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Fulton Files

Iraq and a Hard Place



This war sucks! This war rocks! No, it’s neither. This war is a roller-coaster ride that only the most foolhardy would attempt to dispense any current assessment on.

Are the Iraqi people crimson as hell at the sight of American tanks in Baghdad and just jumping at the chance to piss on the corpse of a U.S. Marine? Or are they simply conserving their energy for a later date, when they can shower our troops with flowers and candy once Saddam’s head is firmly on a stick?

Should you care that this column follows this conflict around like a cloud on a leash? No one’s forcing you to read. But care in general? Yes, you should. If only we could find a focus for our concerns. That’s why Fulton Files gives you this handy guide for the perplexed. No sage wisdom here. Just a few bits and pieces you might find amusing:

Who was first to use chemical weapons on the Iraqi people? The British, who in 1920 gassed Shiites and a few Sunnis who rebelled against the Crown’s installment of an Iraqi monarchy with Arab King Faisal I. The British also quashed the rebellion with brutal air strikes.

Tell us an Iraqi joke. “There are forty-two million Iraqis. Twenty-one million people and twenty-one million pictures of Saddam.” The depiction and veneration of human figures, by the way, is strictly prohibited by Islam.

Did Saddam commission the creation of a Qur’an written in blood? Yup. That, too, is a violation of Islamic tenets, which deem blood to be “unclean.”

What’s that wacky script on the Iraqi flag? It’s Arabic for “Allah Akbar,” or “God is Great.” It was placed on the flag shortly before the 1991 Gulf War, in an attempt to garner the support of Iraq’s Arab neighbors in the face of the coalition’s coming onslaught.

Are anti-war celebrities like Martin Sheen, Janeane Garofalo and Susan Sarandon up in the night? Why ask when you can crack open a few books and figure the world out for yourself? If Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones can spend precious time suing a tabloid over pilfered wedding photos while eating courtside mints off silver trays, then complain about how a million dollars in damages isn’t worth a piss in their bank accounts, then what do celebrities know? If the very people fighting this war—the working-class and minorities—aren’t overly concerned, why listen to the rich? Because poor people are stupid? How insulting. Eat the rich. Now. Celebrities included.

Are the Dixie Chicks traitors to their country? Anyone who makes such execrable music no doubt hates the American public. But does that justify death threats they’ve received from so-called patriots?

Is Iraqi information minister Muhammad Sa’id al-Sahhaf on drugs or what? Not at all. There’s an inverse logic to government rhetoric. It’s no different than past American presidents telling us that we’re “winning” the War on Drugs.

Whose side is God on? Silly question. God is everyone’s best bud, and invoking God’s name reveals more about the person invoking it than it does about God. Take your pick: 1. “Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.” —President George W. Bush; 2. “This decision to invade Kuwait we received almost ready-made from God.” —Saddam Hussein; 3. “I believe that God will not hold men and women in uniform responsible as agents of their governments in carrying forward that which they are legally obligated to do.” —LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley; 4. “The words fill my head/And fall to the floor/If God’s on our side/He’ll stop the next war.” —Bob Dylan. Choose your camp wisely.