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« Bill Moyers Rewind: Fooling With Words (1999) | Main | The Controversy Over Wright »

Leila Fadel Responds...


Special thanks, again, to Leila Fadel for taking time during her break to answer questions.

Again, to read more from Leila Fadel and her colleagues, visit her "Baghdad Observer" blog and Iraqi journalists' "Inside Iraq" blog

Please note that the views and opinions expressed by Ms. Fadel are not necessarily the views and opinions held by Bill Moyers or BILL MOYERS JOURNAL.


Apparently there are 3 or 4 wars going on all at once. My understanding is that the main conflict is between the Shia and the Sunni, do you agree? The Maliki government is Shia and Muqtada al-Sadr is also Shia, so why are they fighting? You would think that they should be working together against their common enemy, the Sunni. I know al-Sadr wants the American troops out now, does he have any other differences with Maliki?
Who is the leader of the Sunnis in Iraq? I never hear about their leaders. Why?

Posted by: Don D. Davis

Thank you for the question. I actually think the biggest conflict right now is an intra-Shiite battle for power. Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is a Shiite prime minister from the Dawa Party and he is closely allied with another Shiite party that was fostered in Iran called the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. The government began an offensive in Basra that many believe is connected to the provincial elections in the south of Iraq. A provincial powers law passed through the presidency council in Baghdad days before the offensive by Maliki began in the south. Many believe it was a preemptive strike against the party to weaken their popularity and power prior to the elections. While the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq is the most powerful political party in Iraq, with the vice president posting and most of the governor postings in the south, they are not as popular as the Sadr movement. By undercutting the Sadr movement prior to the elections in October they don’t risk losing their power.

Many Sunni politicians feel more confident in Maliki now that he has taken on the Shiite militia known for assassinations of Sunnis. Sunnis do not have one leader in Iraq and generally feel that Sunnis who are in the government do not represent them.


I teach high school government. A young lady in my class responded to a criticism of the war by stating, "Sure it's hell, but they are a lot better off than with Saddam. I pretty sure that most Iraqis would prefer this to how it was before we took him out."
How does one respond to this?
Posted by: Eric

A lot of Iraqis are just very tired. Unfortunately five years into the war many look back to Saddam’s time as hell, but a preferable evil to the current situation. Some say they would rather return to Saddam’s time, an evil they understood, where they could at least push their daughter down the street in a stroller with no fear or go out with their family at night. Of course others think the price is worth the pain they have suffered through. Saddam murdered thousands of people.

My question is, you mentioned when hiring local people you ask them if they are Shia or Sunni which is understandable and necessary. How do the locals, particularly the insurgents, identify individuals as Shia or Sunni? How do they know who to attack in a mixed neighborhood? How do the American soldiers differentiate? Thank you.
Posted by: R. Palmer

There is no physical distinction between a Sunni or Shiite Arab. Sunni and Shiites are both Muslims from different sects. But in the current climate there are certain ways to tell the difference. Most Shiite men where silver rings with stones engraved with prayers or the names of the family of the prophet Mohammed. You can also tell by accents, most Shiites are originally from the south of Iraq and say things a little bit differently. Often Shiites will identify themselves by using certain words like, “Mowlai,” my master, or referring to the revered Shiite figure Hussein, the grandson of the prophet.

The country is generally divided by sect and ethnicity and you can usually tell a Sunni or Shiite from one another by their tribe or hometown. For example most people from the Dulaim tribe are Sunni. If a person is from the western Anbar province they are most likely Sunni, if they are from Najaf they are most likely Shiite. In Baghdad the capital has generally segregated into Shiite or Sunni enclaves and you can tell a person’s sect from their neighborhood. Most Iraqis carry their real ID as well as a fake ID that identifies them with a name and tribe more typical of the other sect. This way they can show the appropriate ID in the appropriate neighborhood.


Leila indicated Iran felt it might be able to handle the security vacuum were the U.S. to leave Iraq. Would Iraqi's accept Iran stepping in? Would they see them as a foreign occupying force? Or would Iraqi's be more willing to accept Iran's role as 'peace-keepers' in Iraq? I would love to see the U.N. and State Dept. and Iran work out a peace agreement like this if there was any possibility of success.
Posted by: Eric Likness

Iraqis are generally hostile towards foreign influence inside Iraq. Most Iraqis hate how much influence Iran has inside Iraq and would resent Iran stepping into the U.S. shoes. They see their government as both a puppet of the United States and Iran. One Iraqi official told me that Iraq was like a home with no fence and anybody could come in.
I think Iraqis would be more receptive to a neutral force that is not the U.S. or Iran to step in as peacekeepers. They believe that Iran has its own motives to stay inside Iraq and those motives do not mesh with their own interests of a strong, stable government.


