We were up in Michigan this weekend visiting family. I got stuck watching Larry King Live last night (don't ask), and they had an interview with Paul McCartney's wife, Lady Heather Mills McCartney, and her work stumping for banlandmines.uk, adoptamine.org, or something like that. Anyway, in one segment, she appeared with an Iraqi girl named Zeynab, whose life prior to the Imperialist Capitalist Running Pig-Dog Iraq Oil Run Sponsored By Halliburton was apparently all sweetness and light:
KING: What does Zeynab think about what's happened in her country?
ZEYNAB (through translator): I'm just to see my country that's explosion every day, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and the children also, they're losing their limbs by these accidents by these explosions, and there's insecurity in Iraq now, and I am asking why this is happening inside my country.
KING: Does she bear anger toward the British and the Americans? Does she have bad feelings?
ZEYNAB (through translator): Yes, and why they are just -- bombed us and killed my family? And they are not now taking responsibility, they are not now trying to help the children inside Iraq, and after what they did inside my country, from killing the civilians, so they have to take the responsibility and try to help those children. If they want, they can get out from our country.
KING: You learned about Iraq from her a lot, Heather?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: Really have. I asked, on the first meeting, you know, what did you think of Saddam Hussein before this war? Was he like -- was he bogeyman, or was he, you know, somebody that you didn't know too much about? And she said, yes, we knew about him, we knew that he wasn't a good man, but I had no fear of him. He was, you know, I was allowed to play in the street with my friends, they weren't harmed. She just wishes that we'd never gone in, as in the British and Americans. You know, it's very, very difficult, because we went in for good reasons, but you know, there's been three wars since Saddam came in, starting with the Iran-Iraq, and you know, you can never win because you instill bitterness into the children, and they grow up and they start another war, and another war. So wars don't ever solve anything. They just don't.
On the one hand, at least Mills-McCartney concedes that 'we went in for good reasons.' On the other hand, she contends that 'wars don't ever solve anything.'
The city fathers of Carthage would disagree. As would the Third Reich and Imperial Japan.
Notwithstanding that, it's clear that Zeynab was fortunate enough not to have her parents complain too loudly about Saddam (from a Time interview with Scott Ritter, certainly no supporter of OIF):
[Time] You've spoke about having seen the children's prisons in Iraq. Can you describe what you saw there?
[Ritter] The prison in question is at the General Security Services headquarters, which was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It appeared to be a prison for children — toddlers up to pre-adolescents — whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace.
Back to the Larry King Live interview. After a few minutes discussing how well Zeynab was doing, considering that she got a limb blown off by an evil cluster bomb, Mills-McCartney drops this clinker that was SO unbelievably stupid I had to look up the transcript because I couldn't believe she actually said it:
KING: That's amazing. What -- this is an extraordinary young lady. What do you owe it to, Heather? How do you explain Zeynab?
MILLS MCCARTNEY: I just think a lot to do with her own genetics and her own character. Because people say, oh, how do you overcome this, how do you do that, but you get people who go through terrible lives and end up messed up, or end up incredible, like Zeynab, and you know, she obviously had quite a difficult life before the war started, you know, very poor country, and we were pretty terrible in doing the Oil for Food programme, because we weren't really giving the right amount of money for the oil; otherwise Iraq would have been a very rich country and had an abundance of food. So I think we have a lot to -- to be responsible for in the years gone by. [emphasis added. Also, somebody should point out to the transcriber that although Mills-McCartney is British, CNN is not, and they should therefore spell 'program' properly!]
Jesus H. Three-Card-Monteing Christ. If you're a celebrity, and you want to spout off about a topic politically, you owe it to yourself to actually learn something
about it, if for no other reason than to avoid getting pimp-slapped for your ignorance!
For instance, Saddam skimmed off the top of EVERY OfF contract:
COMPANIES from Australia, the US and other countries paid a secret commission to Saddam Hussein’s government to secure contracts under the United Nations’ oil-for-food programme, Iraqi and occupation officials said yesterday.
Iraq demanded a 10 per cent payment from suppliers who were told to put the money into Arab bank accounts set up by Saddam’s administration.
That added up to ten billion dollars
in Saddam's pocket.
Next, everybody and their brother along the way got their kickback. For example, Charles Pasqua:
French Minister of the Interior (1993-1995) European Parliament member and Chairman of the Union of Europe of the Nations (UEN) group. (1999-present.)
Received 12 million barrels under the United Nations Oil for Food program.
Lots more juicy details about who got what can be found here
Finally, Saddam used the food and medicine that did make it into the country as political weapons:
Fact: Sanctions have never prohibited or limited the import of medicine. In fact, the UN has urged the Iraqi regime to order more basic medicines, but Baghdad has refused. Saddam has been criticized by the UN for intentionally hoarding medicines in warehouses in government-controlled Iraq instead of distributing it to civilians.
. . .
Fact: The regime is slow to order and distribute goods and Saddam's lack of cooperation on monitoring makes it difficult to ensure goods are equitably distributed to the Iraqi people. Baghdad has rejected UN recommendations to increase protein-enriched goods for malnourished children and pregnant women. The Iraqi Government has also rejected assistance by all but a few Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other outside groups.
So it's clear that no matter how much food, or medicine, or money the West sent to Iraq during the OfF period, the conditions for the average Iraqi would have been exactly whatever Saddam Hussein wanted them to be.
Celebrities have the same rights to shoot their mouths off about whatever chowderheaded political opinions they have as anybody else does. What pisses me off is when they get play for their unrepentant ignorance simply because they're celebrities.