Debating Statues


There's been some debate online about whether the recent statue-toppling in Iraq was "real" or "staged." As is often the case, it's the people arguing the event was faked who make me suspect it was actually real, and it's the other side's counterarguments that make me reconsider the notion that it was staged after all.

The most amusing comments I've seen on the matter come from the lefty writer Troy Skeels, via an e-mail list we both subscribe to. Some excerpts:

"I have to admit that I reconsidered my whole stance opposing this war when I realized that those people had been oppressed and brutalized all this time by that horrid statue.—Well of course we should drive a few tanks to Baghdad and help the Iraqis tear it down (God knows their tanks aren't up to it), what's the big deal? I had been under the impression they were going to kill people and stuff….

"The real conspiracy that the 'media' won't show you is that it wasn't even a statue of Saddam—but of one of his doubles. The real statue remains standing safely in a bunker somewhere, able to resume symbolizing the brutal dictatorship as soon as those right-thinking Indymedia debunkers let their guard down.

"But the scandal even Indymedia hasn't thought of yet is that the small crowd trying to tear down the statue wasn't doing it to celebrate their liberation, they were looting the damn thing (they've got the head listed on eBay) and the US military helped them do it.

"Of course, Rumsfeld has defended the looting as a natural stage in the evolution of a market democracy—soon they'll have electricity deregulation. Haliburton and other US corps are working night and day to bring properly regulated looting to Iraq as we speak—and having heard the word 'looting,' the IMF and World Bank have announced that they too will be helping the Iraqis liberate themselves some more—for one thing, there's a lot of pedestals gonna need new statues.

"And before long there will be a properly constructed US military base outside Basra, loaded with a modest compliment of nuclear weapons, and Iraq will finally have the Weapons of Mass Destruction this whole thing was designed to both prevent and enable. By then of course we'll be watching the public art in Syria taking a beating and we can go back to getting Iraq and Iran confused again (but only for a little while)."