My question is this. The Sunni and Shia have had this long running religious dispute which often times turns deadly. Have there been times and ways when they have been able to get along and not try to subjugate each other? What were the essential elements for them to live in peace?

Posted by: Blair Fridgen

Prior to 2003 Shiites and Sunnis did generally get along. Most families and tribes in Iraq are intermarried. Saddam Hussein was a Sunni and he killed thousands of Shiites and Kurds but he also killed and arrested Sunnis who went against his rule. The Sunni ruler was secular and killed anyone who threatened his rule and under his leadership talk of being Shiite or Sunni was forbidden. Since the U.S. invasion the split between the sects widened. Sunni insurgent groups who wanted to resist the U.S. occupation attacked Shiites as collaborators. Later in the war Shiites began to take revenge against Sunnis for those attacks. The attacks and the revenge are a cycle that keeps the fighting going. I think for people to get along they need a stable and accepted government, they need to feel that their government speaks for them and they are being heard. Right now they don’t have that.


Can you talk a bit about how how the extent to which Americans--reporters, military--have any facility with Arabic and how that affects both the reporting and the fighting?
Posted by: Noel Morgan

Recently more reporters and U.S. military and state department officials speak Arabic. It’s not many, but in the last year there has been a small increase over the past.

Currently at least four members of the western press corps speak Arabic and the U.S. ambassador and his spokeswoman both speak Arabic. Being able to speak the language is beneficial in so many ways. Cutting out the middle man in a conversation creates trust and a direct relationship that is hard to foster when you have to speak through a translator. I ran into a soldier in Sadr City who works in the civil affairs office and speaks Arabic. Because of his language officials in Sadr City who are generally suspicious of Americans he fostered relationships with a series of local officials. Very soon he will be leaving and the men who trusted him enough to speak to him and feed him tips said they only trust him and will not speak to anyone else.

As a reporter I speak conversational Arabic and can listen to the background noise of Iraq. I can sit in a funeral, a grocery store or a salon and just listen to people, I can read signs on the streets. All of this helps give me a more complete picture of what is happening in Iraq.


Ms. Fadel, have you had any opportunities to talk directly with any of the groups who are (or were) fighting against the US occupation? I would like to see footage (with translation) of what the resistance fighters believe: all points of perspective, please.
I can't remember ever hearing any interview of these people, either from the mainstream media or the progressive media. Is it too dangerous? There always are intermediaries who can act as go-betweens. Why do we not get to see and hear them directly?
Robert May
Hillsboro, Oregon
Posted by: Robert May

My organization has interviewed both Sunni and Shiite militants to get their perspective on why they fight the United States. In the last year our focus has been on the Shiite Mahdi Army. The Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, does not want Iraq to be an occupied nation and does not believe that the Iraqi government is a legitimate government with a foreign force still in Iraq. They’re goal is to ultimately push the United States military out of Iraqi land.

With Sunni groups such as the Islamic Army and 1920 Revolution Brigade, both of which now have many members inside the U.S.-backed Sunni militias, they feel the same way. Many of the members of these groups lost their government and military jobs when Baathists, members of Saddam’s party, were purged from the government. In turn many decided to fight and they allied themselves with Al Qaida in Iraq. They wanted the United States out and to restore power to the Sunnis. In the past nine months to a year the United States has negotiated with many of the Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups and brought some of their members into these militias known as Awakening groups or Sons of Iraq. It is a risky policy but U.S. officials say they needed to take risks to make progress.


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Comments

Great interview. It wasn't just "after" the invasion that so many members of Saddam's regime joined al Qaeda or allied with them but many likely did pre invasion as I've tediously documented.

