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Don't lie to me like I'm Montel Williams
February 4, 2005 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Safia Taleb Al Souhail was recognized by President Bush's SOTU address with this introduction: "Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country -- and we are honored that she is with us tonight." This year's chairwarmer is an interesting person for the President to have chosen to highlight in his speech. Especially considering how much work she's done for the neocon movement, the fact that she hadn't lived in Iraq for 30 years, was an American-placed a member of the Iraqi interim government, and the fact that she's the new Iraqi ambassador to Egypt. You may also remember that she was paraded in front of us back in 2002 as justification for going after Saddam. , It's interesting to note that her sister blames the US for her father's death, saying that the CIA sold him out because they needed Saddam in power at that point. Shades of the incubator story, no? More research ongoing at KOS.
posted by dejah420 (42 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Eh, sorry, I can't get too pissed at this one, her emotion looks real to me.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:44 AM on February 4, 2005


I don't think the issue is that her emtion was real or fake. It's the fact that she's a partisan wonk at a policy agency affiliated with Gingrich, Perle, Gary Bauer, and other conservatives. The irony, of course, is that her father apparently died trying to push an overthrow of Sadaam in '93 that the US declined to support.

Doesn't make her any less legitimate as a voter or a human being, but it's worth noting.
posted by verb at 7:51 AM on February 4, 2005


Of course it is - we've just done some dirty work, and she's reaping some of the rewards.

I couldn't care if she jumped up & down and screamed like she won "Iraqi Idol." Her emotion isn't what's being played here - it's ours. She was touted as an everyday Iraqi, a symbol of the good works we've done in Iraq - an Iraqi woman who voted. Instead, we find out she's just another friggin' piece in the game, and one that's been playing with the neocons for some time. Her sister wants to sue the US in international courts - suddenly, she's the belle of the ball? "Payback" does indeed come to mind.
posted by FormlessOne at 8:00 AM on February 4, 2005


See other thread for my comment.
posted by FormlessOne at 8:03 AM on February 4, 2005


Yeah, I posted these links in that thread once I saw it. Figure Matt is going to delete mine since I was a few minutes after the other.
posted by dejah420 at 8:06 AM on February 4, 2005


good job, all. this is really typical, and disgusting, as usual. she got her reward, and her "countrymen" are paying for it, in blood and destruction.
posted by amberglow at 8:08 AM on February 4, 2005


Wow, I was about to say that I would rather see mine deleted and yours stay up- you clearly have more details than I did. But since you copied everything from here to there, I guess that works too ;)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:12 AM on February 4, 2005


Her emotions? Let me step out of decorum here for a second.

Who the fuck cares about her emotions?

Let me climb back into my Decorum GT.

Now, she was there to play with our emotions and what really gets me is not that she's an active part of the machine. It was the passive role she played.

I know a lot of people probably didn't swallow it, but that moment where she hugged the dead Marine's mother was the only sickening part of that speech for me. Politics is cynical, but I hate it when it's that level of cynical.

There are people who will believe that was spontaneous.

She came there with her purple index finger, the Marine's mother showed up with her son's dog tags. They were seated next to each other.

And there, spontaneously on cue, they hug (oh, but isn't that great, the shy woman turning around). The quick pan to the President and First lady nearing tears, the dog tags right out for every photographer and cameraman to zoom in on, the purple index finger peeking out from behind Dead Marine's Mom's shoulder.

It's all so spontaneous. Isn't it beautiful. Cry me a river.
posted by Captaintripps at 8:16 AM on February 4, 2005


Well, anyone who didn't think all of the heartwarming stories and half-assed emotional appeals to hysteria for justification to attack Iraq were just a load of crap is really too naive to vote. If ParisParamus, et. al. chime in here with anything other than, "well, yeah it was all a farce-- what of it? We won the 2004 election," I'll be very disappointed with them.

The Iraq war was always about two things-- extending American power into the Middle East and shoring up the Bush Administration's power at home. The only disappointing thing here is that the press is just as clueless now as it was in 1991 with the incubator story.
posted by deanc at 8:17 AM on February 4, 2005


the fact that she hadn't lived in Iraq for 30 years

I don't see why this is an issue. People who were persecuted by the then Baathist Govt left if they could. That she is now returning, along with plenty of other exiles, is not a bad thing.

