- The Washington Times - Friday, October 15, 2004

A California real-estate agent, frustrated by Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 9/11,” made his own documentary film detailing the mass murder of Iraqi Kurds by Saddam Hussein and previewed it for reporters at the National Press Club yesterday.

Brad Maaske sold most of his property and mortgaged his home to finance the $300,000 production titled “Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Murderous Reign of Saddam Hussein.”

Mr. Maaske said he decided the American people needed to see another side to the Iraq conflict.

“We put together a film that we believe is the truth about Iraq and we think everyone should see it,” he said. “I believe it’s a pro-American film. I believe it’s a pro-military film. I believe it’s the truth.”

The release of Michael Moore’s controversial film “Fahrenheit 9/11” last summer, which offers a critical view of the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq, inspired Mr. Maaske to produce a conservative counterfilm detailing the chemical attacks, murders and torture conducted under Saddam’s regime.

“Twenty-five million people saw a film called Fahrenheit 9/11,” he said. “I hope that 25 million people watch my film, even if I never make a penny.”

An estimated 300,000 Iraqis “disappeared” under Saddam’s reign and are likely buried in mass graves around the country, according the U.S. Agency for International Development. Since the overthrow of Saddam’s regime in May 2003, 270 mass graves have been uncovered.

For help in creating the film, Mr. Maaske turned to Jano Rosebiani, a self-taught Kurdish-American filmmaker.

His graphic footage of Iraqi mass graves and chemical attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq is featured in the film.

Mr. Rosebiani said more Americans need to see the horrors Saddam’s regime left behind.

“We called the film, appropriately ‘Weapon of Mass Destruction.’ Saddam Hussein really earned that title,” he said. “Saddam was terrorist extraordinaire.”

Besides footage from Iraq, the documentary also features interviews with the family of an American soldier killed in Iraq. Daniel Unger, age 19, died in March 2004 while trying to protect Iraqi contractors from a mortar attack.

At a press conference yesterday announcing the film’s release, the soldier’s father, Marc Unger, wore his son’s dog tags and batted away tears as he recalled his son’s commitment to the war in Iraq.

“I am just proud that our son is thought of as the hero that he is,” he said.

About 10,000 DVDs of the movie will be sent to American troops serving in Iraq, Mr. Maaske said.

He has also been struggling to get movie theaters to show the film.

In the next few weeks, the film will open in 23 movie theaters across the country, including Washington, D.C., Friday at the Loews Wisconsin Avenue Cinemas 6 theater.

“It’s been slower, tougher and harder than I ever imagined,” he said.

Even so, Mr. Maaske said telling the Kurds’ story is well worth the challenges.

“It incensed me that no one cared,” he said. “I decided if I ever did anything in my life to make a mark, I would do something for the Iraqis who died.”

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