Tuesday was the 10-year anniversary of the fall of Baghdad by invading US troops, marked infamously by the pulling down of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad’s Firdous Square.
The event is still treated in the media as a pivotal, symbolic moment in the Iraq War when ordinary Iraqis, freed by valorous American soldiers, triumphantly tore down the tyrannical image of the dictator.
Marking the 10-year anniversary of the statue’s toppling, The Associated Press described the memorable event: “Joyful Iraqis helped by an American tank retriever pulled down their longtime dictator, cast as 16 feet of bronze. The scene broadcast live worldwide became an icon of the war, a symbol of final victory over Saddam Hussein.”
Unmentioned in the AP report was the fact that “It was a Marine colonel — not joyous Iraqi civilians, as was widely assumed from the TV images — who decided to topple the statue,” as The Los Angeles Times reported back in 2004.
In fact, US soldiers needed to use loud speakers to gather Iraqis around the statue – a necessary ingredient if the choreographed propaganda effort was to be convincing.
“It was a quick-thinking Army psychological operations team that made it appear to be a spontaneous Iraqi undertaking,” The Times report added.
Iraq War advocates, then and now, still cite the event as symbolic of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” They are more right than they know. The event was symbolic. It was emblematic of the whole Iraq War: a massive lie perpetrated simultaneously on millions of innocent Iraqis and Americans.