Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Mohammed al Sahaf, Comic Genius

In the U.S., we have our Slashdot trolls, our newsgroup flamers, our insult-spewing professional wrestlers. We believe we have developed the technologies of rant and bluster to impressively high levels. But are we overconfident, perhaps even vulnerable? Iraq brings to the table the awesome power of one man, Mohammed al Sahaf, Minister of Information. Let us consider some of his recent gems:
  • "The infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad," he told reporters gathered on the roof of the ministry of information. "As our leader Saddam Hussein said, 'God is grilling their stomachs in hell.'" (link)
  • "The Americans, they always depend on a method what I call ... stupid, silly."(link)
  • "They are out of Saddam International Airport," al-Sahaf said. "The force that was in the airport, this force was destroyed."(link)
  • With a straight face, and his usual smirk, Mr al-Sahaf insisted last week that US forces were nowhere near the airport in Baghdad. The television pictures that proved US control over the airport were to him no more than an "illusion".(link)
  • "Those Iraqi fighters are slapping those American gangsters on the face, and when they flee, they will kick their backsides."(link)
  • "We'll chop up this snake, this boa, which has stretched itself and we'll stretch it even further to chop it up and cut off its head."(link)
  • "They are superpowers of villains. They are superpowers of Al Capone."(link)
  • "They are going to surrender or be burned in their tanks,"(link)
  • "We have imprisoned them inside their tanks," he said, "Baghdad is bracing to pummel the invaders".(link)
  • "We besieged them, and we killed most of them. And I think, we will finish them soon. My feelings, as usual, we will slaughter them all. Those invaders, their tombs will be here in Iraq,"(link)
  • "This is war!" he said, barely hiding his smile. "The Americans have become hysterical. They are starting to shoot at journalists." Despite American troops being no more than a few hundred feet from the hotel, he was still proclaiming victory.(link)
  • Unbelievably, Iraqi information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf was still insisting the city was "safe, secure and great" as US tanks could be seen nearby. Speaking at a bizarre news conference on the roof of the Palestine Hotel, he said: "There are no American infidels in Baghdad. They're committing suicide at the gates." US marines watching him on TV said: "He's just across the street. We'll go and talk to him."(link)
  • "We have killed most of the infidels, and I think we will finish off the rest soon." "Washington and London," he said, "have thrown their soldiers into the fire." TV announcers pore over dictionaries to look up the meanings of seldom-used Arabic words he uses for insults, such as uluj, a worm that attaches to the body and sucks blood. [...] some of Sahaf's descriptions of Americans and British include "bloodsucking bastards," "sick dogs" and "donkeys." U.S. forces are "sick in their minds" and "losers and fools." President Bush is a "war criminal" and "stupid." British Prime Minister Tony Blair is "a part of the body near the posterior" and "not worth a shoe." U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is a "criminal dog."(link)
  • In briefings by Sahaf, the troops are often referred to as "flocks of sheep doomed to die in Iraq" or as "a snake slithering through the desert".(link)
  • For a second day in a row, the defiant Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, appeared at a roadside news conference to tell reporters that the invaders were being defeated, even though his own ministry was not secure enough for him to preside over.(link)
  • al-Sahaf announced to perhaps 100 journalists that the whole thing was a propaganda exercise, the Americans were no longer in possession of Baghdad airport, that reporters must "check their facts and re-check their facts, that's all I ask you to do." Mercifully, the oil fires, bomb explosions and cordite smoke now obscured the western bank of the river, so fact-checking could no longer be accomplished by looking behind Mr Sahaf's back.(link)
  • Yesterday, when the hotel came under U.S. tank fire, the Iraqi information minister had to admit to the journalists staying there that coalition forces were in the capital. But, smiling, he made it sound like it was all part of Iraq's plan. "We blocked them inside the city. Their rear is blocked," he said in hurried remarks that were a departure from his daily news conference. (link)
  • "There are no American troops in Baghdad. We surrounded them, we killed them, we made them drink poison and taught them a lesson that history will never forget." (link)

Clearly, we cannot let the Iraqis possess a ranter of this caliber, a Wordsmith of Mass Hallucination. We must offer al-Sahaf asylum and bring him to the United States, where he can host his own late-night TV show. Think of what al-Sahaf could do for the U.S. -- imagine what he could tell us about the U.S. economy:
  • "We are still in the midst of an incredible bull market. The current God-ordained economic miracle has companies hiring like mad to try to keep up with the righteous triple-digit growth."
  • "Those who claim to have been laid off are liars, bastards, and leeches. Their bleached bones will litter the trading floors of the stock exchanges like confetti."

Or what about inviting Sahaf to comment on international soccer?:
  • "The criminals and mercenaries of the Brazilian and Argentinian squads quake in fear of the U.S. soccer team's might. The World Cup will be their hell."
  • "The U.S. did not give up a single goal in the last 2 World Cups, on their way to their perfect undefeated record. Those who thought they saw otherwise have fallen victim to illusion and propaganda."

Al-Sahaf belongs on American TV. I think we have the will, and we have the ability, to bring him here. Who's with me?

(For another great article on Sahaf, see Clive's blog here.)

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