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August 03, 2005



My condolences to the family of Steven Vincent, and may his soul rest in peace.

May Noor recuperate and may she obtain political asylum in a western country.

The response given to that apologist of Islamic atrocities and inhumanity, Mr. Juan Cole was extremely appropriate and to the point. May he retract his innuendos against Steven and Noor in shame, and apologize for his behaviour that has caused so much anguish for so many people. Justification of "Islamic honor killing" instead of condemning it is so pathetic. I hope that the self-hating Mr. Cole would be shunned by his peers for such deragotary remarks made to justify Islamic culture and a barbaric act.

It would be nice if the deleted comments would be restored on this blog. Of course you would want to remove the few vile and personal comments made by Islamists and their western apologists.


now! urgent!

Lisa Colacurcio, Tokyo

I just read Stephen Vincent's book and logged onto this site in an attempt to contact him. I read with great shock and sadness that he is dead. My condolences to his wife Lisa. I had wanted to contact him after reading in the WSJ a short note on upcoming plans in the proposed Iraqi constitution to allow women/family rights to be governed by Sharia. After reading Stephan's book, this shocked me! We went to war to leave the women and children in a worse situation than they had before?? What can we do to express our disgust on this issue? Lisa--is there anything we can do to help Nour if she is still alive?



Symposium: Iraqis on Liberty

Today Frontpage Symposium is honored to be joined by three Iraqi citizens to discuss the meaning of freedom in post-Saddam Iraq. We have the pleasure to introduce:

Esam Pasha Al-Azzawy, a painter, master linguist and former member of the Iraqi National Judo team. He also served as a translator for the U.S. Army. His grandfather was Nuri Said, the former prime minister of Iraq, hacked to death by a mob in the revolution in Baghdad in 1958. He lives in Baghdad;

Nasir Flayeh Hassan, a writer and engineer who lives in Iraq;


Nour al-Khal, a Public Affairs & Media Director at the Local Governance Program in southern Iraq. She is also a freelance writer.

FP: Nasir Flayeh Hassan, Esam Pasha Azizawy and Nour al-Khal, welcome to Frontpage Symposium. It is a privilege to have you here.

Mr. Hassan, let us begin with you. Tell us your thoughts on what liberty means to you living in post-Saddam Iraq. What do you think of the election that occurred back in January and what is your disposition toward the effort to build democracy in your homeland?

Hassan: I think the recent election was a historical moment in Iraq history for many reasons. Changing to democracy might be the most important event in all societies’ lives. This is because democracy is not only the political form of authority which makes a people be the real source of this authority, but because it also creates the political and social atmosphere that prevents any adventurer or dictator to get full power which leads to disastrous consequences. Saddam regime’s is a perfect and horrifying example.

Democracy makes the citizen, the human being, feel his humanity, his natural right and duty to be responsible on his -- and others’ -- present and future, and it makes a people confident in their own creative powers. Individuals in a democracy believe they can determine their own future.

Second, this democratic practice is a quite new experience for the Iraqi people -- after three decades of the most brutal bloody dictatorship in our history.

Third, the elections, and all this process of democratic changes is happening in the circumstances of very aggressive challenges, from all those who want to prevent the democratic process at any cost, whether they are the criminal remnants of Saddam regime, or the Islamic terrorists, or all other powers like some neighbor or Arab countries and media, or even the so-called “peace camp.”

The election is the first step in a long process of course, but I already could see how it created a general national sense of challenge and hope, even for very simple persons, who can’t express themselves in few words sometimes.

FP: Mr. Hassan, could you tell us a bit about your own personal religion and how you think that religion should function in Iraqi society? For instance, should women be allowed to dress however they want? Should people have the right to have sexual relations in their own personal sphere without it being anyone else’s business and without their being the threat of punishment?

Hassan: I am Muslim but I oppose religious extremism and any other form of extremism. I’m a secular person who believes in separating religion from politics, and that it should be kept as a mere relation between the human and his God generally, for those who believe in God of course.

My belief doesn’t apply for Iraqi society only, but to most Arab and Islamic societies as well. And I also believe too in giving maximum possible freedom for individual life. And when I say “possible” I mean to consider the mentality and traditions of the society so as not to be shocked suddenly, which would lead to sharp reactions that might lead to the blockade of the freeing process itself, especially with very sensitive issues in our societies like religion and sex.

