Another propaganda flick

Here are just a few examples of the movie’s attempt to humanize Saddam’s personality and minimize his crimes.

Powerline highlights comments about an HBO/BBC effort to whitewash Saddam Hussein in The House of Saddam: HBO’s disgrace.

This is underscored by all of the sympathy in the media for the reporter who threw his shoes at the President at a recent press conference in Iraq. As some have noted, can you imagine what would have happened to that reporter if he tried that stunt in Saddam’s Iraq? Instead of celebrating his new found freedoms, he instead chose to insult them. It should make one wonder about this ethic, the ethic that is also behind this HBO/BBC presentation.

If you took this film as a text on international history you would walk away thinking that Saddam based his foreign policy on defending his country. The movie sequences events in a way that frames each story in a very particular way.

Propaganda need not be obvious but is visible to the critical viewer. Things don’t add up, if you take the care to actually do the arithmetic.

There is much more that could be said. But let us sum up: HBO and the BBC want us to see Saddam as a family man, a tyrant at home, a dictator at work, who became this way because his stepfather beat him. He was, in this version, an ordinary kind of dictator and this was an ordinary kind of Middle Eastern authoritarian regime run as a family business. The trouble is it was not. Saddam was uniquely brutal in his rise through the Ba’athist Party. His regime sought to eliminate entire groups from the nation. He launched two aggressive wars against neighbouring states. This was not a normal authoritarian regime, nor even a bad one. Saddam was a genocidal dictator who terrorized his own people. This attempt to normalize him is a disgrace.

This sort of rationalization occurs not only at the extremes but also even in such things as discussion forums at the personal level. It is an illness in society that does not bode well.

Comments are closed.