Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Le Soir Might be Identifying with the Iraqi "Resistance" Too Much

Last weekend's (9-10 April 2005) edition of Le Soir, Belgium's largest circulation French-language daily, featured a glowing portrait of the partisans of radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Le Soir's enterprising reporter Anne-Sophie Le Mauff returned from her visit to Sadr City with the remarkable scoop that Sadr's followers still do not like Americans. It seems like it will be hard to change their minds: as the report notes, they are demanding, among other things, that Saddam Hussein be judged by Iraqis - a demand that will be particularly difficult to fulfill, since, as the report sheepishly admits, Saddam Hussein is already being judged by Iraqis.

Ms. Le Mauff's article largely consists of testimonials from members of Sadr's "Mahdi Army" and their fellow-travelers, several of which sound about as plausible as the "he-turned-me-into-a-newt" complaint of Monty Python fame, but all of which are taken at face value by the credulous Ms. Le Mauff. "I felt the liquid burning in my gut. I immediately understood that we were the victims of a terrorist attack," one apparently healthy Mahdi Army combatant is reported as saying. "The man was deliberately poisoned on the road to Kerbala," Ms. Le Mauff repeats breathlessly.

The article also contains this revealing passage:
"After having gotten rid of Saddam Hussein for us, these sons of bitches have come to kill us on our own land," says Ibrahim, brother of a martyr felled by American bullets. "Did we invade them? Have we pillaged their resources?" asks this former militia member, who is currently unemployed.
Note that the description of Ibrahim's brother as a"martyr" comes from Ms. Le Mauff.