Read through archived FRONTLINE/World
conversations around this story, including responses from
Dear viewers/Web visitors,
Many of you have inquired about reporter
Sam Kiley and his background. For further information about
Kiley, please visit our online
interview with him. And for those of you concerned with
the impact of sanctions on Iraq, please view our Web section
on the debate
Tina Burr - Foster City, California
I was extremely impressed as well with Sam Kiley's reporting.
This piece has opened my eyes and I'm sure those of many
others regarding the oppressive and hideous conditions the
people of Iraq are subjected to. Sam Kiley's direct approach
with questions and his honest responses left his viewers
with a much bigger picture than had he taken the usual reporter's
style of long winded debating.I have much respect for this
reporter and look forward to future stories by him.
Mark - Westborough, Massachusetts
Thank you Frontline/World for a very powerful story. In
addition, these postings are stimulating both the rants
and the carefully considered. I do not know how the repression
of Saddam compares to repression in other parts of the World.
But Frontline/World is to be applauded for shining some
light on this mostly neglected topic. It would be interesting
to create a repression scale and grade the countries of
Eddie Curran - Mobile, Alabama
I turned the program on hoping to learn about the situation
in Iraq. Instead, I learned a lot about Sam Kiley, the reporter.
Why did the camera spend so much time on him, and not his
surroundings? Did the person whose arm he threatened to
break even understand English, and if not, was this merely
a tough guy threat meant for the viewers? As one of those
viewers, I already know that Iraq is repressive. I wish
that Kiley had interviewed more Iraqis about their lives,
rather than focusing on the beheadings which hardly seems
that surprising anyway. Sure, they would have lied and praised
Saddam, but viewers are smart enough to figure that out.
In the first Iraq war, NBC had the Scud Stud (can't remember
the guy's name.) This time around, PBS has the Baghdad Badass.
Reporter Sam Kiley responds:
Fair enough, though I'm not sure I'd want to be remembered
as a "Badass" (we say "Badarse" over here). I didn't know
when the camera was on me and when it was not. More in-depth
interviews with Iraqis would have been very difficult
to get. The beheadings was what we set out to investigate,
so of course we focused on them, and through this "conceit"
I think we revealed something about the nature of Iraq.
David Paul - Seattle, Washington
Sam Kiley's report from Baghdad was a disappoint. What did
we learn from it? That President Hussein is a bad man. That
there are, or may be, acts of horrible violence taking place.
That the government didn't want Kiley and his team snooping
around. In other words, not one thing that we didn't all
know before. I applaud Kiley for a good try, but if I were
a Front Line poducer, I would have killed the story. It
was a waste of viewers' time.
Sam Kiley had a great show on Iraq. The inspectors should
see his show, before they go in to inspect. Sam should have
the inspectors check out the rooms where the people were
What right do you or anyone other Americans including Pres.
Bush, have in determining the politics of a foreign country
you know absolutely nothing about. In Iraq, Pres. Bush is
known as the Devil in the eyes of the Iraqi people. Do they
have a right to say he should be removed from power so that
Americans can set up their own form of government? The answer
to both questions is an unequivocal "No."
St. Louis, Missouri
Good job Mr. Kiley.
After reading many of the other views here I observed
that most of the negative comments seem to want to point
to sanctions as being the root of Iraq's problem.
I can't help be think that they are forgetting who brought
these sanctions to Iraq.
It was -not- the USA. It was Saddam with his outrageous
Some of the commenting viewers appear to have a selective
perception to reality.
Ask this, who can put an end to sanctions? Saddam!
John Marsh - Houston, Texas
Lies, lies and lies once again. You became a propaganda
war machine in 1991 before the first US-Iraq war and now
you are doing the same again - spending your journalistic
resources for building up war support - a war that has already
killed 500,000 Iraqi children under 5 (UNICEF report 1999).
Your so-called unbiased objective journalism is as good
as the objective reports of BBC - sold out to corporate
warlords. Shame on you guys - expected much better from
PBS at least - or are you as scared as the Democrats who
can't stand up to the Republican hawkishness and sell out
(no wonder Democrats lost - I am more afraid of the loss
of free speech in this once great country).
Keith Allred - Ogden, Utah
I see no sense in continuing sanctions against Iraq. Appearantly
it has no effect on Saddam other than making him stronger
and it gives the average Iraqi citizen a focus for hatred.
I don't see where bombing them is going to help either.
