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I was a naive fool to be a human shield for Saddam (MUST, MUST READ!)
The Sunday Telegraph ^ | March 23, 2003 | Daniel Pepper

Posted on 03/22/2003 7:02:58 PM PST by MadIvan

I wanted to join the human shields in Baghdad because it was direct action which had a chance of bringing the anti-war movement to the forefront of world attention. It was inspiring: the human shield volunteers were making a sacrifice for their political views - much more of a personal investment than going to a demonstration in Washington or London. It was simple - you get on the bus and you represent yourself.

So that is exactly what I did on the morning of Saturday, January 25. I am a 23-year-old Jewish-American photographer living in Islington, north London. I had travelled in the Middle East before: as a student, I went to the Palestinian West Bank during the intifada. I also went to Afghanistan as a photographer for Newsweek.

The human shields appealed to my anti-war stance, but by the time I had left Baghdad five weeks later my views had changed drastically. I wouldn't say that I was exactly pro-war - no, I am ambivalent - but I have a strong desire to see Saddam removed.

We on the bus felt that we were sympathetic to the views of the Iraqi civilians, even though we didn't actually know any. The group was less interested in standing up for their rights than protesting against the US and UK governments.

I was shocked when I first met a pro-war Iraqi in Baghdad - a taxi driver taking me back to my hotel late at night. I explained that I was American and said, as we shields always did, "Bush bad, war bad, Iraq good". He looked at me with an expression of incredulity.

As he realised I was serious, he slowed down and started to speak in broken English about the evils of Saddam's regime. Until then I had only heard the President spoken of with respect, but now this guy was telling me how all of Iraq's oil money went into Saddam's pocket and that if you opposed him politically he would kill your whole family.

It scared the hell out of me. First I was thinking that maybe it was the secret police trying to trick me but later I got the impression that he wanted me to help him escape. I felt so bad. I told him: "Listen, I am just a schmuck from the United States, I am not with the UN, I'm not with the CIA - I just can't help you."

Of course I had read reports that Iraqis hated Saddam Hussein, but this was the real thing. Someone had explained it to me face to face. I told a few journalists who I knew. They said that this sort of thing often happened - spontaneous, emotional, and secretive outbursts imploring visitors to free them from Saddam's tyrannical Iraq.

I became increasingly concerned about the way the Iraqi regime was restricting the movement of the shields, so a few days later I left Baghdad for Jordan by taxi with five others. Once over the border we felt comfortable enough to ask our driver what he felt about the regime and the threat of an aerial bombardment.

"Don't you listen to Powell on Voice of America radio?" he said. "Of course the Americans don't want to bomb civilians. They want to bomb government and Saddam's palaces. We want America to bomb Saddam."

We just sat, listening, our mouths open wide. Jake, one of the others, just kept saying, "Oh my God" as the driver described the horrors of the regime. Jake was so shocked at how naive he had been. We all were. It hadn't occurred to anyone that the Iraqis might actually be pro-war.

The driver's most emphatic statement was: "All Iraqi people want this war." He seemed convinced that civilian casualties would be small; he had such enormous faith in the American war machine to follow through on its promises. Certainly more faith than any of us had.

Perhaps the most crushing thing we learned was that most ordinary Iraqis thought Saddam Hussein had paid us to come to protest in Iraq. Although we explained that this was categorically not the case, I don't think he believed us. Later he asked me: "Really, how much did Saddam pay you to come?"

It hit me on visceral and emotional levels: this was a real portrayal of Iraq life. After the first conversation, I completely rethought my view of the Iraqi situation. My understanding changed on intellectual, emotional, psychological levels. I remembered the experience of seeing Saddam's egomaniacal portraits everywhere for the past two weeks and tried to place myself in the shoes of someone who had been subjected to seeing them every day for the last 20 or so years.

Last Thursday night I went to photograph the anti-war rally in Parliament Square. Thousands of people were shouting "No war" but without thinking about the implications for Iraqis. Some of them were drinking, dancing to Samba music and sparring with the police. It was as if the protesters were talking about a different country where the ruling government is perfectly acceptable. It really upset me.

Anyone with half a brain must see that Saddam has to be taken out. It is extraordinarily ironic that the anti-war protesters are marching to defend a government which stops its people exercising that freedom.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: blair; bush; epiphany; humanshields; iraq; iraqidissidents; saddam; uk; us; war; warlist
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Welcome to reality, lad.

Regards, Ivan


1 posted on 03/22/2003 7:02:58 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: maui_hawaii; JenB; SJackson; TigerLikesRooster; AZLadyhawke; Southflanknorthpawsis; meema; ...
Bump!
2 posted on 03/22/2003 7:03:13 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan
Why can't we get this kind of reporting in the papers here in the states!!!!!!

Thanks for the great read.
3 posted on 03/22/2003 7:05:16 PM PST by saigon
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To: MadIvan
See embedded in another story (from UPI) another disillusioned human shield who hears about Saddam from grateful Iraqis.

Exit human shield

4 posted on 03/22/2003 7:06:04 PM PST by jwalburg (Just so you know, we're ashamed the Senate minority leader of the United States is from South Dakota)
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To: MadIvan

"We want America to bomb Saddam."


