Sandwich Analysis Of Gotim News

Sandwich Analysis of “Got’im” News Conference: Tom Engelhardt

Journalist Tom Engelhardt’s caught something important about the news conference that announced Saddam’s capture in his recent column (scroll down to “The Hangover”):

Here was the striking thing — for me — about the “got him!” news conference: It started with L. Paul Bremer, CPA head, striding through a portal, up to the podium, and leading off with that exuberant, quite euphoric exclamation about Saddam . . . Only then did he turn to the aging exile Adnan Pachachi. “Dr. Pachachi?” Pachachi offered a bare paragraph of comment. (“I am pleased to announce to you on behalf of the Governing Council that we are moving on the way with our efforts to achieve sovereignty and authority in the proper allotted timeā€¦”) and then Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, allied military commander, took over the podium and gave a long statement punctuated by those dramatic film clips of Saddam. Questions followed with all three answering, but with General Sanchez controlling the process, and the event ended with the general pronouncing the last words, “And God bless America.” Pachachi in other words was sandwiched between the two exuberant Americans, between, that is, “Got him!” and “God bless America.” An exceedingly thin slice of meat between meaty hunks of bread. And that pretty much reveals the face behind the mask (both of which turn out to be ours). Imagine if they had really wanted to put an “Iraqi face” on the event. Dr. Pachachi could, of course, have strode through that same portal, stepped to the same podium, and announced the capture of Saddam, showed the videos, called on the Americans for details and clarifications, and then taken the questions and doled them out. He could, in short, have run the news conference. But it would have cost in impact in the United States and in any case it was, I have no doubt, beyond what Gary Thatcher, L. Paul Bremer or the President could imagine. It’s just not in their mental repertoire . . . The essential nature of this administration is set. They can’t kick it. And that’s why they’re going to be left with the Iraq of their dreams. It just so happens that those dreams are nightmares. They always were. This is a passing moment. When the dust clears we’ll still be an unpopular occupying power with 110,000 embattled troops in a country with over 60% unemployment, a significant insurgency, and few reassuring Iraqi faces.”

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