I am all for deposing Saddam but I think it will be really
ugly and will just cause more unrest and terror attacks.
I see deceptions on both sides and know of no easy way to
deal with this explosive situation. Possibly a just God
Juanita Wood - Wanatchie, Washington
I am not impressed with the quality of reporting demonstrated
by this new show. In addition,the judgement demonstrated
by the producers in leaving out salient facts regarding
the 'Baghdad story' leads one to suspect the reporter and
producer's motives. I am disapointed by the subtle bias
revealed in the story. I expect more from a show with a
tag line indicating it is associated with Frontline. This
show was not in Frontline tradition. That tradition gives
me the information only. All the information. I will give
one example. The reporter was in the hospital asking questions
regarding the reason why the children were ill. His lack
of compassion was striking. He was more interested in drugs,
and the lack of them. Furthermore, the reporter quickly
glossed over the fact of contaminated water. Why didn't
the reporter mention that the infrastructure of Iraq was
destroyed in the Gulf war? Why didn't the reporter mention
that the US bombed non-military targets in violation of
the Geneva convention in the Gulf War? [This information
is in a UN report. A good reporter ought to know this information.]
Please do not argue that Saddam could have rebuilt the infrastructure
instead of palaces. Of course he could have! However, tyrants
do not act in the manner best suited to help the population.
This does not let the US off the hook. We played right into
the dictator's hands in 1991. Nearly half of the children
are ill with preventable disease (diarrhea from contaminated
water is one simple disease}. Educational institutions are
in ruins. Thus, the population is far less able to cope
with abstract ideas. The people are far more easily manipulated
and terrorized. I could go on and on. We have made it harder
for the Iraqi people to save themselves. I feel these premise's
support my argument. Lack of time and space prevents further
presentation of support for my argument at this time. This
will probably suffice anyway. Get it together! By the way;
who funds this new show? Who are the sponsors? Where is
the reporter from? What are his credentials? What other
stories has he written? Who does he write for?
Reporter Sam Kiley responds:
I have written a response on the children and the hospital
which is also posted here. I am sorry I appeared callous,
but I have seen a great deal of real famine and human
suffering - including the grotesque effects of sanctions
on Iraq in 1998 when, you rightly observe, children were
dying in criminal numbers.
I have no desire to serve Bush's
war agenda. There is a good film to be made and many articles
to write about the failures of US foreign policy in the
Middle East, the role of Big Oil and so on. But that doesn't
mean one should ignore what is going on Iraq.
My background? I'm 38, married,
two kids. I was on The Times for 13 years based in LA,
Nairobi, Johannesburg, and Jerusalem. I have covered conflicts
and humanitarian disasters all over Africa, the Balkans
and the Middle East and was stupid enough to get shot
and wounded in Africa in 1998.
PS - Oh, and I went to Oxford.
Pat Donnelly - Star, Idaho
I enjoyed the show; but was concerned about the overall
impression it may leave. Iraq is a bad place to live; but
how bad and compared to what other countries. In any country
where the leaders are not elected by the citizens, I don't
think you will find many people who will come forward to
speak against the regime in power. Hey, even in America
we are executing men and women; Texas executes a lot of
people. Let's compare Iraq to all the other countries in
the whole world in terms of number of executions, numbers
in prison, food calories per citizen, doctors per citizen,
clean water per citizen, oil reserves, nuclear weapons,
chemical weapons, biological weapons, farmland per person,
number of citizens, type of government, human rights abuses,
and etc. I think we should be more quantitative and look
at the whole earth. Based on the data, I am still trying
to figure out why Iraq is more of a threat than North Korea.
I bet you couldn't even get into North Korea to do a similar
James Gowin - Ohio
Concerning a US invasion of Iraq, I hope the Iraqi people
have a viable alternative to Saddam, otherwise we will be
stuck there for a long enough time for the love of democracy
to take root. Who knows how long that could take? Perhaps
their culture is not predisposed to democratic ideologies.
Also, did anyone else notice the family connections? Wife
and first cousin...etc.? That makes for some questionable
genetics, doesn't it? And how about Saddam's son getting
drunk and killing people at parties. Isn't drinking alcohol
forbidden in Islam? What about killing people, isn't that
If Saddam Hussein is this hypocritical in his own religious
convictions, he has no integrity. Why should he be believed
in anything else, especially in whether he is developing
weapons of mass destruction? Assuming the horror stories
that we have all heard about Saddam Hussein are true, What
is the alternative to regime change?
