THE WAR ON TERROR
(Baghdad, Iraq, 2003)
THE WAR ON TERROR
An estimated 151,000 to 1,033,000 Iraqis died in the first three to five years of conflict.
The Official Story
FIRDOS SQUARE STATUE DESTRUCTION
The destruction of the Firdos Square statue was an event in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that marked the symbolic end of the Battle of Baghdad. The event occurred on April 9, 2003.
In April 2002, the 12 m (39 ft) statue was erected in honor of the 67th birthday of Saddam Hussein.
In the afternoon of April 9, 2003, a group of Iraqi civilians began to attack the statue. One such futile attempt by sledgehammer-wielding weightlifter Kadhem Sharif particularly caught media attention. Shortly after, an advance unit of the United States Marine Corps arrived at Firdos Square, secured the area and made contact with the foreign journalists who had been quartered in the Palestine Hotel at the square. After a couple of hours, the US Marines toppled the statue with a M88 armored recovery vehicle.
According to the book Shooter, the first plan was to attach a cable between the M88 and the statue’s torso area. Someone pointed out that if the cable snapped, it might whiplash and kill people. The alternate method chosen was to wrap a chain around the neck. Eventually, the M88 was able to topple the statue which was jumped and stomped upon by Iraqi citizens who then decapitated the statue and dragged it through the streets of the city hitting it with their shoes. The destruction of the statue was shown live on cable news networks as it happened and made the front pages of newspapers and covers of magazines throughout the world – symbolizing the fall of Hussein’s government. The images of the statue destruction provided a clear refutation of Information Minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf’s reports that Iraq had been winning the war.
A green sculpture by Bassem Hamad al-Dawiri, meant to symbolize the unity of Iraq, was installed on the empty plinth in June 2003 and remained there until it was removed and demolished in 2013.
A false flag is a covert operation designed to deceive; the deception creates the appearance of a particular party, group, or nation being responsible for some activity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.
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