5 posted on 03/22/2003 7:07:16 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Gulf War II: The Mother of All Surrenders)
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To: MadIvan
Why the "MUST, MUST READ" tag on this story? I think the headline sums it up nicely!
6 posted on 03/22/2003 7:08:20 PM PST by RANGERAIRBORNE
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To: MadIvan
Well, I guess it's better late than never. Geezus though, how can you be so naive?
7 posted on 03/22/2003 7:08:36 PM PST by ItisaReligionofPeace ((the original))
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To: dd5339; cavtrooper21
ping
8 posted on 03/22/2003 7:08:48 PM PST by Vic3O3 (Texan-to-be...at least there's CCW!)
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To: MadIvan
I wished I had read this article before I went to the support your troops rally today. I would have copied it and handed it out to everyone.
9 posted on 03/22/2003 7:08:50 PM PST by I still care
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To: MadIvan
Good post - thanks.
10 posted on 03/22/2003 7:08:59 PM PST by ThePythonicCow (Mooo !!!!)
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To: MadIvan
Great find, Ivan. Nothing like a good dose of reality to smack these little leftists in the teeth, is there?
11 posted on 03/22/2003 7:09:21 PM PST by Morgan's Raider
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To: MadIvan; *war_list; W.O.T.; 11th_VA; Libertarianize the GOP; Free the USA; knak; PhiKapMom; ...
OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST
12 posted on 03/22/2003 7:09:29 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam?)
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To: MadIvan
And yet another peacenik gets bashed over his mushy skull by the Clue-by-Four of Real Life. Not so neat as your posters and chants would have it, eh?

}:-)4
13 posted on 03/22/2003 7:09:32 PM PST by Moose4 (mystical. I'm MYSTICAL! WOOT!)
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To: MadIvan
Ivan, I just wanted to thank you for consistently posting such great articles...
14 posted on 03/22/2003 7:09:37 PM PST by halley
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To: MadIvan
printing now!
15 posted on 03/22/2003 7:09:44 PM PST by chasio649
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To: ItisaReligionofPeace
Geezus though, how can you be so naive?

PC indoctrination in schools rather than real education.

16 posted on 03/22/2003 7:10:07 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Gulf War II: The Mother of All Surrenders)
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To: MadIvan
Outstanding article. Looks like this guy is on the same path David Horowitz took.
17 posted on 03/22/2003 7:10:29 PM PST by ThinkDifferent
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To: MadIvan
Better late than never. Im glad this person came back to reality.
18 posted on 03/22/2003 7:10:54 PM PST by Kimlee
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To: MadIvan
Until then I had only heard the President spoken of with respect, but now this guy was telling me how all of Iraq's oil money went into Saddam's pocket and that if you opposed him politically he would kill your whole family.
Where has clueless BEEN? Good grief these people are ignorant.
19 posted on 03/22/2003 7:11:12 PM PST by Libertina (God Bless our Commander In Chief and our Troops!)
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To: MadIvan
What a touching story. Further evidence that these anti-war prostestors are ignorant to the truth. Maybe they all need to go to Iraq for a day.
20 posted on 03/22/2003 7:11:28 PM PST by Alylonee
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To: MadIvan
Sooo good! As usual, thank you, MadIvan.

You hit a home run with this piece. It should be required reading for every peace activist!
21 posted on 03/22/2003 7:11:32 PM PST by Humidston (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law)
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To: MadIvan
I'm going to print this out and distribute it amongst my peacenik friends.

I am sick of defending my position to my 'it feels good to be against war' friends. Night after night I bombard them with facts, and they sit in their denial (going home every night to their expensive, privately owned homes..where they bitch for hours if there is a blip in the electricty supply!)

22 posted on 03/22/2003 7:12:07 PM PST by Happygal
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To: MadIvan
Jeez!!! You just want to shake these people.

Forming an opinion takes alot of work. Listening to propaganda and reacting is easy, just ask the German citizens who were alive in the 40's.
23 posted on 03/22/2003 7:12:15 PM PST by lizma
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To: MadIvan
Great post.
Too bad groups "of conscience" will keep their "all you hear are crickets" silence on these
stories of torture.

But I salvage a bit of cruel fun from this.
Watching my feminist colleagues uncomfortably grimace when I tell them
that Dubya (and Blair and "a few good men" and women) freed more women in
Afghanistan in two months than the National Organization of
Women did in two decades.
24 posted on 03/22/2003 7:12:18 PM PST by VOA
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To: MadIvan
That giant sucking sound you hear in this article is a leftie finally pulling his head out of his ass. About time. I hope a thousand more stories like this come pouring out of Iraq once we have deposed the monster. I want to personally round up every one of these puking protesters, from the lowliest dope-smoking dipshit to the richest Hollywood celebrity and take them over to Iraq, to see first hand what horrors they have been supporting.
25 posted on 03/22/2003 7:12:52 PM PST by egarvue (Martin Sheen is not my president...)
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To: MadIvan
(s)He turned me in to a newt!....I got better.
26 posted on 03/22/2003 7:13:03 PM PST by stboz
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To: MadIvan
BUMP to the high heavens (or till the NYT prints it) whichever comes first
27 posted on 03/22/2003 7:13:06 PM PST by try phecta tom
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To: Libertina
Anyone with half a brain must see that Saddam has to be taken out
That explains why the left is left OUT.
28 posted on 03/22/2003 7:13:07 PM PST by Libertina (God Bless our Commander In Chief and our Troops!)
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To: MadIvan
At least one of the human shields was smart enough to recognize reality when it bit him on the a$$. That's something, I suppose.
29 posted on 03/22/2003 7:13:14 PM PST by CFC__VRWC
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To: MadIvan
I read somewhere that this evil incarnate, sadamn, put people in plastic shredder feet first, so they could hear themselves scream.