Costa Mesa, California
I am still in shock from the depth of despair the camera
showed me. Iraq must be freed from the terrorism that has
become a way of life for these people. I pray George Bush
can accomplish this mission.
Laura Betterton - Pelham, New York
I found the story on Iraq both fascinating and disturbing.
I think it only goes to show how much Saddam Hussein is
an insane dictator who has to be removed from power and
let the people of Iraq form a democracy.
Snaju Nath - Baltimore, Maryland
Your program was very much successful
in showing only the lies in Baghdad. The truth in Baghdad
was never show on this program. I have several friends who
are in US now whose families are still in Iraq and from
whom I have heard the truth. Your programs will be more
appreciated if you bring out the real truth. Thanks.
Nick Cockcroft, San Francisco, California
Watched this gripping piece last night. While I hate Saddam
as much as you do, I was in Amman 3 weeks ago and shared
a taxi with another woman, also from the Bay Area. She was
risking jail time by transporting chemotherapy treatments
to needy Iraqi patients in her luggage from the States.
Seems they haven't had any there since 1991. So apparently
contrary to your story not all medicine is available there
While Iraq is a repressive society, it is still a second-rate
country which poses no real threat to the U.S. We are reacting
aggressively to Iraq and Saddam precisely because we know
they no match for us. We didn't react to the USSR like this
and they HAD nuclear weapons. The Iraqi military was surrendering
to reporters during the Gulf war... Why have we shifted
our focus from Al Qaeda to Iraq? We should NOT have a conflict
with Iraq without the rest of the world supporting us. During
the presidential debates, Bush stated that he was not interested
in "nation building" but here we are!
Jesse Greene - Waco, Texas
I watched Truth and Lies in Baghdad last night and was extremely
impressed. I've always said Frontline is, by far, the best
investigative news program on television. Now, I'm convinced
Sam Kiley is the best investigative reporter. He represents
everything that makes Frontline great with his back-down
from no one, pull no punches, take no b.s. approach to journalism.
I've never seen a reporter so persistent or so adept at
pointing out discrepancies in the answers he receives. I've
certainly never seen a reporter with the guts to threaten
he'll break someone's arm if they push him. I hope to see
more of him on Frontline in the future. Keep up the good
I found Mr. Kiley rude and condescending and would suggest
his bravado be tested with a visit to Israel to expose the
realities of the dehumanization of the Palestinians. Let
us see if he will be embraced with open arms by Israel,
allowed to travel freely and roam and mix with these sorry
souls in the refugee camps and Arab towns. Let us see if
he and his camera will be allowed at the Border Patrols,
Pill Boxes or to witness what a collective curfew on an
entire village looks and feels like; WITH HIM INSIDE AND
LOCKED IN. Let us see if Mr. Kiley will show us the forcible
idleness imposed on these people with no school for the
children, no opportunity whatsoever and yes, let us see
if will point to the Israeli soldier and say; " if you butt
your rifle in my face one more time. I'll break your hand"!
Tina Burr - Foster City, California
Sam Kiley has done MANY reports regarding the Palestinian-Israel
conflict. I suggest you type in "Sam Kiley" in a net search.
You'll find a couple hundred links to various reports he
has written (and risked his life to cover, I might add!).
We're lucky there are those like Mr. Kiley willing to
cover stories from places that most of us wouldn't dream
of sending our worst enemies.
Lee Risley - Dayton, Ohio
Admittedly our intrepid (!) journalist was hamstrung by
the restrictions placed by the Iraqi government, but he
seemed bent on finding info about the women's executions
and showing how ridiculous it was to go along on the government's
sight-seeing tours for foreign journalists.
But what about those infants in
the hospital? A brusque "they're not starving, their (dumb?)
mothers just mixed baby formula with impure water." Why
would the mothers do that? Our journalist seems to have
his questions already posed and can't add to the list. Just
how common is impure water in Iraq these days? (Have they
repaired all the damage to the water system that was inflicted
by the airplanes in 1991?) Why don't the mothers simply
breast-feed? --I'll bet there is a reason and our journalist
should have gotten to the bottom of it.
Honest, I want to learn about Iraq,
and I think I did somewhat, but this Frontline piece could
in some ways be interpreted as a propaganda piece for the
Bush administration. Even under the restrictions imposed,
Kiley should have created a more meaningful story than the
one we saw last night.