You know quite well that the free thinkers about these two issues (and politics as well, of course) might not only be attacked intellectually but personally too in some cases, as already happened with many real thinkers who wrote serious new points of views about these issues.

There is a famous saying that politics, religion, and sex are the three taboos in Arab countries. And I believe that this situation must be changed -- and it seems that Iraq already started the changes in the political sphere, not only because of the recent elections, but because Iraqis, since the collapse of Saddam regime, already started talking freely about politics, in the media, or in their daily life.

I think that even in the western countries things like these still have some social or official opposition, from some parts at least, like the opposition to the movement of homosexuals, or those works that might deal with the religious issues from a totally new point of view. The opposition to the movie “Last Temptation of Christ” was interesting in this regard.

I’m not saying here that I can compare the intellectual and personal freedom between Western and Arabic or Islamic countries, because it’s much bigger in the West, and the gap is very huge. But I wanted to make my point even clearer, that the changes in the issues of sex and religion might be much harder and slower than the political changes themselves.

FP: Mr. Al-Azzawy, would you care to comment on Mr. Hassan’s comments in the context of your own views of the recent elections and how your own religion plays a role in your view of a society in terms of women’s dress, intimate relations between people etc?

Al-Azzawy: Well, the matter is not only about wearing scarves or not. Most Iraqis don’t really care about religious government, but they do care for the person who will be the future president. It’s important for us as Iraqis who that person is, what his background is and from where he comes from in Iraq. And this is very important for us. The costumes in Iraq include asking about where someone is from in the country right when you are introduced to them. The religion is important even for those who don’t want a religious government. Those who want secular government want the president to be from their province, or from their race or religion. It’s a human nature for people to want to have something in common with their president.

We must not forget that this election was so difficult not only from the security point of view, but also because there were so many parties. In Iraq there were over 300 parties and all of them are new to Iraqis. They have just been shaped after the war or they have been imported from outside of Iraq. They now have found a chance after the war. Even those that existed in Iraq before the previous regime, the people of Iraq don’t know very much about them after 35 years of a tyranny that erased (or tried to erase) any other ideology or culture but Saddam’s Baath despotism.

So many people only heard little stories about them in secret, and they all didn’t have enough time to introduce themselves because after the war was hardly the time for that with all the events in Iraq of war, lack of security and also lots of crises and terrorism. So neither the parties nor the population have the chance to know about one another and to live with one another. Not to mention that people themselves didn’t have the chance to look carefully. And who can among all what happening of everyday pain. So this lack of knowledge made people elections based on other bases. And each one starts to create his own criteria. The first recommendation for these parties is they are not the Baath and they don’t represent Saddam. Some of them are not any better than him.

But what we learned here is how elections work. Despite of everything, the relations within the Iraqi mosaic population is profound and we have a long history of standing together and facing the same destiny. Like during the regime, I am sure my friend Nassir agrees with me that killings were reaching everybody, north, south and every city in Iraq was hit by the regime -- including Saddam’s hometown too, where most of his relatives live. He always made sure that everybody should be afraid of him and his family and those who surround him first.

FP: Ms. Al-Khal?

Al-Khal: The elections were neither free nor democratic. There were many reasons for this, but the most important one was that the elections process itself was inefficient. The inadequate preparations for the elections led the major parties in Iraq to badly dominate the political scene and exploit peoples’ emotions financially and religiously. There were also immense irregularities that occurred at the time of the voting. I was at many polling centers in Basrah with the Guardian, The Observer, and other international media and witnessed these terrible irregularities.

In addition to what Mr. Azzawy said about the elections, the elections were religion-driven. Religion and sectarianism have been unfairly exploited to force people to vote and even not to vote and even worse, to cast their voices for certain lists.

As far as the religion and society are concerned, I believe that a great deal of people in the Middle East and in Iraq particularly have been extremely exploited religiously to enhance others’ power. Saddam did that in both ways: he launched the 8-years war out against Iran in 1980 to defame the very idea of Islam itself, not as Islam was represented at that time, which is not right, by Iran. And later on, he made use of Islam again to enhance his power through the Religious Campaign. The consequences in both cases were devastating and we still suffer from them.

