Canada's Maclean's: Bush Is the New Saddam

Canadian news magazine Maclean's photoshopped George Bush into the familiar black beret, mustache and pseudo-military garb that defined the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. This photo illustration accompanied a September 20 cover story that claimed Bush is the new Saddam because he's “reaching out the the late dictator's henchmen.”

In "How Bush Became the New Saddam," writer Patrick Graham described a decaying civilization that is doomed to fail in this rambling, disjointed article. He traveled around Iraq separately from the US military and even criticized journalists embedded with them because they “learn mostly about Americans...and end up sounding like a visiting columnist for the New York Times“ (my emphasis throughout). Ah yes, Canadians wouldn't want to echo that notoriously pro-military, pro-war and pro-American voice of the NY Times.

He jumped on the “Anbar Awakening,” and noted that “[m]any of America's new allies are former insurgents and Saddam Hussein loyalists...who only a short while ago were routinely called terrorists, 'anti-Iraq fighters,' and 'Baathist dead-enders.' ” Cooperating with the mutual enemies of Al Qaeda makes Bush the new Saddam? I guess since America cooperates with Canada as well, than that means Bush is also the new Pierre Trudeau?

Graham labeled the “over-hyped success the Anbar Awakening,” calling the milestones of cooperation in that province “yard-pebbles” and “inch-dust.” Sure, it's better to ignore a means to ending hostilities that will allow troops to withdraw and ultimately reduce loss of life. And Bush is supposed to be the one who doesn't understand nuance and shades of grey?

Not willing to give an inch on the successes in Iraq, Graham found fault in everything from Bush's photo-op meet and greet with various Anbar sheiks to the US sending terrorists to Syria for interrogation:

“Come to Damascus—we can drive from here and the road is safe,” Ahmed said. He listed the various tribal militias controlling the 450-km road through Anbar province from the Syrian border to Falluja that could protect us. It seemed to be typical of the recent over-hyped success of the Anbar Awakening that you would have to fly from Baghdad to Damascus, and then drive six hours back across the desert, to get only 40 minutes outside Baghdad in order to see it for yourself...Ahmed said that when he and his “troop” (his quaint word for what sounded death-squadish to me) captured al-Qaeda fighters around Falluja, they shipped the leaders to the border for interrogation by Syrian intelligence. So far, he’d sent 12. You can’t blame him—even the Americans send suspects to Syria when they want them tortured. Just ask Maher Arar.

Graham legitimately documented the danger and violence that still exists in Iraq, but nowhere in his article was he willing to concede anything positive about the country's progress. Graham's one-sided portrayal of Iraq made the New York Times' coverage look Fair and Balanced.


Lynn is a contributor to NewsBusters. Contact her at tvisgoodforyou2 AT yahoo DOT com


Canada Foreign/Non-English Media Patrick Graham