Reporter Sam Kiley responds:
Your correspondence is quite right to pick up on what
might have appeared to have been a rather glib dismissal
of an important part of the Iraqi story - the issue of
the effects of sanctions. We were not making a documentary
on this subject, so we had to truncate our script. When
I said that the children were suffering as a result of
being fed baby formula made with contaminated water, I
did so because that is what the doctors on the scene said.
I did speak to the women, none of whom were malnourished.
They all said that they had enough to eat at home.
I have covered humanitarian disasters
all over the world, including several famines. When children
are starving, so are their mothers. If the children are
malnourished but the mothers healthy, then they are lacking
food for a medical reason (assuming there is no child
So, although Iraq's water purity
has greatly improved under the oil for food programme
and UN aid efforts, it is not perfect (and never has been).
The women in the hospital came from traditional Bedouin
communities who would not have access to purified city
water anyway. Unfortunately the Iraqi government includes
baby formula in its ration packs - which UNICEF is trying
to stop - with the result that many mothers give up breast-feeding.
They are not properly trained in how to give formula and
seldom boil the water used in its preparation - so the
children often get sick, and lose weight. Once in hospital
they quickly recover given the correct treatment.
It is a pity that this film could
be used by those in the Bush administration who are beating
the drums of war. I have my own severe reservations about
the US policy in the Middle East in general over the last
20 years and this administration's motives for attacking
Afghanistan and Iraq in particular. But that is another
film or another story. I also can't help it if Saddam
runs a vile and destructive dictatorship.
E. Benner - Princeton, IL
Why must we have our intelligence insulted by documentaries
on PBS such as the current one, "Truth and Lies In Baghdad"
which seem to support current right-wing Republican agenda?
Aren't at least three major US networks already saturated
with this nonsense? Kiley could have included more balance
in his report by reminding viewers that it was the US in
the first place who supplied this Iraqi tyrant with all
the arms and military support to carry out his abuses. Kiley
also seems to neglect to give adequate credit to the various
private humanitarian organizations which have been the most
responsible for helping with food and medicine for Iraqi
civilians. What happened to Frontline's more balanced, objective
Thank you for writing about our segment on Iraq, "Truth
and Lies in Baghdad."
As to correspondent Sam Kiley's
intentions, I refer you to our web interview with him
in which he says, "I have very strong reservations about
the whole American foreign policy in the Middle East.
You know, I'm not interested in feeding a war machine.
But one can't pull one's punches just because you think
that wrong-headed people are going to use your information.
I have mixed views about whether or not it's a good idea
[to invade Iraq]. Yes, it would be great for the people
of Iraq to get rid of Saddam. It'd also be nice to have
democracy in Saudi Arabia...But in a sense that's not
my problem. My problem is to try and do justice to the
Several previous FRONTLINE
documentaries, to which we link, have reported the by
now widely known fact that Western countries, including
the United States, have in the past allied themselves
with and armed Saddam Hussein. This is certainly a vivid
instance of "blowback".
I am from Iraq and I just want to say thank you so much
because for the first time on TV someone was able to say
the truth and the reality of what is happening. and yet
that is not all what the story is about, there is more and
more I lived 24 years of my life in Iraq and I know what
is going on very well.
thanks again that was great,
thank you so much,
It was a very sketchy & superficial report & just did not
give a clear picture. Obviously the Iraqis were highly suspicious
of camera touting foreign journalists. Their suspicions
have a basis since western media has time & again turned
truth on its head to pander to US/UK policy towards Iraq.
There was no evidence re Iraq developing WMD. The reporter
tried to sensationalize Saddam's record on human rights
& repression through following a few stories on public beheadings.
OK, the Iraqi people have a repressive leader. Does that
justify US invasion.
There is little basis for US claims of Saddam's development
of weapons of mass destruction. Read this transcript of
NPR's interview with former UN chief weapons inspector.
There are many other countries with highly repressive
regimes. Is the US going to take on each one of them.
This was one of the worst Frontline episodes I have seen:
The New York Times becomes The Sun. It was totally cheesy.
The idea of asking Iraqis anywhere in the Middle East how
they feel about Saddam, thus putting them at risk, was so
disturbing. There are many outstanding examples of British
TV journalism on PBS, But this was certainly not one of
them. Surely you can do better.
J. Hammad - Skillman, New Jersey
Sam Kiley's reportage was bold and refreshing. I hope you'll
have him do more stories for Frontline. Although the subject
matter was horrifying, I really enjoyed Mr. Kiley's style.