Greetings Bill. I wish to ask you some pointed questions about your segment on Expertology, which aired on May 2nd in my city, Oklahoma City, OK. First, "Would you consider interviewing just a "normal" person like myself, since I am not an expert and yet I am right about a lot of things, again, not like the Experts discussed?"
My salary from the USPS isn't big so I would not be distressed if I had to fly there by SouthWest Airline's regular couch, er..coach rates. In fact, my salary continues to get smaller all the time, every time the USPS creatively uses Experts to reduce it. I just wish they'd reduced the workload at the same time!
I really do believe I do have an important viewpoint on just about any subject you might care to interview on, such as poetry, worker's rights to not have rights, FMLA, Why the media don't know about Americans, what American people really want to watch, and what they would love to see disappear! You could quiz me on Science, such as why the National Institute of Science still supports the current definition of Gravity, instead of caving into the notion that they really don't know exactly what it is, since if they did, they might have solved Einstein's "blindspot" on the unified Theory or String theory or almost any distance theories, since all seem to have their degrees of inaccuracy. Perhaps religion would be something to discuss. I do have one, and since Rev. Wright has one too, it might be nice to compare the two and see if they have common ground. Of course, I am no expert, but doesn't it seem like we have a lot of discussion over things that don't matter much? And what about global warming/cooling? Why
doesn't someone just create a super cheap fuel for vehicles that move? Could it be that magnetism could be the wave of the future? Have you seen the photo of that UFO over the powerlines in California?
Wonder what Rosie McDonald is doing tonight... Just call me and I will show up with answers you never expected! 'cause, I'm no expert...Gregor Smith OKC
405-650-5101

Leila,
Why do your fellow press members continue to mislead their audiences about Saddam's links to al Qaeda?

For the first time I was disappointed with Bill Moyer's Journal. Rev. Wright's comments will only continue to inflame racial prejudice;moreover, the whole program seemed to underscore the notion that religion ought to play a role in elections. Mr Moyers participated in this folly by volunteering his own ministerial credentials. I found the whole program unfortunate in this regard in also in the regard that it did Mr Obama a disservice.

Don't let anyone tell you that your tax money paid for that Jeremiah Wright interview whether you liked it or not. So little federal tax money is flowing to PBS that it could easily survive a complete cut-off only slightly altered. The important thing the government provides for are the commercial limits.
I admit PBS is only marginally responsive to us citizen donors, but that is subject to change via your activism and involvement. When they show national parks and the Lincoln Memorial statue in Washington, and then the PBS logo, saying,"This belongs to you," they are voicing the potential miracle of a humane commons we should not ignore. When you watch Moyers' Journal or write your words here, or even read the threatening words of our ignorant and fearful friends you are doing something meaningful and patriotic. Please don't let it end. Free expression and association for all, forever!

I thank Bill Moyers and Reverend Wright for their courageous efforts to embody and act as spiritual warriors for the good of all. We as Americans have unaware of an immense amount of activities (especially after our ascendency to power after WWII) that have been legitimized as anticommunism and (now) antiterrorism, but which have simply allowed the unbridled use of political, police, military, economic forces to guarantee the domination of the will of highly profitting special interests. These actions of our nation have brought great sufferring to a multitude of people around the world. All Americans who can bring themselves to look in this "mirror" (such as detailed in the nonpolemical book State Terrorism and the United States) should be given the opportunity to do so in order to actively conceive of and participate in healing the wounds inflicted by our actions. These opportunities can include Reverend Wright's and other religious/spiritual teachings; Bill Moyers's Journal and other/various media presentations (preferably, of course, interactive); incorporation into mainstream history teachings; and truth and reconciliation hearings (to help heal the sufferring hearts and minds of the whole world). Thankyou for this opportunity to write these words in this forum.

Every voter should take time to hear Rev. Wright's entire sermon, then listen to Bill Moyer's entire interview. (Already sound bytes from the interview are being taken out of context--distorted--to smear Rev. Wright.) Selecting a few words apart from their context then twisting the meaning is slander and should be treated as such.

I apologize to Leila Fadel for invading your answer space, but this seems the most civil and sane page on the blog tonight amid the fearful and the compensated retorts against an honest informational interview. This is the way I think things are: They are so depraved and so foregone that the angel of death can't leave us (U.S.) alone. In other words it matters little who cooks this rotten kettle of fish: Hillary, Barack or even wiley old John.

Bill Moyers has proven a master of controlling a guiding subtext. His catalog of American mythology is encyclopaedic in that he can resurrect a poignant piece to convey the possibility of dissenting opinion across dimly recalled decades. His backtrack to a 1988 interview with E.L. Doctorow (lately of NYU) broadens and enriches the meaningful fragments of our discussion about Jeremiah Wright's religious free speech, its place in national myth making, and its necessity as defensive critique.