I certainly don't mind the fact that I've lived in South Africa all my life while our current President has only spent about half his here (in exile from 1962-1991).
posted by PenDevil at 8:31 AM on February 4, 2005


Machiavelli had no idea just how cynical politics could actually be.
posted by nofundy at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2005


This is fascinating but unsurprising. Given the events surrounding Chalabi's fall from favor, one can't help but wonder what would happen to her were she to cross someone in the Bush admin, even slightly. Also, considering Chalabi, one wonders what's in store for Allawi.
posted by gramschmidt at 8:37 AM on February 4, 2005


Right on PenDevil, this caught my eye too.
dejah420, the way you phrased it, it sounds like you are somehow holding being in exile against here, but hey, the reason she was not in Iraq was because she would have risked her life going back there.
posted by sour cream at 8:42 AM on February 4, 2005


Someone please tell me the woman pictured here voting in DC is someone else.
posted by 31d1 at 8:43 AM on February 4, 2005


Chalabi's back, by the way
posted by amberglow at 8:49 AM on February 4, 2005


Well, I'm not surprised. As soon as Bush mentioned her father, it did seem to beg the questions "So who was he? And why's his daughter so important?"
posted by tapeguy at 8:51 AM on February 4, 2005


amberglow, I'm at work and not in a good position to listen to that right this second. To what extent do they discuss his penance (if any)? What did he have to do to regain favor with the Bush administration, if indeed he has?
posted by gramschmidt at 9:01 AM on February 4, 2005


he's part of the United Iraqi Alliance, and is going to have a seat in the new Assembly, and wants us to stay there, and sounded to me like he's trying to get back into our good graces. He says he hasn't changed, but the DC people did, and that he's not being treated with hostility by us. That's about it.
posted by amberglow at 9:16 AM on February 4, 2005


Hmm. Thanks. That throws new light on the Jon Lee Anderson piece I linked to.
posted by gramschmidt at 9:21 AM on February 4, 2005


I expect the little dog and pony shows that politicians (from both parties) put on for us. I expect them to try and screw me out of everything I have or earn, then turn around and split it with their associates. After all, I don't make large contributions to politicians' re-election campaigns and a single vote ain't worth much--even less if you control the counting. I can even understand why some Iraqis might be happy about what has transpired there recently and how the events may serve some good for them (personally and/or for their country) in the long run. What I can't understand is how Americans can repeatedly be duped into feeding their young into a meat grinder, all the while paying the bills for the manufacture and operating costs for said grinder. My friends, I have come to the conclusion that, generally speaking, we (I'm a USIAN, too) are truly the most naive people that ever lived on this earth.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled PP troll/rant.
posted by a_day_late at 9:26 AM on February 4, 2005


Someone please tell me the woman pictured here voting in DC is someone else.

I don't know... I'm bad at faces. And we have different light, pancake makeup, etc. But the woman in DC looks to be a bit older...

DC Woman:
http://photos4.flickr.com/4016392_0e89f269f9.jpg

Safia:
http://www.radicalparty.org/iraq/press_conference_14032003/4.jpg
posted by teatree at 9:28 AM on February 4, 2005


Look, I TOOK that photo--the DC Woman one. And I watched the speech, too. And they are DEFINITELY two different people.
posted by chinese_fashion at 9:31 AM on February 4, 2005


Right on PenDevil, this caught my eye too.
dejah420, the way you phrased it, it sounds like you are somehow holding being in exile against here, but hey, the reason she was not in Iraq was because she would have risked her life going back there. -- sour cream


No, the my issue with her being in exile for all of her life is that the President suggested that she was a "typical Iraqi woman"... which couldn't be farther from the truth.
posted by dejah420 at 9:34 AM on February 4, 2005


chinese_fashion and teatree - thank you.
posted by 31d1 at 9:41 AM on February 4, 2005


Given the Bushites' conduct all along I don't find any of this very surprising.
posted by davy at 10:13 AM on February 4, 2005


Well, anyone who didn't think all of the heartwarming stories and half-assed emotional appeals to hysteria for justification to attack Iraq were just a load of crap is really too naive to vote.

Seconded. The problem is, that's most Americans, voters or not. It's Disney all the way down.
posted by davy at 10:16 AM on February 4, 2005


When we sat down to watch the speech, as Mrs. Bush was being seated, my husband asked me who that woman beside her was. My answer:

"An Iraqi woman who voted and will be used as a prop during the feel good, mission accomplished part of the speech. Nothing more than a prop, just like the one-armed soldier right beside her."

