And now some fresh pickings from the wartime grapevine:
Newsweek magazine, after examining documents found in Baghdad and Basrah, compares the Iraqi Intelligence Service to the Gestapo in Nazi Germany, except it says the Nazis represented "the banality of evil" while the Iraqi Intelligence Service embodies "the stupidity of evil." Among the documents are memos from the director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, Tahir Jalil Habbush, telling his supposedly "secret" agents to quit showing off their badges and guns and reminding them to leave out informants' names when sending correspondence. Habbush also had to instruct his agents not to take home agency computers to surf the Internet and send e-mails, lest highly classified information leak out. And he criticized his agents for amusing themselves by making prank calls to Iraqi citizens. In all, a picture of a gang that couldn’t shoot straight, but did know how to torture and terrorize.
Meanwhile, Iraqi citizens now free of Saddam Hussein's control, are starting to express themselves in all sorts of ways. Over the weekend, the first newspaper of the post-Saddam Iraq was published. Several reports here say the new eight-page newspaper was handed out for free and was "snapped up" eagerly by passers-by hungry for any kind of news since U.S. air strikes took out Saddam's state-run media. One story in the new Iraqi newspaper had the headline, “Collapse of a dictator," and railed against the abuses of what it called Saddam's "bloody, terrorist regime." Thing is, the publisher taking advantage of a new democratic Iraq is none other than the Iraqi Communist Party, which was long banned by Saddam.
An Image Makeover?
And finally the images of Saddam's statue being toppled in the center of Baghdad nearly two weeks ago will be one of the most memorable of the war and these times. But the leftist magazine The Nation prefers a different image. Its May 5 cover shows President Bush pulling down the Statue of Liberty in much the same way Iraqis and coalition forces pulled down the statue of Saddam.