Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 26, 1991 · Page 11
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 11

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Saturday, January 26, 1991
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Page 11
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Pittsburg!) J)ost-(GaicHc SATURDAY, JANUARY 26, 1991 11 u::e5saddam husseiN: the war personified For most U.S. troops, the Persian Gulf war is not about oil or ideals but rather a lone megalomaniac, a single bated visage: Saddam Hussein. "It's like when you see a snake in the grass. You kill it. The Iraqis are just following orders This is about Saddam," said Chief Warrant Officer Roy Latter of the 82nd Airborne Division. Focusing on Saddam fits into the American penchant for identifying foreign entanglements with a single leader, as with Ayatouah Khomeini in Iran, Moammar Gaddafi in Libya and Manual Noriaga in Panama. But the Iraqi despot is considered in a class by himself, a symbol of evil incarnate unmatched in some people's minds since Adolf HiUar killed himself in a Berlin bunker nearly 50 years ago. Even seasoned analysts of world affairs lay the blame for Iraq's deadly power play squarely at its leader's feet. Saddam, in turn, has blamed the war on the aggression of "the Satan Bush." Perhaps the residents of Baghdad and the Iraqi troops, pounded from above day after day by the U.S.-led forces, have the same single-minded hatred for the U.S. president that Americans are concentrating on Saddam. Saddam is known as a man who began as a teen-age assassin, a ruthless and cunning opportunist who rose to the top by murder and deceit. As president of Iraq, he quietly amassed chemical weapons and used them not only on Iranians but also on Iraqis, recalcitrant Kurds in the north of his country. He purified his officer corps with summary executions. Last year, he hanged as a spy a British . journalist of Iranian extraction. In the Desert Storm rear echelons, hostility toward Saddam has an edge of black humor. At Christmas time, the hot item among U.S. information officers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, was a cheap day-glo plastic bust of Saddam suitable for smashing with a stick like a Mexican pinata. T-shirts and baseball caps proclaim "Saddam Busters." Caricatures of the familiar mustachioed face decorate headquarters walls. Out in the desert, or on flight lines, however, Saddam is no joke. At least one tank is rolling north with "Hussein's Nightmare" painted on its cannon barrel. More than one bomb has Saddam's name on it Men bold him responsible not only for endangering the world but also for condemning them to leave their families for months of anguish and hardship in the Saudi desert. When the war moves from the air to the ground and contact with the enemy becomes more personal, the hatred many UJ. warriors focus exclusively on Saddam likely will extend with more intensity to his soldiers. But, for now, as Marine Lt. Col John Himea said, "This is no longer a conflict between world powers and Saddam Hussein. This has become a personal thing." Himes, a battalion executive officer from Dayton, Ohio, explained: "You coop Marines up, deprive them of their freedom, liberty, families and special occasions, and how could it not become something personal? When we come to get him, he's got to understand that." Tracking Saddam A London newspaper Thursday quoted diplomatic sources as saying that Saddam Hussein's family has flown to Zambia and is staying in a house owned by the Zambian president A spokeswoman for the Zambian government denied the report.. It was the latest in a series of reports in German, Egyptian and Swiss newspapers, among others, about the whereabouts of Saddam s family since Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2. The Daily Telegraph quoted unidentified diplomatic sources as saying Saddam's wife, Sajida, and bis family fled Baghdad shortly after the first allied air attack last week on the Iraqi capital. It said an Air Mauritania flight took them to Nouakchott, the capital of the Islamic state of Mauritania, a former French colony in the Sahara. Then they flew on an Air Zambia plane to Lusaka. They are now staying in a well-guarded bouse in northeast Zambia belonging to President Kannath Kaunas, said the newspaper, which said Zambia has received large amounts of aid from Iraq. Zambian officials have denied that Saddam's family is in the southern African country. Lusaka State House spokeswoman Mabie Milimo called the report a "rumor