Doctorow stated that in 1988 the door on dissent as literature and art had already closed, that expression had become introspective and (my favorite argument) harmlessly phenomenological.(not verbatim, but I inducted this as a core idea of what he meant). He also called critics intolerant of divergence from propagandistic mis-education, and actually incapable of understanding the benevolent intent of progressive writers.
People are mortal, and an inevitable changing of the guard occurs with attendant changes in prevalent philosophy and point of view, but when Moyers and Doctorow agree that our people are becoming sheep after forgetting our traditions of healthy class conflict, they suggest that something sinister is afoot in (1988/2008) public life.

Doctorow says the writer records and interprets themes but has little direct effect on political outcomes. "This is what I see: This is what I feel: This is the way I think things are." The writer also "distributes the suffering", and I also must add that 'The writer disseminates the past facts of suffering and injustice.' It is only in an Orwellian world where this role is threatened, when society reaches a convergence of technological capability and educational neglect or distraction. Moyers and Doctorow suggested this malaise enabled the election of Reagan in 1980, with an assist from treasonous covert activity.
Anyway, since that time, the betrayal of the public trust by a covert government has never abated, under the Bushes or Clinton.

Was the average mind always attuned to a faschistic heirarchy (?) as Wilhelm Reich said, or is this an engineered condition? Doctorow and Moyers lament the disadvantages of progressives under such an impediment, but they mistakenly assume the sadistic grasping ego is endemic. How strange that two 'Liberals" would agree on this when the basic tenant of social progress is the common goodness in the populace. They also state that every nationalistic myth has a counterpart in the ideology of the loyal opposition that complements, unlocks or negates strategically.

Let me first tell you why I don't believe either of these assumptions, and if you see what I mean, I'll then diagnose the malaise quite differently from Moyers and Doctorow.

I don't believe people are born fascists but that this condition is a product custom made to meet the needs of power mad states.
It is an industrialized malaise, a mental epidemic spread just as Jeremiah Wright and other dissenters see Crack addiction and AIDS spread for strategic reasons. (I do not know that AIDS was invented or disseminated but the fact that crack was imported for profit and ethnic demoralization makes it seem possible.) When a state is so covert as to hold necessary information in secret and refuses to factually address credible accusations it implicates itself.

Maybe it is because I am a superannuated student of anthropology, but I believe I have seen both archaic and modern evidence that the human disposition is not inherently faschist. One example is the miracle of the Equadorian Achuar tribe who appealed to caring Americans against their victimization by energy and resource development, and who appear now to have retained their land and their way of life in a perpetual reserve (See the film "People of the Dream"). Further, they have actualized the potential of guiding the "civilized" populace in sustainable development. Second, let me cite the recent (Film: "the Take" and book: "Sin Patron" {without a boss})spontaneous seizure of Argentinian factories and enterprises by workers who are now operating them successfully under share and consensus arrangements.I could also refer to people like Sara Chayes or Dominic McSorley recently documented on this Journal.

As for the elitist (phenomenological) assumption that ideas and myths come in pairs (like entrenched, corrupt political parties) I say "hog feces"! Every human being has the potential of originating antidotes to toxic oppressive thought, and there are more humane possibilities than there are living people. I think this mistake arises from the sanctification of the ephemeral concept of "intellectual property" by the intellectual bourgeoisie under monopoly global hyper-capitalism.
Simplistic formulas of thought such as assumed counteractive dualism of political myths is only a convenient form of packaging by marketers.

Some pertinent ideas illustrating our dilemma of entrapment in capitalist dogma:
1. Noam Chomsky's basic assertion that nation states are illegitimate because they are unnecessary to human society.
2. Vaclav Havel's cautionary description of ultimate dissent (allows debunking of all myths):
We are seekers of truth who fear those who claim to have found it; for what is faith but believing in something you know to be false? And what faith does any good except faith in what humanity could be and is against all odds in pockets of resistance?

When I think of these principles I imagine the students occupying the buildings at Columbia 40 years ago and believing their actions would have meaning for many working Americans. I think of the bravest soldiers who refuse to return to an occupation in Iraq they believe to be unjust and destructive, who trust Americans to support their decision.