peaceniks, yeah, no war, love heals. (gag)
30 posted on 03/22/2003 7:14:07 PM PST by Chong
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To: MadIvan
"Really, how much did Saddam pay you to come?"

Funny...I've often asked myself the same question.

31 posted on 03/22/2003 7:14:23 PM PST by pgkdan
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To: Mudboy Slim
You might like to print this one out for your 'Support the Troops' rally :-)
32 posted on 03/22/2003 7:15:00 PM PST by Happygal
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To: MadIvan
among the f.r. posters hall of fame, you are a definite high-ranking member. thanks for this and all the other things you provide.

dep

33 posted on 03/22/2003 7:15:26 PM PST by dep
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To: MadIvan
Thanks for the post. Prayers for the families of our brave Brit friends who made the ultimate sacrifice in this conflict.
34 posted on 03/22/2003 7:16:31 PM PST by centexan
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To: MadIvan
Another lesson 'bout a naive fool that came to Babylon,
and found out that the pie don't taste so sweet.
["Guitars, Cadillacs" by Dwight Yoakam.]

35 posted on 03/22/2003 7:16:32 PM PST by handk
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To: MadIvan
Nice MadIvan...keep up the good work.
36 posted on 03/22/2003 7:17:04 PM PST by Bob J
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To: MadIvan
He says he is ambivalent after witnessing that???? He is still a fool.
37 posted on 03/22/2003 7:17:07 PM PST by Feiny
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To: MadIvan
Thanks for the info.
38 posted on 03/22/2003 7:17:19 PM PST by KSCITYBOY
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To: MadIvan
Excellent, Ivan.

There is nothing so pathetic as seeing a beautiful young theory roughed up by a tough gang of facts.
39 posted on 03/22/2003 7:17:46 PM PST by Republic If You Can Keep It
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To: jwalburg
Thanx for the link.

Killer tag line.
40 posted on 03/22/2003 7:18:27 PM PST by Blue Collar Christian (regular American who supports the war)
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To: MadIvan
Thanks Ivan. I needed this to send to a couple of anti-war types that have emailed the usflagballoon site.
41 posted on 03/22/2003 7:18:31 PM PST by abner (www.usflagballoon.com.)
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To: MadIvan
Perhaps the most crushing thing we learned was that most ordinary Iraqis thought Saddam Hussein had paid us to come to protest in Iraq.

Reality hits one of Saddam's useful idiots.

Another great article Ivan.

42 posted on 03/22/2003 7:18:55 PM PST by eggman
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To: MadIvan
Anyone with half a brain must see that Saddam has to be taken out.

So, an implicit acknowledgement that he had less?
43 posted on 03/22/2003 7:19:06 PM PST by polemikos
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To: MadIvan
Emailed to my communist brother who suffers from the same delusions.
44 posted on 03/22/2003 7:20:15 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Alylonee
"..for a day."

No, actually about 2 weeks.
45 posted on 03/22/2003 7:20:52 PM PST by Blue Collar Christian (regular American who supports the war)
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To: MadIvan
Thanks for your post, MadIvan....a moving story. Don't know if you've seen this article or not. There's a paragraph (about 3/4 down the page) about the children's prisons in Iraq; Scott Ritter saw them, and it still didn't change his mind about the war against Iraq.

Scott Ritter in His Own Words

You've spoke about having seen the children's prisons in Iraq. Can you describe what you saw there?

The prison in question is at the General Security Services headquarters, which was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It appeared to be a prison for children — toddlers up to pre-adolescents — whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace.


46 posted on 03/22/2003 7:21:38 PM PST by nicmarlo
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To: MadIvan
Well, that's 5 of them, only a couple hundred thousand more to go. Of course, some of them already know, but just don't care.
47 posted on 03/22/2003 7:21:47 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: MadIvan
Great post. Too bad this probably won't be picked up in most of the U.S. press.
48 posted on 03/22/2003 7:22:26 PM PST by aimhigh
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To: MadIvan
Awesome. Another child grows up a little after being hit upside the head by reality.

Hope he makes it all the way to adulthood.
49 posted on 03/22/2003 7:23:19 PM PST by EternalVigilance
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To: MadIvan
Maturity: when idealism meet reality.
50 posted on 03/22/2003 7:23:51 PM PST by TexasNative2000 (The joy of the Lord is my strength)
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