Letter to the Editor

C-SPAN televises propaganda being shown to Iraqis

Wednesday, February 5, 2003

To the editor:

C-SPAN recently aired an Iraqi government and military cabinet meeting. It was interpreted in English for the U.S. audience. I became hooked for about 30 minutes. There were 15 to 20 men wearing berets and uniforms sitting around a table. Saddam Hussein himself, smoking a cigar and looking in charge, sat at the head of the table.

There was no paperwork, water, ashtrays or note taking evident in this inner circle. The table was empty. The film was for the Iraqi public's consumption. The men around the table randomly blurted out compliments and praised the way everything was going except for the inspectors and Iraq's enemies.

One officials asked Saddam if he could speak freely. "Of course," was the answer with a benevolent smile. I hunched forward in my seat hoping to hear something interesting. Instead, I heard, "Leader, thank you for the water purification plant which you built in our district." Saddam nodded and explained that all Iraqi citizens were his "children."

By western standards, this type of propaganda is about on the fifth-grade level. "Saturday Night Live" could find humor here. Some of the men at the table may be facing a dilemma and inner fear: that to save Iraq may take the murder of its president.

PHIL PATTERSON

Scott City, Mo.