Now, I am sure America and its allies play the same game in Iraq for obvious reasons. I share Mr. Hassan’s view that religion should be a relation between the human and Allah and to support my thesis I would say that if a human does have true believe in him/herself and the great gifts Allah has endowed him/her, he or she would not need a cleric to point out the way of life for him /her to lead.

FP: Ms. Al-Khal, do you support America having overthrown Saddam? Do you support what America is doing in Iraq today?

Al-Khal: Yes, I support America having overthrown Saddam as it was proved with the current of time that no one else in or out of Iraq, for whatever reasons, legitimate or illegitimate reasons, could do it on our behalf.

Having been unable to get ride of Saddam, Iraqis had to accept and ‘’justify ‘’ the American invasion to their country. What we are not able to justify and accept within the context of the occupation are the overuse of power and violence by the USA Government, articulated by the military forces to solve the inner problems created as a result of the occupation. This leads to the second part of your question: do I support what America is doing in Iraq today?

To a great extent no, I do not. I am disappointed by what the Americans and their allies are doing in Iraq. Iraqis and I have come to realize that the occupation forces’ priorities are above Iraq’s priorities.

Am I talking about American promises to Israel about Iraq and the Middle East , the oil, the reconstruction money and the unemployment, the specific kind of Islam America wants in the whole region, the terrorism, security and the military scandals and abuses all over Iraq ? Yes I am. I have found myself, as ever, unable to justify the continuation of all these miseries after two years of the collapse of Saddam regime.

FP: America is sacrificing its own boys and girls to prevent Islamist terrorists from taking power and creating a Taliban-like regime that will engender a bloodbath throughout Iraq. If there is any blame to go around, doesn’t it lay with the terrorists that are flooding into Iraq and disrupting the American noble effort to build a democratic society and civil society?

Mr. Hassan?

Hassan: I don’t agree at all with Ms. Al-Khal.

There is no way to blame the Americans for what happened after the collapse of the regime. And if a policeman committed any mistakes (which is quite debatable if he did or not), that should never make us blame the policeman all the time and forget the murderer all the time.

The basic reason of most difficulties that happened after the liberation of our country (which she calls it occupation and invasion) is the anti-democracy camp (which is mainly the remnant of the regime, the terrorists, some neighbor countries, some countries and movements (including many of the NGOs and so called “peace activists”, and the destructive role of the anti-American media. If we should talk about the Americans, we should consider their favors first, since they are much bigger and clearer than any supposed mistakes.

And to make my point clearer, I’ll go into some details of three points: (1) the American favors, (2) the supposed American “mistakes,” and the reason that makes it hard for most Arabs and Muslims to admit American favors even if they are very clear.

The Americans did remove the most brutal dictatorship in our recent history. The American did fight terrorists and the remnants of the regime all the time since the liberation, and the Americans are trying to put pressure on Syria and Iran to stop encouraging the mess inside Iraq.

The Americans assisted in establishing a new government and security forces in our country. The Americans forgave Iraqi debts and worked hard to encourage other countries to do the same. The Americans dedicated the highest economical assistance for the reconstruction of our country. And the Americans assisted and are assisting in establishing the first real elections and democracy in our history, and in our region too. And when I say the Americans, of course it should be understood that I am referring to the Americans and their allies (i.e. the coalition).

What were the American mistakes and failures? Is there any? First, maybe they didn’t plan for the post-war period well enough, to consider such a sudden collapse of the regime and all of its consequences. There is the question of not stopping earlier the looting processes that started suddenly after the collapse of the regime. But we should consider that even us Iraqis didn’t imagine that the Saddam regime made such a serious damage in the morality and values of so many people who started all the looting process in the first hours after the liberation.

Besides, can we easily expect that the liberators can immediately raise their weapons against the crowds which they just liberated from the longest and most terrible nightmare in their history? I wonder. There is also the matter of the resolution of the Iraqi army. I think it was not clear at that moment, neither for us nor for the Americans, whether this was a correct step or not. However, we emotionally welcomed it.

There is also the issue of not allowing the militias of the parties which opposed the Saddam regime, to take immediate action against all the murderers who oppressed the people for decades. This was a very critical point on the one hand. This was a necessary natural step to be taken, so as to eliminate all or most of those monsters (which we are paying now for letting many of them go free).

