Aug 01 2004

War’s Iconic Image a PSYOPS Creation

Saddam Hussein statue toppled at Firdos Square.

Saddam Hussein statue toppled at Firdos Square.

The July 3 L.A. Times finally put to some sort of definitive rest the notion that it was ebullient Iraqis who pulled down the Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad’s Firdos Square in April of last year. The statue pulldown is described in an internal Army study, the Times reported, as one of many psychological operations maneuvers employed by the military. It was a Marine colonel who decided to topple the statue, and “it was a quick thinking Army psychological operations team that made it appear to be a spontaneous Iraqi undertaking.”

Today, the elite media strategy appears to be to pretend they always knew the event was a U.S. military exercise. The July 3 New York Times, for example, refers to the square where “American marines toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein.” But it’s worth looking back to recall just how much was made of this purportedly spontaneous event, likened by some to the fall of the Berlin Wall. AP’s April 10, 2003 headline: “Iraqis topple statue of Saddam and celebrate the fall of Baghdad.” The L.A. Times, in the editorial “New Day in Ancient Land,” explained it as the work of “Iraqi mobs.” The Chicago Tribune likewise described “a crowd of hundreds of Iraqis assisted by U.S. marines” and opined, “This was the day the fog of war lifted. And the whole world could see the truth.” Well, as it turns out, not exactly.

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