I had no idea who she actually was until I read this post, but yes I was right ... she was a prop for the speech. In fact, I thought she was a "typical Iraqi woman" as in someone who had actually been living there through the hell that was Saddam and just a normal person who was happy to have gotten to vote. Little did I know, huh? I can't wait to pass this post on to my husband. Thanks, dejah420. Good post.
posted by Orb at 10:39 AM on February 4, 2005


On one level, I'm glad that the Marine's mother and Safia met, and I do believe the emotions were genuine. I also don't really mind that Safia was involved with the administration or other neocons. She's entitled to her views and beliefs. In short, it was nice to see, on a personal "i like to see people reach closure" level.

However, I think it cheapened the event tremendously that it happened during the SOTU. Because even if it was honest, it will now be stained with the appearance of political stagery, and will now be suspect (and rightfully so).

On preview,
I hope people realize how condenscending it sounds when someone says "most people are naive" or some equivalent statement. It has an elitist "I'm better than you" flavor to it.
posted by forforf at 10:46 AM on February 4, 2005


Well, many people are naive. Others are apathetic and willfully ignorant. The frustration with why they might be so ignorant is understandable, and turns into condescension sometimes, righteous anger at others. But at what point are people to blame for being blind to reality and seduced by image? When is it safe to blame the presumably ever-blameless mass of people in any political community? I ask without being certain of the answer, but believing that elites in government, media and other places of mass influence (also including education - and I've worked in all three fields mentioned here, although never at the top echelons) ultimately always bear most of the blame.
posted by raysmj at 11:27 AM on February 4, 2005


i don't understand the Belzer quote (didn't watch Homicide). is Montel Williams supposed to be stupid?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:06 PM on February 4, 2005


MetaFilter- It's Disney all the way down.

how condenscending it sounds when someone says "most people are naive" or some equivalent statement. It has an elitist "I'm better than you" flavor to it.

Well, its true I don't watch "Desperate Housewives" or "The Bachelor" so maybe there's something valid in the flavor as it regards "most people." :-)
posted by nofundy at 12:29 PM on February 4, 2005


The Norwoods were on Good Morning America. They said unequivocally that it was not staged. They said that they had no idea anything like that would happen.
posted by dios at 12:59 PM on February 4, 2005


Winning the War of Perception (Shales - WaPo). well, duh.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:14 PM on February 4, 2005


Dead marine's mother--what dead marine's mother? There are dead marines?
posted by The God Complex at 1:29 PM on February 4, 2005


i don't understand the Belzer quote (didn't watch Homicide). is Montel Williams supposed to be stupid?

No, it's that the train of idiots that choo-choo their way through him and the rest of the degrading analogs thereof, are forever getting "caught" in untruths.
posted by dejah420 at 1:47 PM on February 4, 2005


What's the untruth that you are referring to?
posted by dios at 2:07 PM on February 4, 2005


Ruthless.
posted by five dollars worth of thank you cake at 2:35 PM on February 4, 2005


Who's Montel Williams?
posted by funkbrain at 3:23 PM on February 4, 2005


Disney all the way down.

Just wanted to repeat that. Brilliant.
posted by mr.marx at 3:33 PM on February 4, 2005


So, here's a question. What's a guy like me (unsure if the reasoning behind the war is good, but looking forward to good results anyway) supposed to believe?

A day doesn't go by where I don't read some bullshit from the right or left about what's going on there.

A day doesn't go by where I don't get called out on something for being understandably conflicted about the whole thing.

I'm not out there marching, but I didn't prance around New York with a purple index finger, either.
posted by Captaintripps at 5:35 PM on February 4, 2005


Why Safia Taleb? Because. Chalabi was busy giving Iran blowjobs.
posted by tkchrist at 5:38 PM on February 4, 2005


So, here's a question. What's a guy like me (unsure if the reasoning behind the war is good, but looking forward to good results anyway) supposed to believe?

A day doesn't go by where I don't read some bullshit from the right or left about what's going on there.

A day doesn't go by where I don't get called out on something for being understandably conflicted about the whole thing.

I'm not out there marching, but I didn't prance around New York with a purple index finger, either.


If you don't have an opinion yet, I'm sure it's probably too late to solicit one that's gonna stick.
posted by The God Complex at 6:41 PM on February 4, 2005


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