, “In fact, our Army withdrew from Kuwait according to a
decision taken by us. But when
we were back within our boundaries, the boundaries of Iraq, the Iraqi
Army was not defeated. Nor was the people of Iraq.” According to Saddam’s mindset, if he survives
he is not defeated. He feels
that he may have lost a battle, but the conflict goes on and he is not
Saddam used both CBS
and Dan Rather to lay the groundwork for his attempt at survival from
the coming war between the U.S. and Iraq.
His strategy is to divide the people of the U.S. and world against
the U.S. war effort with the hope that once war does start, world outrage
will bring the war to an abrupt end.
The interview was used by Saddam to portray him and Iraq as a
victim and George Bush and the U.S. as the aggressor.
to the Top
Along with his media
campaign, Saddam Hussein has been hard at work, planting sources of
opposition throughout the world to stir up hatred for America’s so-called
aggression. In January, Iraq sent spies from Canada to
New York and Washington to spy and stir up anti-war demonstrations.
Ordered to recruit Arabs and other foreigners for espionage missions
in the U.S. were Iraqis in Canada.
Operatives were sent with instructions to “intensify spying activities
and carry out anti-U.S. demonstrations to stop the war against Iraq
by the Iraqi Embassy in Ottawa.” (3)
The global outpouring
of opposition to the threat of a U.S. attack on Iraq was greeted by
the Iraqi Administration with
gloat on February 16, 2003, as the nation said anti-war demonstration
in dozens of countries on February 15, 2003, signaled an Iraqi victory
and “the defeat and isolation of America.” (4) On February 15, 2003,
prominent coverage to global anti-war demonstrations was given on Iraq’s
tightly-controlled news media. Under the logo “International Day of Confronting
Aggression,” Iraqi television showed footage of millions marching in
the world’s cities. A headline
in the government daily Al-Jumhuriya read, “The world said with
one voice: ‘No to Aggression on Iraq’.”
A front page headline in the army daily Al-Qadissiya read,
“The world rises against American aggression and the arrogance of naked
force. And in a commentary in
Al-Jumhuriya said, “These demonstrations expressed in their spirit,
meaning and slogans the decisive Iraqi victory and the defeat and isolation
to the Top
Timing Of Saddam’s Interview with Dan Rather Plays Into His Strategy
It is odd that less
than two weeks after what appears to Saddam as a series of successful
global anti-war demonstrations, Saddam grants Dan Rather an interview. The London Guardian reported on February
27, 2003, that when Dan Rather was asked why the interview was granted
he said, “I simply don’t know. He
knows the time draws high for an attack.
He takes President Bush very seriously in saying that time is
up. Secondly, he reads the paper and knows what
his standing is with the American people.
He probably felt…he had something to lose, but under the present
circumstance he might have had something to gain in getting to the American
people who he is, what he is, what his position is.” (5)
If Saddam took President
Bush seriously as Mr. Rather has indicated, he would totally disarm
revealing all of Iraqi’s weapons of mass destruction and stop its “cheat
and retreat” strategy. To coincide
with the run-up to Security Council meetings, Iraq had carefully timed
its cooperation with the United Nations weapons inspectors. (6)
The hidden agenda is
revealed by Mr. Rather’s statement that Saddam reads the paper and knows
what his standing is with the American people.
Knowingly or unknowingly, Dan Rather and CBS assisted Saddam
by interviewing the dictator. Part
of Saddam Hussein’s strategy has been to divide the world against the
U.S., and make America look as the aggressor and Iraq look as the victim. And so far this strategy has been working.
to the Top
Interview Was Just Luck Said Rather?