My brief diagnosis:
I am working on the theory that the basis of the malaise is fear and anxiety arising from gradual material deprivation and simultaneous political marginalization. Both Ravi Batra and Kevin Phillips agree that the irrational imposition of tricklism (Greenspanian voodoo economics) in the early 1980s instilled a demoralization that has never abated to present times and that the national security state has gradually usurped increasing powers to the Executive and its covert organs over the same interval.

What I can't understand is how the authors of Bill Moyers' "Covert Government" piece in 1987 can not now understand the natural progression of such a malaise, and estimate its relative effect on writers and the populace in the present day. Don't we the people under the duress of this invisible and omnipresent force rationalize our existence and accept the capitalist materialist myth as the only show in town? And don't we expect that this malaise is destined to dominate the world, even when we logically conclude that it will mean the physical obliteration of the natural world on which life depends? We resemble nothing so much as concentration camp victims abandoning faith with one another in order to play for time with the possessors of irresistible power. That type of existence is both an untenable reality and asurrealistically absurd plot line. Business as usual is ur terminal nightmare. Are distrusters of human nature , such as Bill Moyers, unknowingly singing the lullaby that perpetuates our suicidal dream? Are they playing for time by hitting the snooze button on our circadian alarm clock? I ask you that seriously, Moyeristas! I assert that you all have viable ideas. Answer me at beretco.op@gmail.com

I said it before and I'll say it again: Bravo PBS. Thank you Bill Moyers for not interrupting the speaker during the interview.

I am so fed up with how rude people have become. Proper exchange is a thing of the past. How will anyone solve any problems if the dialogue drowns out both speakers? I've noticed this etiquette blunder while I was working in the Government. No one wanted to listen what the other person was saying. Little wonder that no progress was made in the past eight years.

Broadcasting the 20 or so extra seconds made all the difference in the world. A sound byte, used in the wrong context, could make anyone - For example, catch any past broadcast of The David Letterman Show. "The Great Moments in Presidential Speeches". If we took this bit seriously, would we have elected G.W. Bush for a second term? Did we elect him for the first term, for that matter.

That aside, all news networks should do their level best to give the entire story honestly and completely. Walter Cronkite probably cringes every time a misleading "report" is broadcasted as news. It's the American Public's business and duty to make sure this nation doesn't give in to the very thing people have fought and died against: "Media Controlled Misinformation". Didn't we learn anything from Russia and Cuba? We've got to keep the clockwatchers from destroying the Constitution.

Disregarding 9/ll's smoking guns (bombs bursting, Atta's intact passport, John O'Neill's intact body), Jeremiah Wright cites Psalm l37, "O, daughter Babylon, you devastator...", but who, it may be asked, is Babylon?

In quoting U.S. Ambassador Peck, "America's chickens have come home to roost," he reminds us of our government's institutionalized insensitivities and our own ill-considered representatives, victors in expensive popularity contests, hyped and rigged elections (that ignore non-lethal weaponry's pecking away at American brains), thinking all the while that we have picked a winner.

--Hanna H. Stiles

Some wealthy people have a great deal of faith in the power of our military and mercenaries in the service of capitalist expansion. Yay Team! As parts of Sadr City are being barricaded like a Goering (pronounced "go-ring") death ghetto, a theme park and zoo are being proposed for downtown Baghdad. The operant word is "Vision."
Will ethnic enclaves be replaced like when a big American university seizes inner city land for bargain prices? (What a wealth of research subjects!) Will homes around the tax free entertainment district be bulldozed for condos, malls and casinos? It is a wonderful gift our business elites bring to undeveloped areas! Going to Disney Jannah combatants will soon forget their sects and passe'Allah, all bowing to gadgets, glitz and the blinging money-go-round. They will fight over nothing except who gets to don the Mickey Mouse suit for minimum wage, and dance their ass off in a torrid float bubble for 6 hours.
With things so prosperous and successful here in the Homeland, how could anyone doubt our inevitable success in West Asia or the Chinese Olympiad. You liberal losers are just jealous of our God given triumphs. Your pitiful tax levies provide incentives and subsidies to the Hypercapitalists so they can transcend our burned out butt -continent for the "Promised Land" of sacred oil. Heil Furhrer Bush! Worship glorious Jerxes McCain, steeped in Destiny. Kiss the golden tendrils of Darklord Leibermannn.
General Betraeus for Emperor in 2012!!!!
(I thought I'd get out ahead of the curve , and curry some favor with my Divine Masters before the Homeland implodes. I envision myself as their new William Safire.)

