Chin, of the 3rd battalion, 4th Marines regiment, says he was just following orders in the minutes before the statue was pulled to the ground in a joint effort by jubilant Iraqis and U.S. troops. “I was just trying my best to get the chain around his neck and put the flag on his head,” Chin told ABCNEWS’ Good Morning America. “Pretty much at the moment I was just doing what I was told to do by my commanding officer,” he said.
The American flag that briefly covered the face on a Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad this week came from a Marine from Laconia, N.H. Marine Lt. Tim McLaughlin was working in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and was given the flag that day. He carried it with him to Iraq, and it became part of history on Wednesday when McLaughlin sat atop his tank and watched as a fellow Marine scaled the statue and draped the flag over its head.
“Do you think Saddam Hussein bears any responsibility for the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, or does he bear no responsibility?” If Yes: “Does he bear all of the responsibility, or most of the responsibility, or some of the responsibility, or hardly any responsibility for the September 11th attacks?”
None All Most Some Hardly Any Don’t Know 22% 6% 11% 42% 3% 16%
“Do you think Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th terrorist attacks, or not?”
Yes, Involved No, Not Involved No Opinion 3/03 51% 41% 8% 8/02 53% 34% 13%
“Do you think Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?”
Yes No Don’t Know 3/03 45% 40% 15% 2/03 42% 42% 16% 9/02 51% 33% 16%
“As far as you know, how many of the September 11th terrorist hijackers were Iraqi citizens: most of them, some of them, just one, or none?”
Most of them 21% Some of them 23% Just one 6% None 17% Don’t know 33%
I am happy today for the Iraqi people, but I am sad for us Americans. These opinions and these photos will circulate for a long time and they will show to the world that doesn’t have a good opnion of the US already that Americans reacted to September 11 by attacking Iraq. The Arab equivalent of FoxNews will make sure to stereotype Americans as we stereotype the French today. This is only a small step in the PR and diplomacy disaster that is the Bush administration. I hope for our sake and others’ that they do better, much better. Time alone will tell.
Why couldn’t the Marines let the Iraqi people take down the statue? After all, the Iraqis wanted to! Imagine if US soldiers stationed in West Germany had taken down the Berlin Wall instead of ordinary Germans. Would the effect have been the same?