Riveting program. Saddam is a frightening man and I thank
Kiley for his bravery in exposing this story.
Dave Flook - London, Ontario, Canada
Hi, I just watched Truth and Lies and I was moved. Sam Kiley
and his crew did a fantastic job at revealing the corruption
and politics in Iraq. It is rare to find anything that truly
captivates you on television. This video has made me think.
Which I assume was the intention. Keep making good quality
Michael Wolff - San Diego, CA
Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. I could go down the street
and take pictures of homeless people and talk about how
the U.S. government executes its own citizens and how inmates
are raped in prison and how millions of women are brutalized
by their spouses, but would that be an accurate representation
of America? This was a demonization piece, pure and simple.
You ought to be ashamed of yourself. I've been to Iraq.
I know the truth of what's happening there. There are problems,
but every society has problems. Your piece was an obscenity.
It was propaganda designed to demonize the country on the
eve of war. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Oliver Herold - New York, New
Regarding Mr. Wolff's commentary...how do you compare
a dictator and WMD with American societal homelessness
and sodomy in prisons as a subject matter? U.S. government
executes it's own citizens...huh? you must be referring
to capital punishment. What is your point?
Okri Edward - Cliffside Park, New Jersey
Did I hear correctly? Did Sam Kiley say to an Iraqi on Camera,
during the visit to the factory that quote: "...If you touch
me, I'll break your arm...". Is this guy a thug? Or better
yet an enforcer for the 'Soprano family'. It is unbelievable;
Sam Kiley sets out to show Iraqi "bad behavior" but only
end's up showing the world his 'inferior' up bringing.
Ron Campbell - Winnipeg, Manitoba,
After watching Sam Kiley's incisive report from Iraq and
the repression there, reading the interview with him on
this site, and then considering the Bush policy of 'regime
change', I still cannot see a moral justification for a
U.S.-British invasion under the rules of the current world
order, which for centuries now has asserted the inviolable
sovereignty of the nation state as long as it respects that
of other nation states. Iraq has been keeping the peace
and staying within its own borders now for 11 years since
its defeat in the Gulf War. It is not militarily capable
of doing damage and a good part of its territory -- the
'no-fly zone' -- has been firmly under U.S.-British control
for many years. The country is basically impotent militarily,
unlike Germany pre-1939, which by that year had already
begun invading and annexing its neighbors contrary to the
Versailles Treaty, while continuing to build a huge war
machine. If that were the case with Iraq, there would indeed
be justification for a pre-emptive Revolution is preferable
to war in such cases, and the Kurds of Iraq tried that once
in the '90s, after the U.S. promised to back them. The Americans
reneged on that pledge and left the Kurds twisting in the
wind -- or dying in Saddam's lethal gas attacks. The problem
now for Bush is that he has made bringing down Saddam the
centerpiece of his current foreign policy, and if he does
not accomplish that before the November 2004 presidential
vote, he's going to lose face and appear like a whipped
commander-in-chief. In that respect, he's locked himself
in politically and is thus bound to attack Iraq. That's
unfortunate, to say the least.
Terry Sherman - Burlington, Washington
I want to thank you people, and of course, this awesome
reporter, for an education on a very, very tough subject.
My questions about Iraq have been answered as well as they
can be I'm sure. However, there is one question that remains
in my mind after viewing this. From what I can see, The
people of Iraq are starving for knowledge, like any human
being. Their minds are not allowed free thought, and in
their hearts, they know this. FEAR for one's life and family
is ever-present. SO.... How does this change without a war?
Without a revolution? I don't want to hear any bleeding-heart
crap. I just want to know the bottom line. And so do the
people of Iraq.
What was the point of your story? We all know that Saddam
is a despicable character. The CIA installed him in 1958
and treated him as a valued ally until the Gulf War. You've
presented nothing new in your report. What you failed to
do is show what 800 tons of depleted uranium has done to
Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. You also failed to show what
it has done to over 200,000 American troops that fought
in the Gulf War... as well as the 10,000 who have died due
to Uranium poisoning since serving their country.
Is the fact that Saddam is a bad
apple reason enough to go back into Iraq and murder an entire
people to get to someone who will prove as elusive as Osama?
Is it worth poisoning the entire country with countless
tons of additional U-238 (depleted uranium) under the guise
of eliminating someone who is no threat to his neighbors...
let alone the US? Did you once mention in your program that
this war is all about oil? Do you care?