that had been spread by some journalists in Lusaka. "We don't know what the manufacturers of such blatant lies are trying to achieve," Milimo said. "It is a malicious lie obviously intended to draw Zambia into the gulf war. We condemn the lie in the strongest terms." But Tim Andrews, British High Commission's second secretary for information in Lusaka, said the report was "feasible . . . because President Kaunda has had a long and close relationship with Saddam Hussein." Reports about Saddam's family began to surface shortly after Iraq seized Kuwait An Egyptian newspaper said they had sought refuge in Switzerland. A Swiss and a German newspaper also have reported that they were in Switzerland. There were also reports last week that the family was in Mauritania in northwestern Africa, a claim Mauritanian authorities have denied. A symbol of pride Saddam Hussein may be evil incarnate to some, but his defiance of Western military power has made him a symbol of pride among many Arabs and his name could rally anti-West sentiment for years to come, Arab analysts say. "Saddam's already won ... the political war. You've made him a hero," Kama! Abu Jaber, a University of Jordan political scientist, told an American reporter in Amman, Jordan. Marchers by the thousands chant Saddam's name in Jordan and the occupied West Bank. Hundreds of thousands demonstrated for him in Sudan and Algeria last week. Whispers of support come in the coffeehouses of Syria and the mosques of Morocco and Pakistan, even though the governments of these countries have sent troops to the anti-Iraq coalition. Amman's Uncle Sam Restaurant raised a poster of Saddam cuddling a little girl two days after U.S.-led allied forces walloped Baghdad and after Saddam responded by lobbing missiles at Israel. "Saddam is standing with us," said restaurant owner Sami Zureik. The missile attacks on Israel electrified Arabs who had felt impotent because of repeated defeats at the hands of the Jewish state. Many Arabs are convinced that Western countries are out to crush Saddam so that Iraq will pose no threat to Israel or the West's oil supplies. Saddam's defeat "would cause immense anger," said Asaad Abdul Rahman, a former political science professor at Kuwait University and a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Central Council. Failure to quickly remove foreign troops and address Arab grievances in the wake of an Iraqi defeat "would be a perfect recipe for social, economic and political upheaval," he said. "You're going to wind up with 150 million to 200 million Arabs against you," said Rami Khoury, a prominent journalist and publisher. Saddam has capitalized on long-smoldering Arab resentment of the West by demanding that any withdrawal from Kuwait be linked to an Israeli pullout from occupied Arab territory. The allies have rejected any linkage. Like many Arabs, moderates such as Abu Jaber and Khoury believe Saddam was wrong to invade Kuwait. But few Arabs feel much sympathy for the Kuwaitis, who are seen as rich and arrogant. Abdul Rahman said that Saddam's brutal regime was disliked, even hated, by many Arabs before the Persian Gulf crisis. But as be quoted an acquaintance as saying, "Saddam's a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch." Abu Jaber warned that if the Palestinian problem isn't solved, "Another Saddam will come ... and another, and another. "Saddam will live for 1,000 years in the hearts of the Arabs." Non-Arab analysts are divided over whether Saddam's heroic image will last. Robert O'Neill, professor of war history at Oxford University, noted: "Even a beaten enemy, as Saddam almost certainly will be, can nave a long afterlife A defeated Saddam, particularly a dead one, will take on a much more favorable image." Kamar Rabinovich, professor of Middle East studies at Tel Aviv University, disagreed. "Some of the sentiments you're observing are nourished by an unrealistic assessment of the power of Saddam Hussein," he said. "Once he's gone, a more realistic mood will prevail." Qualifying the news Cable News Network has added an additional caveat to its televised news reports from Baghdad informing viewers that its reporter Peter Arnett, the only Western correspondent still working in the Iraqi capital, is unable to select or verify the news he is allowed to broadcast. In addition to a printed message that appears on the ' screen that the program was "cleared by Iraqi ' censors," Donna KaNy, a news anchor in Atlanta, preceded Arnett's 6 p.m. Thursday report by saying that it was being shown "within the limits