Some have said that
“hard work and luck” earned Dan Rather his interview with Saddam. However,
further research and a report by the Associated Press will show that
Rather obtained the interview with the assistance of former U.S. Attorney
General Ramsey Clark who met with Saddam on February 23, 2003. (7)
The former U.S. Attorney,
had been involved in recent demonstrations against President Bush’s
policy of disarming Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
In January, the anti-war activist Clark, having his own agenda,
drafted articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush, Vice
President Richard B. Cheney and other officials, who he said must “answer
to the people.” (8) This was not Mr. Clark’s first attempt to advocate
anti-American crusades. For
example, participating in a “war crimes tribunal” against the U.S. was
Clark and Deirdre Griswold editor of the Workers World (a tiny Marxist-Leninist
“Party” that also calls itself International Act Now to Stop War and
End Racism; A.N.S.W.E.R. and the International Action Center) weekly newspaper. (9). The mantra of both of these individuals was
that the U.S. had used germ warfare in the Korean War. (10) Also, in
the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic Ramsey Clark
participated with Workers World Party activists John Catalinotto and
Sarah Flounders. (11)
to the Top
The Los Angeles Times
reported on March 5, 2003, that the man who spoke Saddam Hussein words
in English during the Interview was an actor using a fake Arabic accent. (12) A
member of the Screen Actors Guild Steve Winfield bills himself on a
Web site called “Fabulous Voices’ as an expert in putting on foreign
accents said the Los Angeles Times.
For the accuracy of its translation which was read on air in
English in a voice compatible “with the piece” CBS said the network
vouched 100 percent.
“CBS News employed
three independent and respected Arabic translators to provide a 100
percent accurate translation of the interview,” said the network in
a statement. A fourth person recorded the actual audio in
a voice compatible “ with the piece” added the network.
to the Top
Throughout the interview
Saddam presented himself as a kind, polite and courteous gentleman. He projected himself as a godly man, who prays
daily and looks to Allah for wisdom and guidance. For example, Dan Rather asked Saddam, “Mr.
President, do you expect to be attacked by an American-led invasion.” Saddam’s reply through a translator was that
he was a godly man with faith and whatever happens is what Allah decides.
Also, during the interview, Saddam stopped for prayer and returned to
continue the prayer. This overt
religious activity during his conversation with Rather allowed Saddam
to portray himself as a peaceful and holy man while he conveyed the
impression that President George W. Bush and his supporters are on the
bandwagon of evil.
When asked about his
weapons of mass destruction, Saddam said that the world and the U.S.
knows that Iraq does not possess such weapons, and the U.S. does this
to cover the huge lie that is being waged against Iraq regarding such
weapons. Saddam, through this statement, tried to establish
that the U.S. is a liar.
Although it was Iraq
that invaded its neighbor Kuwait that was later liberated by the U.S.,
Saddam tried during the interview to established that the U.S. was the
aggressor during the Gulf War in 1991.
He said through a translator that, “The American onslaught on
Iraq continued for more than a month and a half, using warplanes, Tomahawks,
hitting from everywhere. And they used more than helicopter, even though
they did not destroy Iraq. They
destroyed bridges, they destroyed churches, mosques, colleges, buildings,
plants. They destroyed places,
houses, palaces. They killed
people, and elderly.” As a
result of these statements, Saddam again tried to establish the U.S.
as the aggressor.
Mr. Rather asked Saddam,
“ Do you or do you not agree, in principle, with the attack of 9/11? Part of Saddam’s reply through a translator
was, “Let me tell you absolutely clearly: Our principles are not just
national or Arab, but they are humane principles.
We believe in humanity. We believe that the world must seek to
find opportunities for peace, not opportunities for war or opportunities
for fighting or opportunities for venting or harming other.” Saddam evaded the question and turned his answer to (again) portray
himself as a man of peace and President Bush as a man of war.
Saddam was also asked
by Dan Rather, “If there is an invasion, will you set fire to the oil
fields? Will you blow the dams? Or your reservoirs of water, to resist
the invasion? Through a translator Saddam replied, “Iraq
does not destroy its dams or its oil.
Iraq protects, defends, maintains those resources, in order to
improve life. Iraqi oil wells
will be destroyed by those who will invade Iraq, in their possible invasion
of the country.” When the war with Iraq does start Saddam will
do exactly what he said he would not do and blame it on the U.S.
Saddam again established
that the U.S. is the current aggressor when he said in the interview
through a translator, “The officials of the U.S. have themselves spoken
about their intentions to commit aggression against Iraq.
I am speaking now with you (Rather), and maybe airplanes, warplane,
American warplanes, are flying over Iraqi air space, over south or north,
and dropping ammunition, weapons that… are destroying property, property
belonging to our citizens, our population-either private property or
public property, because public property also belongs to the people. This is happening daily.”