First, thank you Bill Moyers for making the effort to allow Rev. Wright to present himself and defend himself against the organized onslaught of right-wing invective designed to discredit Barak Obama by creating a ‘demon’ out of Rev. Wright with whom they can associate Obama and, by extension, discredit Obama himself.

Naturally, none of the manufactured hysteria over Rev. Wright’s carefully clipped, looped, endlessly repeated, and pundited to death soundbites has anything to do with him or the right-wingnuts (like O’Reilly, Coulter, & Hannity) would have been on him like white on rice years ago. No, this is entirely about preventing a Black man with middle-of-the-road politics (he’s hardly a ‘liberal’ on far to many issues to be seriously confused with one) from making a creditable run at the White House. It’s a prime example of “Rovian” politics at its worst.

Sadly though, it’s unlikely that many of the folks who would have most benefitted from viewing your program actually watched it since, in addition to believing whatever spews from the right-wing’s talking heads, another characteristic of those likely to accept the dual character assassination of Obama & Wright without question is their disdain and distrust of the so-called “liberal media” of which you, Bill, are one of their prime exemplars.

Nice try though…

I think the Rev. Wright interview was yet another attempt by the media to make the news, not report on it. It's clear that the media has decided that it will support Obama by any means, regardless of his character or experience, and soft pedaling Wright is just another example of that. Why would you do this to us, Bill Moyers, I always thought you were balanced in your reporting? Not anymore.

Wright is an extremist nut, not the nice, well rehearsed character we saw on PBS, and that Moyers allowed to get off scott free. Surely anybody who has seen the texts of his speeches realizes that. Yet, in today's world, I guess anything despicable a black says about whites or this country is forgiven, and anything negative a white says about blacks is racist. If we really want to have discussions about race in this country, as Wright said, we had better clear this distortion up real quickly, or else!

Had Moyers had a KKK spokesman on the air for an interview, do you suppose he would have been so accommodating? He would have made mince meat of him. Yet, Wright is effectively as incendiary against the whites as the KKK is against blacks. Why not equal treatment?
And Obama has been listening to him for 20 years. You don't suppose some of that invective might have sunk in?

Moyers' accommodation of Wright, Obama, etc. is more than a little disturbing. This is the highest job in the land, and the media seems to be hell bent on giving it to a neophyte, without so much as a concern about his past. He's the right color, I guess, that's all they seem to care about. Don't we need more than that, the citizens out here who might be stuck with this guy for another four years?

Wow, what a great interview! Everyone who has demonized Rev. Wright should be ashamed of themselves, especially the ones who call themselves Christians. We rushed to judge, and judged incorrectly. This man speaks the truth. And sometimes the truth is uncomfortable. He served our country nearly all of his life (in the military, and as a Pastor). Something that many who question his patriotism never did. We must not let those who seek to keep us apart succeed. Vote for a Change!

Rev. Wright talked about his efforts to make the actions of his ministry relevant to the weekday world outside his church. It made me think of a different kind of separation between the world of Bill Moyers and the weekday MSM. Like Rev. Wright you made clear the meaning of things we have heard but which needed to be place in their proper context.
Like Rev. Wright your thoughtfulness will not reach the wider audience. Instead this weekend the political pundits will further distort Wright's words rather than building on the true picture of him you have offered. His sermons as well as his comments on your program offered listeners a chance for self-reflection, for new lessons to be learned, but our MSM doesn't thrive on such thoughtfulness. They do not want their listeners to think but rather merely absorbed their self-absorbed opinions. They need Rev. Wright to be controversial not eloquent; it makes better theatre.
Thank you for your efforts to bring this remarkable man into focus.

My wife and I just finished watching Bill Moyers interview of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. The interview was very enlightening, and gave a far different impression than has been conveyed by the public media over the past few weeks. It offered an opportunity for the Reverend Wright to help us understand the context from which the soundbites that have been so widely distributed and commented upon were taken. This interview once again confirmed our observation that far too much of the public media in the United States promotes a simplified and frequently misleading interpretation of events. Too often the misinformation/disinformation conveyed becomes a part of the public consciousness and leads to policy decisions contrary to the public good. Once again, Bill Moyers demonstrated that good journalism is an essential part of a functioning democracy.