of tight censorship imposed by the Iraqi government" and that the program was "carefully controlled by Iraq." - A spokesman for CNN said that while the network had no indication that the report was anything but what it appeared to be, the network was concerned with accentuating the controls under which it operated, especially as subsequent reports may get increasingly graphic as the war continues. THE HOME mOOTTAKING THE FIZZ OUT OF THE COLA WAR War in the Persian Gulf has accomplished something even Coke can't: It's forced Pepsi to change its plans. Pepsico Inc. has canceled its call-in contest for tomorrow's Super Bowl after talking with the Federal Communications Commission about overburdening the nation's telephone networks. Pepsi had been prepared to handle 3 million calls during the game promotion, which would have awarded three lucky callers $1 million each and given 1 million bottles of soda to others. Now, it will confine its campaign to five 60-second commercials during the game. The FCC never asked Pepsi to scuttle the promotion because the company did it first. It had, however, called a meeting with Pepsi and telephone officials to express worry. "As world events have continued to develop, concerns about consumer access to phone lines have become of prime importance," says David Novak, Pepsi's executive vice president of marketing and sales. Rival Coca-Cola Co. is continuing with its special promotion. Viewers will use game pieces distributed over the past few weeks to decode a message that will appear in Diet Coke spots. Mindful that the soldiers in the Persian Gulf can't wait to get home and have a chilled Pepsi or Coke and watch a movie Hollywood is mustering support for the troops. Cher, beloved by the cheering sailors in ber video "If I Could Turn Back Time," tonight will host a two-hour salute to Operation Desert Storm troops that will air on the armed-forces network in February. No word on whether she will don the fishnet outfit that she wore aboard the USS Missouri in 1989. In other quarters, Robin Williams, Lee Greenwood and Arnold Schwarzenegger have sent salutations, record companies have supplied cassettes, movie companies have provided films, and TV networks have donated tapes of games. If there is any anti-war sentiment in Hollywood, it's underground. Jane Fonda, a symbol of Vietnam War protest, is keeping quiet. "It's a different kind of war," says Fonda publicist Pat Newcomb, adding the actress is watching fiance Tad Turner's CNN coverage like everyone else. Gulf profile: Colin Powell A television war needs a television general, and the tough-talking Gen. Colin U Powell, with his sound-bite vows to destroy Saddam Hussein's army, has filled the bill magnificently. In the 5 Vi months since the Iraqi president's tanks rumbled into Kuwait Powell's celebrity status has risen to the point that be is being compared to such past military heroes as Dwight Eteonhowor and Douglaa Mac Arthur. Life-size cardboard cutouts of Powell have joined those of President Bush, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Madonna on Washington streets, where tourists pay $5 to pose beside them. In political circles, be is being discussed as potential presidential timber, perhaps replacing Vice President Dan Quarts on the Republican ticket with Bush before running for the White House himself in 1 996. . Not bad for an officer and gentleman known as much for his bureaucratic skills and political contacts as his military conning, who has said he joined the Army only because he liked the uniform. "He's a pretty savvy guy," Sen. Richard 6. Luger of Indiana a senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, said Thursday, the day after Powell's finest public performance since the war with Iraq began. On Wednesday, with the whole world watching via the Cable News Network, a ramrod-straight Powell explained the U.S. strategy in language that sounded like dialogue from a John Wayne movie: "Our strategy to go after this army is very, very simple. First we're going to cut it off, and then we're going to kiU it." "I told him yesterday if he's as good a general as he is a spokesman, we're in great shape," presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said Thursday. SEE POWELL, PAGE 12 Compiled from the Associated Press and The New York Times wire services. I K : "i &Sl tCVlj Joint Chiefs of 3.Sr V ; 4t4 Staff Chairman Gen. ; l3 J Colin Powell , 'v- : Nr" . v - i ! y - . - f " -'vv-v';s rv -I V i ' aafc- -....,.. ,..,-:,- - "

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