THE IRAQI OSCARS
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the members of the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) of Hollywood, California, for their efforts in preventing U.S. aggression around the world.
"SAG's members are not afraid to put their star power on the line in the cause of world peace," according to the announcement out of Oslo, Norway, today. "The long line of peace activists stretches from Jane Fonda to Sean Penn and beyond," the accompanying citation reads in part, "and represents a shining star of sanity in the otherwise murky arena of global politics."
The recent fact-finding mission to Baghdad by SAG member Sean Penn was singled out for special praise because of his "exceptional foresight in cutting through the saber-rattling rhetoric coming from the White House and visiting the headquarters of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to ask the simple question: Do you actually have any weapons of mass destruction?" This, according to the Nobel Selection Committee was a "stunningly brilliant strategy for quickly getting to the core of the weapons debate that has been raging between the two countries for the better part of a decade."
While in Iraq, Mr. Penn met with President Hussein to ask him that very question, and was assured that "the Iraqi people are a peaceful people and have no reason to build, buy or stockpile chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of any kind. United Nations inspectors have repeatedly visited locations all over Iraq for the last ten years looking for these weapons, and have never found any. The idea of such weapons existing in my country," Saddam explained, "exists only in the warped mind of the American President and his war-mongering advisors."
Despite such assurances, Mr. Penn wanted to be very thorough and asked to be allowed to visit some of the suspect sites himself so that he could make a personal judgement about who is telling the truth. The Iraqi President readily agreed, and took Sean personally to two elementary schools, a hospital, a middle school, and a soccer field. Personnel at all of these sites were instructed to cooperate completely and allow the actor to see anything he wanted and to answer all of his questions."
After a grinding three-day tour in the stifling Iraqi heat, Sean had seen enough. He told an international group of reporters that "I have seen absolutely no evidence that the Iraqis have any weapons of mass destruction. I have searched several sites completely and asked the personnel there a number of direct questions. And I have seen or heard nothing to indicate that the Iraqis have now, or have had in the past, any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. To suggest otherwise is to fly in the face of the facts. I, for one, am totally convinced of President Hussein's sincerity. It would behoove my government to look a little more closely at the facts before branding this man a terrorist or dictator in need of replacement. They would do better to look to the defects in their own house."
Several SAG members – notable Jane Fonda and Martin Sheen – have given statements to the press in support of the Peace Prize and Mr. Penn's peace mission. On the other hand, prominent members of the Bush administration have criticized both as "just another example of soft headed liberals being hoodwinked by anti-American rhetoric."
Jane Fonda plans to fly to Baghdad to visit Saddam Hussein next week, and Martin Sheen plans to go along so they can have a "President to President" talk. There are rumors that the Pentagon plans to bomb Baghdad thirty minutes after they arrive.