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Our buddy Salam a Ba’athist conspirator?

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Speaking of scurillous libel, THIS GUY at the Ottawa Citizen really doesn’t like our blog buddy Salam, who writes from Baghdad. You can get an idea of the harshness of his critique from the headline:

‘Salam Pax’ plays Americans for fools in Iraq
The star of the blog ‘Where is Raed?’ is part of an anti-Western conspiracy

Interestingly, unlike some people this David Warren does not exactly question the authenticity of Salam. He doesn’t claim that he’s not real. Instead, he makes up a whole bunch of evil stuff apparently largely wholecloth to pile on top of the minimal personal details that this anonymous blogger Salam actually provides.

“Salam is the scion of a senior figure from Iraq’s Baathist nomenclature. He was brought up at least partly in Vienna, which is the OPEC headquarters; his father was therefore an oilman, and possibly a former head of Iraq’s OPEC mission. Another clue is a hint that his grandfather was an Iraqi tribal chief, from which I infer that his father was one of the Iraqi tribal chiefs that Saddam Hussein rewarded for loyalty, outside the Tikrit clan.”

What? Where the hell did he get all that? He appears to be claiming to have deduced all this from reading between the lines of Salam’s writings. To phrase it differently, Warren’s just making most of this shit up. Apparently he’s trying to set himself up as the frontrunner for the New York Times Jayson Blair Journalistic Integrity award.

For my attempt to qualify for this coveted award, I’d like to note that David Warren is a vicious homosexual pedophile whom we can assume has murdered at least several young boys during his criminal run. Now, granted I have no evidence of any of this, nor any good or even plausible reason to believe it.

However, I’ve got as much reason to make such accusations against Mr. Warren as he has for his nearly equally bad implication that Salam might be an Iraqi security goon. “Salam would never have known any “ordinary” Iraqis, unless he was interrogating one privately.”

Best I can figure, Warren contends that Salam is some part of an anti-American conspiracy based on his opposition to an American invasion and continuing criticisms of some of the conduct of our occupation. Why, he must be one of Saddam’s henchmen if he doesn’t wholeheartedly endorse US bombing hell out of his country and tromping our big combat boots through his streets. Salam even has the temerity to question the pure altruism of the motives of our political establishment. What an ingrate!

Now, one could ask some tough questions Salam’s general direction. It is reasonable to infer that he’s a rich kid, at least relative to Iraqis in general. I’ve got no reason to suspect him personally of having done anything bad, but it might be reasonable to direct a little skepticism generally to the middle and upper classes of the old Iraq. How much of what kind of accomodating did you have to do with the Hussein regime to get by? Did you contribute to the longevity of this evil regime? I would intend these to be questions for private spiritual contemplation as everyone works to find a way forward rather than as public accusations.

Let me make a couple of points in Salam’s defense, though. He was opposed to us making war on his home, but he was never any kind of defender of the Ba’ath regime, or the Hussein family. He was writing bad things about Saddam before the war that would certainly have gotten him killed if he had been discovered. From absolutely everything else we know about the Hussein regime, it seems exceedingly unlikely that he would have tolerated anyone making public comments against him as Salam did.

He reported bad things being done by the Ba’athists before they were reported by professional reporters, such as the trenches of oil being set up shortly before the start of hostilities in March.

Also, he exhibited only the most caustic disdain for the volunteer westerners who came as human shields before the war. Why would any pro-Ba’ath agent speak so?

His criticisms of the US before and after our invasion have been moderate and reasonable, which is not to say that I would wholly agree with them. He’s never accused American soldiers of any gratuitous violence or cruelty. He does not speak bitterly of US soldiers or of Americans in general. Indeed, he’s recently urged that we not be in too big a hurry to leave. Now that we’ve destroyed the old order, he fears chaos and mullahs more than Americans.

He’s also picked rather odd blog friends for someone supposedly trying to preserve the interests of the Ba’ath regime. Note that his top buddy, the one person to whom he has actually spoken and divulged personal information is Diana Moon, a pro-war Jewish woman from New York City.

Salam also put up a link to my Culpepper Log apparently just exactly because he appreciated my initial skepticism about his veracity. Like Diana, I was also adamantly supporting the war effort long before we became acquainted.

Now, perhaps Diana and I are Double Secret Agents in Salam’s anti-American conspiracy. If so though, he’s showing exponentially more cleverness than anything else I’ve seen from the Ba’athists.

On the other hand, perhaps Mr. Warren is the one involved in the anti-American conspiracy. Perhaps he’s really one of the commie Canucks, and he’s trying to discredit our war effort by saying really hateful and stupid things on behalf of us hawks. That seems to better fit the known facts on the ground.

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  • http://www.well.com/~srhodes Steve Rhodes

    That is one of the more fucked up columns I’ve read in a while. And people complain that bloggers don’t have editors. That guy had an editor and it still was printed.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Oh Jebus. This guy’s so bad, even the New York Times wouldn’t hire him- not even if he were a crippled black lesbian.

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    Unfortunately stupidity knows no national boundaries…

    I’ve been reading Salam for a time now. He may well have Ba’athist ties (I suspect that anyone and practically everyone in Iraq has some ties with the Ba’athists – as it was with the Soviet Union, for many things it is the Party or nothing) but anyone who reads his posts can see he has no particular ties to the Ba’athists, and I’ve read stronger anti-Americanisms in western media (looked at the BBC lately?).

    Warren’s trying to find a new story slant and get some attention by trashing Salam…he’s an opportunist of the worst kind…

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