The London Telegraph recently ran an article written by Daniel Pepper, a young American photographer who had gone to Iraq as a "human shield," believing that "it was direct action which had a chance of bringing the anti-war movement to the forefront."
Pepper and his fellow shields planned to travel around Iraq telling people, "Bush bad, war bad, Iraq good." But the first time he said this to an Iraqi, the man looked at him as if he had lost his mind.
As the human shields talked with the people of Iraq, they were "scared," "concerned," and "shocked" by stories of Saddam Hussein's atrocities. After five weeks in Baghdad, Pepper concluded, "Anyone with half a brain must see that Saddam has to be taken out. It is extraordinarily ironic that the anti-war protesters are marching to defend a government which stops its people exercising that freedom."
Columnist Thomas Sowell cited a young minister who also went to Iraq to protest. "Some . . . Iraqis 'told me that they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start.' Then they told him of sadistic tortures 'that made me ill' just to hear about," he wrote.
I have to wonder: Why did it take a trip halfway around the world to teach people this truth? Anyone in America or Europe can pick up a newspaper and read stories of government-sponsored torture and murder in Iraq. But as Pepper points out, the fashionable view is that, while Saddam isn't the nicest guy, the American and British governments are the true villains.
That is the mindset at work in documentary filmmaker Michael Moore and other protesters, like those carrying signs comparing Bush to Hitler--and even, in a few cases, those who assault people in the name of "peace." As Daniel Pepper writes of his first days in Iraq, "The group was less interested in standing up for [Iraqis'] rights than protesting against the U.S. and U.K. governments" -- in other words, against anything that interfered with their own view of the way the world should be run.
Pepper and his companions had a head-on collision with reality and, in the process, learned a lesson that has been lost on much of Hollywood and on the anti-war movement. There is nothing quite like looking evil straight in the face to make a person see reality.