Reverend Wright's depth of knowledge, realistic understanding of world and American history, and breadth of knowledge about world religions is truly impressive. His parishioners have clearly been blessed with an uncompromisingly thoughtful, scholarly, realistic and empathetic discussion of the human condition. All Americans would be better citizens and better decision-makers if they had had the opportunity to learn from a pastor of Reverend Wright's quality.

Once again, thank you Bill Moyers and thank you Reverend Wright!

Bill I felt you gave a fair interview. Just as I thought the sound bytes had been taken out of context. I belive we need more pastors in the black community like Jeremiah Wright. Dr. Wright is an eloquent speaker, and deep thinker. Hannity needs to watch this interview and then apologize to Dr. Wright. I am sure Hannity knew exactly what he was doing releasing the bytes out of context and then proclaiming that he was on to connecting Obama to a racist pastor. Dr. Jeremiah Wright I got your back right along with your congregation. I love when a black man speaks the truth. It is unfortunate that in 2008 America still is not ready to hear the truth.

What a beautifully crafted interview with Rev. Wright
Bill. Thank You for your excellent journalism, as always. I've read the sermon in question and knew it was a quote, but it was good to see Rev. Wright, the man, and humanitarian up close and personal. For those who have villified Senator Obama for his relationship with Jeremiah Wright: if you're not ashamed, you should be! Wright is a decent human being who delivers Truth and the Word of GOD not quietly or meekly and in no uncertain terms. Hopefully this interview will shine the light of truth on who this man Jeremiah Wright Jr. really is! And while we're
shining the light of truth on folk Bill, have you considered an interview with Pastor John Hagee who supports Senator McCain? I'd love to hear his explaination of why he called the Roman Catholic Church "THE GREAT WHORE."
If I read that peice correctly, and I'm sure I did, Hagee was delivering his own opinion, quoting no
one. If the media is going to play the "guilt by association" game, it is only fitting that everyone is allowed to get in on the game!

Thank you PBS. Thank you Bill Moyers.

What amazes me is that the media has not picked up on similar positions said by the Pope in his address to his Bishops in DC.

The essence of Wright's sermons are to love and serve God. His illustrations may be different, but the end purpose is the same.

In a recent visit to DC the Pope said:
".............. For an affluent society, a further obstacle to an encounter with the living God lies in the subtle influence of materialism, which can all too easily focus the attention on the hundredfold, which God promises now in this time, at the expense of the eternal life which he promises in the age to come (cf. Mk 10:30). People today need to be reminded of the ultimate purpose of their lives. They need to recognize that implanted within them is a deep thirst for God. They need to be given opportunities to drink from the wells of his infinite love. It is easy to be entranced by the almost unlimited possibilities that science and technology place before us; it is easy to make the mistake of thinking we can obtain by our own efforts the fulfillment of our deepest needs. This is an illusion. Without God, who alone bestows upon us what we by ourselves cannot attain (cf. Spe Salvi, 31), our lives are ultimately empty. People need to be constantly reminded to cultivate a relationship with him who came that we might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). The goal of all our pastoral and catechetical work, the object of our preaching, and the focus of our sacramental ministry should be to help people establish and nurture that living relationship with “Christ Jesus, our hope” (1 Tim 1:1).
.....................”
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2008/april/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20080416_bishops-usa_en.html

Thank you, Bill Moyer and Rev. Wright for that wonderful program. I wish everyone would listen with an open mind to what we as a nation have done. God bless you in your work. Elizabeth Knudson, rural Minnesota

I'm once again deeply inspired by this week's Journal. Rev. Wright has been unfairly slandered -- thank God that the journal is here to add a modicum of balance to the scales.

I would also like to mention that I think the set design for this show is excellent. Keep up the good work!

PBS,Bill Moyers,Rev.Wright,Thank you for an outstanding clarification of facts.Anyone who can't hear the truth that resounded throughtout this highly informative interview/conversation is selectively deaf. May God grant them understanding of what it is to live black and christian in America.

Robert May said:
"I would like to see footage (with translation) of what the resistance fighters believe: all points of perspective, please"

I think this might help you out:

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=meeting+resistance+iraq&sitesearch=

This is a trailer of the documentary "Meeting Resistance". It was posted in full on Google Video - I just watched it last night. But it looks like they've taken it down. This is the trailer.

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