Finally, Saddam tried
to unit the Arab world against the U.S. by comparing the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict similar to what the U.S. is doing to Iraq. He said through a translator, “ See how the Palestinian are being
treated. See how they’re being
killed. See how their houses
are destroyed. See how their
property is being destroyed without anybody trying to do anything to
redress justice and to-to save them from what they’re suffering.”
to the Top
of Saddam’s Deception Revealed One Week After the Interview — Iraqis Posing
As U.S. Troops
On March 6, 2003, Jim
Wilkinson, director of strategic communication at Central Command in
Tampa, Florida said Iraq is acquiring military uniforms “identical down
to the last detail” to those worn by American and British forces and
plans to use them to shift blame for atrocities. (13) Though he did
not say how the information was obtained he said Saddam Hussein had
ordered procurement of the uniforms.
He said, “Saddam intends
to issue these uniforms to Fedayeen Saddam troops who would wear them
when conducting reprisals against the Iraqi people so that they could
pass the atrocities off as the work of the United States and the United
Kingdom.” (14) Founded by Saddam’s
son Odai in 1994, the Fedayeen Saddam is a paramilitary force of more
than 15,000. Unit members have been recruited from areas
noted for loyalty to Saddam.
Separate from the regular
Army command, the Fedayeen Saddam carries out patrols and anti-smuggling
duties. Referring to the U.S.
and British forces who would spearhead an invasion Wilkinson said, “Saddam
Hussein is clearly getting ready to wage a campaign of fear and disinformation
against those who seek to disarm him.” (15)
to the Top
The interview between
Dan Rather and Saddam Hussein portrayed Saddam in a positive light and
served Saddam in exactly the way he had intend —
as a propaganda tool for his cause.
It is tragic that the media has come to be so anti-American as
well as against the culture and values that have made this nation the
greatest nation in the history of this world.
America has been a bastion of liberty and freedom and a nation
that has liberated nations of the world from tyranny and oppression. Yet Dan Rather allowed Saddam to falsely portray America before
the world as a hegemonistic, imperialist aggressor nation that wants
to conquer Iraq for its resources and remove its “peaceful and caring
dictator” that reigns over his people through a police state.
CBS and Dan Rather wrongly allowed and enabled Saddam to portray
himself in a humane light. How
can a nation go to war, when the enemy is portrayed as a peace lovingly,
kind, polite and godly gentleman that looks to Allah for wisdom and
guidance? How bad can this tyrannical dictator be when
he interrupts the interview for daily prayer?!
One can argue that
CBS and Dan Rather have a journalistic right to air such interviews. However, just weeks before the start of World
War Two would such American journalists as Edward R. Murrow or William
L. Shirer have accepted an interview with Adolph Hitler or Emperor Hirohito
to express their feelings about America, its leadership and its people,
and what their fate might be if war breaks out?
If Mr. Rather were a journalist looking to represent the truth
as well as factual information, he would have asked Saddam about his
infamous political prisons, the Iraq secret police, how political prisoner
live in filth, humiliation and the constant fear of torture and execution. Also, Dan Rather should have asked Saddam why
in an effort to conceal chemical and biological weapons from U.N. inspectors
as well as spare them from any expected U.S. attack, he has transported
these weapons to the borders of Syria and Turkey.
Saddam Hussein is like
all tyrannical dictators. He
tries to convince the world that he is a man of peace. Yet the fundamental
problem in Iraq is the nature of his brutal regime.
Saddam has a long history of using terrorism against his neighbors
as well as his own people. It
was more than 60 years ago that Adolph Hitler used the same strategy
Saddam has used in the Rather interview, trying to convince the world
he was a man of peace, but the world soon learned he was not.
Saddam speaks of the
preservation of life and peace, yet he is not concerned about the welfare
of his own people. Although
Iraq claims infant malnutrition, the government has ordered only a fraction
of the nutrition supplies for vulnerable children and pregnant and nursing
mothers recommended by the UN and for which money has been set aside
under the Oil-for Food Program, reports the UN.
According to U.N. reports,
medicines and medical supplies worth $200 million remain undistributed
in Iraqi warehouses since the initiation of the Oil-for-Food Program,
about 50 percent of the value of all the medical supplies that have
arrived in Iraq. As Saddam alleges that children are dying due
to sanctions, he moves troops and missiles around Iraq but claims there
is a lack of transportation to distribute these medicines.
children and pregnant and lactating mothers in Iraq have received reduced
allocations of supplemental nutritional support, from $8 million to
Saddam Hussein builds
monuments to himself instead of helping the people of Iraq from revenues
generated under the Oil-for Food Program as well as revenue from other
sources that Saddam controls. For
example, since the Gulf War, Saddam has spent over $2 billion on presidential
During World War Two,
the media dehumanized the enemy and portrayed them as they actually
were, “evil”. Yet today
as America goes to war with Iraq, the media does just the opposite.
