GOES TO WAR
FROM INSIDE IRAQ
An Exclusive Insiders Insider Report from the War
News service balances
reports from war rooms
By STAN ISAACS
With the war now in high gear, journalistic organizations are scrambling to be firstest with the mostest with reports from the intense fighting at the front and the intense briefings from Washington war rooms. By a rare stroke of luck I have gained a connection with a little-known but highly reliable news service known by the letters ITI-which stands for Inside the Inside.
ITI has keen journalists who have penetrated some of the highest reaches of the Iraqi government. They have access to some of the Iraqi briefings which often address the same developments talked about by President Bushs press secretary Ari Fleischer when he enlightens the media.
The latest from ITI:
A spokesman for the Iraqui government said it was unclear whether it was President George W. Bush himself or a double for the president when he announced on March 17 that the United States would start a military action within 48 hours. Some Iraqui pundits expostulated that Bush was rushed out of Washington immediately after the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center, so it might have been considered prudent to give him a head start out of the country before this war.
It was noted in several Iraqui newspapers that President Bush never uses the word, war in his briefings. A linguist at Baghdad U. said it may be because the reverse of war is raw.
When several American and British servicemen were killed in a crash of a helicopter in Kuwait during the early fighting, ITI was the first to report that an Iraqui source said it was shot down by Iraqui aircraft batteries. He called it an initial triumph for the campaign Iraq calls Fight Yankee Infidels.
ITI, ever aware of the need to present both sides of a story, pursued the matter further and reported the version from the American media feeders who said that the helicopters had crashed because of mechanical failure.
An ITI correspondent, Keen Analyst noted that both President Bush and Saddam Hussein have invoked the almighty most frequently in interviews or when addressing the public. Mr Analyst, the analyst, a keen man with numbers, reported that in the fortnight of speeches by both men, including an interview by Hussein with Dan Rather on CBS, Hussein led Bush in references to the almighty by 37 to 35. Husseins almighty, of course, is Allah, while Bush serves God.
Sly Slick, ITIs reporter at the Pentagon went beyond the report that high government officials were livid about Turkeys refusal to allow American planes to fly over Turkey. He had his pencil ready and took down the aside by the American official that Turkey is just what its name implies; it is a Turkey. The high official later denied having made the comment but ITI stands by its reporter.
When Ari Fleischer said that the $30 million that would have gone to Turkey if it had allowed the flyover was no longer on the table, ITI learned that Bulgaria, Estonia and Eritrea were quick to offer their airspace for $30 million. El Salvadors offer is not being given any serious consideration for sure because it is further away from Iraq than the United States. They are among the countries receiving a bounty from the United States so ITI, ever in the interest of fairness, is calling the countries lined up with the United States both The Coalition of the Willing and The Coalition of the Billing.
A spat that broke out at a briefing went unreported in the American media. When a reporter used the term weapons of mass destruction in relation to the Americans overwhelming arsenal, he was reprimanded by the Allied spokesperson. She said, We speak only of Saddam Husseins weapons of mass destruction. We have cruise missiles and tomahawks.
In a somewhat similar high-level matter of semantics about the all-out attack on Baghdad the second night of the year, an American spokesman said it was inaccurate to describe it as a blitzkreig. As any idiot knows, blitzkrieg is a German word.
An aspect of the war often overlooked by most networks other than ITI is that in many ways this is a battle of the Republican Guards: Husseins Republican Guards vs. the U.S. Republican Guard, i.e. the Bush administration.
The information minister for Iraqs Kill Yankee Infidels campaign told ITI that there were conversations at the highest level which he could not reveal about the possibilities of disaffected American generals agreeing to end the war. This was hotly denied by the Allies.
Though ITI reporters prefer not to engage in pack journalism, one of its star correspondents, Ahmed Goldstein, was in the field with the New York Times and corroborated the Times report that Iraquis celebrated the arrival of the American troops in Safwan by tearing down huge photos of Saddam Hussein. The report went on to say that many others in the starving town just patted their stomachs and raised their hands begging for food while some chanted, Ameriki, Ameriki.
I have been told ITI reporters will continue to pursue their craft ever mindful of the dictum that The first casualty of war is the truth.
©2003 by Stan Isaacs. The Stan Isaacs caricature is ©2001 by Jim Hummel. The illustration is from IMSI's Master Clips Collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael, CA, 94901-5506, USA.
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