It's sad that you have become a
mouthpiece for the neo conservatives led by chicken hawks
who are just itching to take over the entire middle east
so some Americans can fuel their grotesque SUV's with their
little tattered American Flags tied to their antennas. Shame
on you, PBS. You had a chance to show Americans that this
war is an ill conceived idea which is guaranteed to produce
unlimited anti-American hatred... and you have chosen to
cloud the issue with your canard about the tyrant we installed
in Baghdad going bad. You have lost your way and have become
a pathetic excuse for objective journalism.
Thank you for writing about our segment on Iraq, "Truth
and Lies in Baghdad."
The point of our story is that
Saddam Hussein is a "despicable character," as you say,
and that his regime has terrorized the Iraqi people. But
since, as you mention, many people already know that,
we focused our story on how difficult it is for Western
reporters to do their job in Iraq, when they are constantly
"minded" by the government, intimidated, censored and
expelled. We think that is a story worth telling.
As reporter Sam Kiley tells us
in his web interview, "I'm not interested in feeding a
war machine. But one can't pull one's punches just because
you think that wrong-headed people are going to use your
information." There are many people who despise Saddam
Hussein, but still oppose a unilateral U.S. invasion of
There does seem to be growing support
for sending United Nations weapons inspectors back into
Iraq, following the unanimous UN Security Council vote
and endorsement by the Arab League.
Pedro - San Francisco, CA
It is a sad state of affairs when this week's South Park
episode captures the essence of the latest USA-Iraq standoff
better than a Frontline documentary.
Sam Kiley's "Truth and Lies in Baghdad" is biased and
irrelevant. More than 500 thousand children have died in
Iraq because of common bacteria found in contaminated water.
The US is directly responsible for this. First they bombed
water purification systems during the Gulf War and later
they banned Iraq from importing chlorine to sterilize the
water. Yet this detail fails to capture the reporter's attention
even as he is confronted with sick children whose mothers
have no access to clean water.
Instead, he prefers to dwell on the "beheadings". Never
mind that Iraq is not the only country in the world that
executes its citizens, including the USA. Never mind that
the USA has strongly supported murderous regimes, in no
way different from Saddam's, in the past. We now know what
side of the Propaganda War Mr. Kiley has chosen.
Donald Swearingen - San Francisco,
I just finished watching "Iraq, Truth and Lies in Baghdad".
It would seem that, indeed, public executions by beheading
have been carried out in Iraq. And yes, this is a ghastly
practice (as are many of the punishments of Islamic law,
as reported in the Western press). The question is, is this
a justification for invading Iraq, or not?
Just as a check, I went to the Google
search engine on the Internet and entered "Public Executions
Saudi Arabia". I received over 9,000 responses. Among the
most prominent was the Amnesty International Web Site, which
informed me that: "Two people will probably be executed
in Saudi Arabia the week you read this document, if the
rate of recorded executions in 1999 continues. Most of those
who are executed are beheaded in public."
"Saudi Arabia has one of the highest
rates of executions in the world in both absolute numbers
and per capita. The death penalty applies to a wide range
of non-violent activities such as apostasy and åwitchcraft',
åsexual offences', acts deemed to amount to åcorruption
on earth', and crimes such as drug dealing."
So, it would seem that one of our
closest "allies" in the Middle East is among the world's
greatest practitioners of intimidation by public decapitation.
But none among our "leaders" is shouting at the top of his
lungs that we should bring down the Saudi regime, nor has
any suggested that the Saudis are "evil".
All of which leads me to wonder
just whose propaganda campaign PBS and, regrettably, my
local PBS affiliate KQED, are supporting?
The reporter seems to discredit the malnutrition among children,
suggesting it is because the mothers are using infant formula
and are unaware of how to prepare it properly. During the
1990-1992 Gulf War, the infrastructure of services, including
water, was hit. The water infrastructure has not been rebuilt;
hence, the lack of potable water, even for infant formulas.
This issue was not given the priority or clarity it deserved.
My hat is off to Sam Kiley. Bravery
and class! I'm a Gulf War Vet, and found myself in a US
Army military intelligence platoon nestled amongst the tanks
of the third armored cavalry regiment in Iraq, where we
stopped roughly 30 km from Basra, and were told to go back.
