An unsettling discovery
BY SETH GITELL
Thursday, March 27, 2003 -- While the war is not going nearly as well as many in the Pentagon had hoped, the US is nonetheless making some disturbing -- but not yet conclusive -- discoveries. One of these is the location of some 3,000 chemical weapons suits found at An Nasariyah hospital. Even more puzzling is the pastel mural that depicts an airplane crashing into a high-rise building.
Television reports have described the mural as a depiction of the September 11th attacks, which is what it might be, but not necessarily. The markings on the aircraft shown are those of Iraqi Airlines. Why for instance would someone glorifying the 9/11 attacks paint Iraqi accoutrements onto an airline being crashed into a building?
But there is something even more puzzling about the mural. What is it doing at an Iraqi military headquarters? Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein told Dan Rather of CBS last month he had " no relationship " with either Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda. Of the September 11 attacks, Hussein said " Our principles... are humane principles. We believe in humanity. We believe that the world must seek to find opportunities to peace. "
Itís what we have learned about Husseinís regime in recent days -- itís deep tyrannical nature, the huge degree of fear Hussein inspires in underlings, the unwillingness of most to challenge his rule -- that makes the mural so puzzling. Hussein is said to be intensely jealous of anyone who can pose a threat to him and eager to eliminate anybody who poses even a hint of being able to rival him. With that in mind, why would Hussein and his agents permit a mural that glorifies an infamous act committed by a rival group to hang in, of all places, a military headquarters?
We donít yet know the answer to that question. But its presence suggests that there might be more common cause between Hussein, a Pan-Arab secular leader, and Bin Laden, a zealous Islamite, than previously believed. Who knows what other discoveries American and British forces will make in the coming days?
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Issue Date: March 27, 2003
"Today's Jolt" archives: 2003 2002 2001
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