As it is becoming painfully obvious that George W. Bush and Tony Blair blatantly lied to the American and British people regarding the justification of the invasion of Iraq, one might imagine an enterprising journalist would piece together video statements made by both leaders and their various aides highlighting the alleged military and terrorist threats being created by Saddam Hussein’s regime. Strangely, British filmmaker Nick Taussig decided not to question authority but rather take a much safer route in knitting together a hodgepodge of televised briefings given by Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf, the Information Minister under Saddam Hussein who was dubbed “Baghdad Bob” by the confused journalists at his surreal press conferences during the war.
The 45 minute “Baghdad Bob” contains nuggests of nuttiness with Al-Sahaf’s pronouncements against American and British forces (you can’t call them “coalition forces” since you need more than two entities to form a coalition). With comments like “(Secretary of Defense) Rumsfield, he needs to be hit on the head” and “We will slaughter them all” and “They are stupid and condemned” and “They are not near Baghdad, don’t believe them” (the latter made when the invading forces were outside of the Iraqi capital), Al-Sahaf was clearly a stranger to the basic concepts of reality. His stupidity and vain attempts at spin created the very few laughs generated by the war in Iraq, and “Baghdad Bob” will clearly appeal to those who get nostalgic for having Saddam Hussein as a punching bag. Though why anyone would want to see these press conferences today is beyond me.
But when it comes to asinine commentary, Al-Sahaf is a rank amateur compared to George W. Bush with the excessively premature pronouncement of “Mission Accomplished” in his “Top Gun” burlesque on the deck of a U.S. naval carrier (never mind that American military personnel are murdered on what seems to be a daily basis) or his challenge for Iraqi insurgents to slaughter American forces (remember “Bring â€˜em on”?). And, of course, there is Tony Blair’s speech to Congress where he sang rapturously of how the invasion brought freedom to the Iraqi people (a fact that will surprise the Iraqi people living under a military occupation which violates all chapters of basic international law). Lying, whether delivered in a clipped British accent or a Texas twang or an Iraqi chant, is lying and that’s not entertainment.