I understand why we couldn't do what we should have, but
now I hope that Mr. Kiley has given enough people of conscience
ample reason to support President Bush's and PM Blair's
efforts to get rid of this atrocity once and for all. At
the time we had Republic Guard prisoners who were grateful
to be rescued by us, and told us stories of how saddam's
(small s) henchmen would assure good Old Glory-burning turnouts.
They would go building to building telling ALL residents
that, for instance, at 2:00 p.m. there will be an anti-American
protest and all must attend. While the protest was underway,
they would go around the buildings to make sure nobody remained...if
someone was, they would execute all tenants to show surviving
neighbors that burn. What's more, I lived a number of years
in the Czech Republic, and I can't count the stories from
a lovely people of what it is like to live under a repressive
regime. Why don't we have a right to set the Iraqis free?
Why won't the Europeans offer us full backing?. Short memories?
No backbones? Shame on the Europeans (save the Brits). We're
talking about doing good, freeing peoples and setting precedents
more than immediate threats to national security. As we
knew over two hundred years ago that united we stand, divided
we fall, the same context might well apply to the modern
global community. Innocent people will continue to be slaughtered
if we don't take a common moral stand. Europeans not backing
us is a slap in the face and a cold shoulder towards laying
foundations to human rights. Just like Yugoslavia, they
choose to criticize us but yet turn around and demand human
rights around the world while doing squat. Not all countries,
but they know who they are (ex. this means you, FRANCE!)...Most
perplexing is the Russian mentality that experiences such
horror just two weeks ago, yet will not back us now...don't
they understand that all their business agreements will
work better after saddam's in hell???
Manuel Vargas - Burleson, Texas
Frontline continues to impress me. TRUTH AND LIES IN BAGHDAD
is a short, but powerful piece on the timebomb that is Iraq.
One of the most interesting points I heard made from the
journalist was regarding the way he felt. He had almost
every single, what I believe to be, human right violated
during his "stay" in Iraq. When he left, he spoke of looking
over his shoulder for a few days afterward. As he said,
the people of Iraq must live in a constant state of oppression
fueled by propaganda and fear. I am not politically active,
nor will I ever be. However, I do not understand the individuals
in this country, or others, that do not recognize Saddam
is slightly further than left field and simply must be removed
from power, forcefully if necessary. "Disarming" him only
provides the feeling of temporary security; removing him
will free a people. Nice work Frontline.
I watched the show- and how long has Frontline been part
of the propaganda machine of the Bush administration? This
so-called "journalism" is appalling. If ever there was a
conclusion in search of support, this was it. Uninformative,
statements of dubious truth value (the cause of sick babies),
so much made of the inconveniences of the annoying "journalist"
host, my God... The cost of sanctions against Iraq has been
well-documented; but since this doesn't fit with the preconceived
conclusion, this also is dismissed. And possible execution
of innocent persons in Iraq? Thank God such a thing would
never happen in the good old US of A! Let's get the bombs
flying! I'll never trust Frontline again...
Kim Corey - Hampden, Maine
If I didn't know better I would have thought that the Muslim
woman in Thursday night's "World Frontline" agreed with
her husband that beheading prostates in the street in Baghdad
was okay. In fact she may have but I don't think that the
film clip reflected this conclusively and I'll tell you
why. Having spent two and half years in Japan as an English
teacher in both rural and large cities I know that most
women do not speak English or else will certainly not try
to use the little they know if their husbands are present(or
even without their husbands-lacking confidence). The husbands
always have priority when it comes to having the chance
to speak to English speakers and do not see it as important
for the wives to speak(after all what will they do with
what they learn, they only have to make three meals and
all the rest). I also spent a month in Egypt and became
frighteningly aware of just how inaccessible women are at
Thomas Parsons - Dripping Springs,
We heard a lot about supposed lies in Iraq, but nothing
about the monstrous propaganda machine of the U.S. Knowing
our government has lied in the past (the baby incubator
incident) and supports covert ops and disinformation. campaigns,
how are we intelligently not to question the veracity of
Mr. Kiley's entire documentary?
I am sure that George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick
Cheney highly approve of this program, if they didn't produce
it themselves. I still feel that bombing a city of five
million people to get at one man, or a relative handful
of his followers, is not right. The Gulf War, Serbia, and
Afghanistan have proved that smart bombs are not smart.
We know that Cruise missiles can be knocked off course by
anti-aircraft fire - of which we saw a lot in the Gulf.
War. I knew Iraqi students many years ago when I was in
school. Iraqi people are not abstractions to me. Let the
CIA deal with the problem - they are very good at taking
out leaders the USA doesn't like. Don't bomb the Iraqi people!!
Siobhan Hansen - New York, New
The story of one journalist's journey inside Iraq. Is just
that. It falls far short of an investigative report uncovering
the truth about Saddam's weapons programs or the impact
of UN sanctions on Iraqi civilians. He does provide a lot
of circumstantial evidence of human rights violations by
the Iraqi regime, which has been well established by human
rights groups like Amnesty International for many years.
In fact long before it was convenient for President Bush
to use the human rights issue in Iraq as a propaganda tool.
To sell this story as an unbiased expose of the Iraqi regime,
is shameful. It is way below the level of quality reporting
that I have always expected from PBS and Frontline.
Bob - Rochester, New York
Hard to tell, as long as Saddam continues to hide lie and
deceive. In the end, It is he who hurts Iraq. Your program
has finally provided solid evidence that substantiates the
White House's accusations. This is excellent, journalism,
with a relentless search for the truth. A terrific, horrific
look inside Iraq.
Your story on Iraq had me scared and fearful for the lives
of those involved in the filming and the interviews with
the people. This is purely a primitive country. your reporters
are very brave souls. Thank you.
Brooklyn, New York
That was not a reporter you filmed in Iraq he arrived with
a biased point and was out to prove his point that Iraq
is a criminal nation and deserves to be destroyed again.
it was as if a foreign journalist arrived in the us and
asked officials about the numerous police killings of young
black men or asked to interview some of the hundreds of
political prisoners in us prisons (see amnesty intl.)This
was not a example of journalism but u.s. gov't propaganda.
I'm disappointed in frontline.
Don Zook-Slagel, Waldoboro, Maine
The reporter's point of view, his general attitude to superiority
give me pause. Obviously, he is not beholden to Iraq, but
given his machismo and his chutzpah, I wonder to whom he
is beholden.. In an era when everything smells of something
else, I too have a right to be suspicious. I would appreciate
knowing the purpose behind broadcasting something we already
Thank you for writing about our segment on Iraq, "Truth
and Lies in Baghdad."
Reporter Sam Kiley is beholden
to us, the editors of FRONTLINE/World. Whether
you like his aggressive and sometimes sarcastic style
of reporting seems to be, in part, a matter of taste.
We did the story, in large part, to reveal the severe
difficulties of reporting from inside Iraq.
New York, New York
I was watching the program on Iraq. I thought it gave me
a lot more insight into this part of the world. I feel very
badly for the people of Iraq. They are intelligent people
and given the murderous control of Saddam, these people
are forced to live in fear. I was horrified by the stories
of the beheading. The part of the story on Uday and the
Fedayeen were so frightening. When the training portion
came on. I had to turn away. I was getting ill just seeing
what pure evil is like. These people are truly animals and
have a true evil soul. The sanctions are a part of controlling
the Evil one (Saddam). Oil for food program should be working
for the people. This has been taken by Saddam. His people
suffer by his actions not by the US. I believe the sanctions
should remain, however after periods of time. They should
be reviewed and eventually less restraining on the people
Gary Hall - Los Angeles, California
RE: Are sanctions helping or hurting Iraq?
Of course they are hurting Iraq.
And the people of Iraq. Not a very thought provoking question.
However, maybe we should talk about
how much it is hurting the people of IAA, or if the sanctions
are having the desired effect on the leadership of Iraq.
On the effect on the people. In
your show, it is evident that there is disagreement among
even the doctors as to whether there is a shortage of medicine.
It is interesting to ponder why in 1998, the past administration
and human rights groups touted a number that stated that
the sanctions had caused the deaths of 500,000 children.
Today, 4 years later, that same number is used. Was there
a change in the estimate? Would the number be even higher
without sanctions, if Saddam were left to do his dirty laundry.
Without sanctions and the fear of outside intervention,
he may have had all the children of certain ethnic groups
cleansed by now.
I do not know the answer to these
questions. They do need to be addressed, however.
Joe Lapsley - Chicago, Illinois
According to the accounts I have heard, your story omitted
the effects of sanctions as well as the U.S. bombing of
the water supply system. I would like to see that reported
debate Kathy Kelley of Voices in The Wilderness (Vitw.org)
She has spent a long time in Iraq since the Gulf war and
compared to her accounts your show sounded like U.S. propaganda.