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Iraq's Minister of Lies

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Remember the 1975 flick "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"? There was a scene where King Arthur got into a major battle with the Black Knight.

Arthur chopped off his opponent's limbs one at a time, with fake blood spraying profusely all over the screen. The Black Knight kept taunting Arthur, calling on him to "fight like a man" even as Arthur reduced him to nothing but a torso.

Maybe the Black Knight character was the inspiration for Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi minister of information.

The guy is not subtle. He comes out in front of the collected press of the world wearing rimless Ari Fleischer specs and a Monica Lewinsky black beret. This mouthpiece for Saddam Hussein spins so loud and hard he makes James Carville look like a librarian.

"They have no foothold in Iraq," he recently said with a straight face. "We will welcome them with bullets and shoes." Smacking someone with a shoe in the Arab world is like talking about a person's momma in parts of the U.S.

The Iraqi minister asserted that U.S. forces were not at the gates of Baghdad when they were. And after the coalition had stormed the Saddam International Airport, al-Sahaf claimed that the Republican Guard had regained control. "Today we slaughtered them in the airport. They are out of Saddam International Airport," al-Sahaf declared. "The force that was in the airport, this force was destroyed."

Maybe he lives in some sort of parallel universe, because he never seems to be bothered when the lies he's telling the world are revealed for the whoppers that they are.

The man also loves to engage in old-fashioned name-calling. He's referred to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as a "most despicable creature" and a "crook." And he's called his adversaries that have led the coalition a "gang of outlaws," "fools," "stooges" and "racists."

In the great tradition of practitioners of the "Big Lie," he is constantly accusing the U.S. and Britain of lying instead. "They lie every day," he charged. "Therefore, what they say or allege about success and advances are illusions."

Come to think of it, al-Sahaf is so consistent in his fabrication, if we take as true the opposite of what he spouts, he becomes downright reliable.

And that's good news. One of his latest statements was "this aggression will end in failure."

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Copyright © 2003
James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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