- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 15, 2003

Agence France-Presse

As violence continues unabated in Iraq, the United States is taking pains to publicize a prominent Arab journalist’s recent decision to abandon staunch opposition to the U.S.-led war and publicly back the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

“We think this is something people ought to know about,” a State Department official told Agence France-Presse when asked why the department had sought permission to reprint and distribute a column by Fawaz Turki that appeared earlier this month in Saudi Arabia’s Arab News newspaper.

“There’s a wide range of opinion about Iraq in the Arab world, not all of which people hear about,” said a second U.S. official. “This is an important view, and we’d like for people to see it.”

The State Department has posted Mr. Turki’s Nov. 6 column — titled “Revisionist Thoughts on the War on Iraq” — to its so-called “Washington File” Web site (usinfo.state.gov), which U.S. embassies use as a prime source of information to inform foreign audiences about policy issues.

In it, Mr. Turki, who admittedly had vehemently opposed U.S. military intervention in Iraq in the weeks and months leading up to the war, reversed his earlier opinion and said he was prepared to be criticized for his new-found support.

“At issue here is whether the Iraqi people have benefited from the overthrow of the Ba’athist regime and whether the American occupation will eventually benefit their country even more,” he wrote.

“I’m convinced — and berate me here from your patriotic bleachers, if you must — that what we have seen in the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates in recent months may turn out to be the most serendipitous event in its modern history,” Mr. Turki wrote.

The ouster of Saddam, who he described as a tyrannical dictator, and his brutal regime “is enough to warrant extending my support for that invasion and for Washington’s projected plans to rebuild the country,” he said.

“No, it’s not too early to adopt a revisionist view of the U.S. war in Iraq, or too late for a columnist to say he was wrong all along,” Mr. Turki concluded.

State Department officials said they were intrigued with the column and moved quickly to secure permission from the Arab News to reprint, translate it into other languages and distribute the article outside the United States.

The column is now featured prominently on several Web sites of U.S. embassies in the Middle East.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide