I came across a blog entry in PetrifiedTruth today that purported to report a first-hand account of the relief efforts underway in Iraq:



UMM QASR/BASRA, 30 March 2003

When we finally made it to Safwan, Iraq, what we saw was utter chaos. Iraqi men, women and children were playing it up for the TV cameras, chanting: “With our blood, with our souls, we will die for you Saddam.”

I took a young Iraqi man, 19, away from the cameras and asked him why they were all chanting that particular slogan, especially when humanitarian aid trucks marked with the insignia of the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society, were distributing some much-needed food. His answer shouldn�t have surprised me, but it did. He said: “There are people from Baath here reporting everything that goes on. There are cameras here recording our faces. If the Americans were to withdraw and everything were to return to the way it was before, we want to make sure that we survive the massacre that would follow as Baath go house to house killing anyone who voiced opposition to Saddam. In public, we always pledge our allegiance to Saddam, but in our hearts we feel something else.”

Different versions of that very quote, but with a common theme, I would come to hear several times over the next three days I spent in Iraq. The people of Iraq are terrified of Saddam Hussein.

Now, the name of the blog and the nature of the other articles in it suggest that the author is biased. But it’s hard to interpret the Iraqi man’s quote in more than one way.

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