Jewish World Review April 22, 2003 / 20 Nisan, 5763
Leonard Pitts, Jr.
OH, MOHAMMED, YOU ARE THE BEST!
Dear Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf:
You're dead. Yeah, right. Tell me another one.
Two Iranian newspapers are reporting that you've committed suicide, but I don't buy it. I'll bet these words find you on the balcony of some chalet in the south of France, sipping something tall and cool while cursing the infidels.
You may not know it, Mohammed - may I call you Mohammed? - but you were one of the few things that made the late unpleasantness in Iraq bearable for us Americans. As the war dragged on, as we sank from the innocent optimism of the early days to the despair and doubt of three days later, it was only your daily press briefings as Iraq's minister of information that kept us going.
We'll always be grateful for that, Mohammed, always remember you as you were in your heyday. A beret cocked upon your manly head, a twinkle flickering in your lovely eyes, bovine excreta spewing from your lying mouth. Mohammed, you had an indifference toward truth that was downright awe-inspiring.
It was you who claimed U.S. troops had "started to commit suicide under the walls of Baghdad." This, as your soldiers were showing a level of resistance usually associated with bugs and windshields.
You told us the Americans were not even within a hundred miles of Baghdad. U.S. Marines were relieving themselves in the VIP lounge of the local airport at the time.
Then, of course, there's your memorable declaration that "there are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!" while behind you, smoke was rising over downtown Baghdad.
No one has seen you since April 9, when an American reporter asked about the imminent arrival of U.S. forces and you said - this is vintage you - "I now inform you that you are too far from reality."
You were not simply a liar, Mohammed. You were to the art of deception what Jordan was to basketball, what Hawking is to science, what Springer is to trash television - a talent of such boldness, originality and vision that nobody else compares.
And I'm supposed to believe you'd be such a barbarian as to deprive the world of that gift? By taking your own life, yet? No way. Committing suicide would suggest you felt a certain shame. And the capacity for shame is, to say the least, inconsistent with my image of you.
You need to stop lying about dying and take a look at the big picture. You may not realize it, baby, but you're big over here.
There's a company selling a Mohammed doll. Your image adorns mugs, barbecue aprons and mouse pads. You've even got your own Web site (www.WeLoveTheIraqiInformationMinister.com), which speculates on how you might have spun some of history's most famous battles.
("General Pickett's charge, G-d be praised, was a great victory. The Union infidels - as usual - were all slaughtered and General Pickett is now only hours away from Philadelphia, G-d willing.")
Nobody appreciates a good liar like America. That's why - don't laugh - you need to get on over here. Granted, there might be some messiness, military tribunals and the like. But with a sharp defense attorney, that should be no problem. I'm thinking Johnnie Cochran.
There'd be a book deal, of course. A TV movie. A little face time with Dave, Jay and Katie.
After that, it's wide open. For a man of your talents, there'd be no shortage of career options. I can see you selling houses ("The airport flight pattern does not go over this house. It is another infidel lie.") Or running a Fortune 500 company ("Our earnings will set yet another record this year. You must all buy more stock. Allah be praised.") Or even holding high office ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman. May G-d roast her stomach in hell.")
As you can see, Mohammed, the possibilities are endless. Unless of course, you're really, truly ... DEAD.
Hee hee. Yeah, sure you are.
I do so love to watch an artist at work.
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© 2002, The Miami Herald