Second Guessing

I can't watch television media without trying to figure out who is
manipulating it, no matter how maddening the process is.

The younger, greener journalists and pundits who were on the air from
the first minute of the attack were careful not to specifically say that
Saddam was the target of the early attacks, though they obviously
suspected it. Military insiders were hardly much different, only they
appeared to imply that instead of _journalistic ethics_ they a
_patriotic duty_ that prevented them from acknowledging that Saddam was
the target.

The news analysts noted, immediately following Saddam's speech, that he
could have made the tape prior to the beginning of the bombing –
implying that he also could have caused it to be released after the
hostilities began, whether he was alive or dead. Later, after some time
for reflection (and better broadcast recordings and better translation),
the more senior, seasoned news analysts came on and eventually noted,
with a Sherlock Holmes-like bravado, that in his speech Saddam had
mentioned the *specific time* of the intial attack. So, in fact, he
might be alive.

But he still might be dead: Even MSNBC, allowing wishful thinking to
trump journalistic ethics, said "A man who appears to be Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein". Did I just hear that Al Jazeera had a gap in the
broadcast, where the signal dropped to static? Maybe that's how Saddam's
people made the tapes. Maybe there was no gap in the broadcast, maybe
Saddam's video editor team inserted the gap in the tape to hide an edit.
Maybe Saddam was using video trickery. Did he make dozens of recordings
of himself saying various times of the day ("today at 4:00am", "today at
4:15am", "today at 4:30am", etc - I don't speak Arabic, how specific was
he about the time anyway?). This would be about a hundred different
little recordings. He could have done this in an hour or so.

He could be dead – and the "evidence" that he was alive, uncovered by
clever western journalists and military media analysts, could be an
elaborate posthumous hoax. Or he could be a Saddam look-alike. Or, I
suppose, he could still be alive.


[christopher eli fahey]