It is President Bush who is evil because he is concerned with
the clear and present danger Iraq posses to the national security of
the U.S. and Saddam Hussein, the tyrannical dictator that has committed
crimes against humanity as the victim.
Both CBS and Dan Rather
by accepting this interview with Saddam Hussein demonstrated irresponsible
journalism. Saddam used CBS
as his vehicle to spread his propaganda.
In Iraq, the media is controlled by Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi government regulates what the people of Iraq can view
from outside Iraq. In fact,
in Saddam’s eyes, CBS and Dan Rather did such a good job with this propaganda
interview he allowed it to be viewed in Iraq.
Saddam knows he cannot defeat the U. S. in battle but in his
mindset if he can survive he has won.
Through deceit and deception Saddam’s strategy is to bring the
media and as many nations as he can against the U.S.
He feels he has convinced the world that America is a hegemonistic
nation that is waging war against peaceful Iraq.
CBS and Dan Rather
have unknowingly created an opportunity for Saddam to exploit once war
does begin. Soon after war breaks out, Saddam will quickly
determine he cannot win so he will begin his scorched earth strategy.
To slow the advance of the U.S. military to Baghdad oil fields,
he will set fire to dams and bridges, and reservoirs will be destroyed.
If successful, he will blame the U.S. because he told Dan Rather
he would not do such a thing but the U.S. would.
To incite the Iraqi population to fight against America, he will
use the Fedayee Saddam troops wearing uniforms identical to American
and British forces to commit atrocities against the Iraqi people and
then will blame U.S. and British forces for conducting reprisals against
the Iraqi people. It is Saddam’s hope that if these strategies
are successful the media will come to his aid to show the so called
atrocities the U.S. military is committing against the Iraqi people. Once the world learns of this, the U.S. will
be forced to stop the war as world opinion comes against the US.
Once this conflict
does start with Iraq it is the duty of the American people to support
President Bush and the brave young men and women of the U.S. military
that will be in harm’s way trying to bring this war to a quick end.
The citizens of this nation cannot allow the outcome of this
war to be determined by the media as it was during Vietnam. The silent majority that the media has been repressing must come
together and protest these actions if they do occur. It is unthinkable that the media has more trust for a tyrannical
dictator such as Saddam Hussein than it does for President Bush. It portrays the President as the war hawk but
fails to hold Saddam Hussein accountable.
The war can be averted by Saddam simply surrendering Iraq’s weapons
of mass destruction. But the
simple fact of the matter is Saddam will never do this.
The CBS Dan Rather
interview with Saddam only emboldens his cause. And tragically, for
the sake of gaining rating points, the network has put American military
personal that will be fighting this war at risk.
to the Top
- Kim Sengupta, “Iraq ‘only co-operates before Security
Council meetings’,” Independent News, March 5, 2003.
- Oliver Burkeman, “Rumsfeld claims more support
than in 1991, “ The Guardian, March 5, 2003.
- James Gordon Meek, “Iraqi spies in U.S.,” New York
Daily News, January 30, 2003.
- “Iraq gloats over global peace protests,” The Associated
Press, February 16, 2003
- Oliver Burkeman, “White House clash with TV chiefs.
Bush administration claims CBS is allowing the Iraqi leader
to set the agenda by refusing them a right to reply,” The Guardian,
February 27, 2003.
- Kim Sengupta,
“Iraq ‘only co-operates before Security Council meetings’,” Independent
News, March 5, 2003.
- Jennifer Harper, “Rather’s Saddam interview draws
skeptics,” The Washington Times, February 26, 2003.
- Herbert Romerstein, “Axis of Evil Acts Up,” Human
Events, Vol. 59 No.7, February 24, 2003.
- “Hussein Translator on CBS Used Fake Accent-Report,”
Reuters, March 5, 2003.
- “Official: Iraqi Soldiers Ordered to Commit Atrocities
While Dressed as U.S. Troops,” The Associated Press, March 6, 2003.
to the Top
to the American Voice Institute of Public Policy Home Page