But on the other hand, it was terribly dangerous to let such action take place in a country which was still had no government, no police and no security forces of any kind. This could lead to a civil war. Besides, most of us were expecting the remnants of regime to keep peaceful and silent, asking forgiveness of the people whom they terribly oppressed.

Of course there is the issue of Abu Ghraib prison, and of course we definitely condemn what happened there (although many of those prisoners where very dangerous killers and terrorists who don’t mind perpetrating any kind of terrors). But I think that the Americans already did what should be done about it. What I think is definitely an American failure is the inefficiency of their media, comparing with the anti-American media, like Algazira, and Alarabia, BBC (especially the Arabic department), Radio Monte Carlo, etc. This was a very serious point which gave a wide free space for all those who hate the Americans to ruin the deeds, changing continuously the scales of things, especially in such a critical period. This point cost us and the Americans much.

But why are some Iraqis so unfair when it comes to what the Americans did? This leads us to the question of the hatred and suspicions against the USA in most Arab and Muslim countries. This hatred and suspicion have many reasons. First, all the basic main powers in the recent history of Arab countries assisted this hatred. The communists, especially during the Cold War period, and pan Arab nationalism, made use of the Palestinian issue to justify their existence and dictatorships. Islamic extremism has also played a vital role in the last two decades

Besides, and considering us Iraqis, there is the well known idea that the Americans assisted Baathist to come to authority, during the sharp struggle against communism, and that they assisted Saddam in his war against Iran. But the Arab countries, and many other countries like France, Germany and the Soviet Union, all assisted him in this war. There is also the big disappointment of the Iraqis, especially the Shiites, from the American situation in 1991, when they allowed Saddam to use his power to oppress the revolution against his regime.

But we should consider that it was very dangerous to let an Islamic regime, at that time, to come to authority in the Iranian way. The 1991 year, is much different than 2003. However, Mr. Bush said that the USA assisted some dictators in the last 50 years, and now, it’s changing its policy, so as to assist democracies.

It’s another good point for the USA, comparing with France and Russia for example, which tried to save Saddam regime till the last moment, according to their interests. Of course the Americans are not here, sacrificing their sons and daughter, only for the sake of the Iraqi people, they consider their interests too. But these interests are not Iraqi oil as Ms. Al-Khal says, but mainly fighting terrorism and securing the American national security.

These interests are matching wonderfully the interests of the peoples of the region, and their hope for democracy and progress. And if the Americans are going to succeed in assisting a peaceful fair resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli quarrel, they will achieve a big step in removing this rooted hatred against them in Islamic and Arab countries, which feeds terrorism all the time. They will remove too one big reason that many dictatorships in these countries make use of to justify their existence and undemocratic nature.

In terms of the election, I think that the huge number of parties is a natural thing after the removal of long duration dictatorships. And I think that the consideration of the person who will get authority in Iraq is not such an important point to be compared with the fascinating historical success of the first democratic elections, in which I believe our people showed enough courage and will to make it successful, in a way that it drew the attention of the whole world. Of course I agree with my friend Al Azzawi that the Saddam regime persecuted most of Iraqi people, but I think that the Shiites and the Kurds suffered most.

I wonder, in fact, why Ms. Al-Khal focused on the defects of the elections, which is the first free democratic elections in our country (and so, defects are highly expected) and ignored the basic fact that this election is a historic event for us Iraqis, and a first step towards a more perfect democracy, especially considering all the very serious challenges from the terrorists and all of anti–democracy camp and media -- which she ignored to mention as well.

About considering the American promises to Israel, considering our specific situation in Iraq, I think this is a typical illusion of the absurd conspiracy theory which postulates that everything the Americans are doing is part of a long secret plan to control the area with co-operation with Israel. And I hope that Ms. Al-Khal will consider, as far as us Iraqis who felt and feel the real suffering of our people, that the Arabs are the ones who assisted Saddam in everything he did to our people, and it is the Arabs who tried to save him by all means when his regime was about to be terminated. Our real enemies are those who are exploding themselves daily now, killing countless innocent Iraqis – and they are mainly our brother Arabs. I’m saying this while I hope that the Palestinian issue can be solved soon in a peaceful and fair way.

Al-Azzawy: As for the removal of Saddam’s regime, I agree that no one could have removed him other than Americans, but I would add, why that is, because Americans supported him and kept him in power for a long time. So nobody could remove him but the one that kept him there. So when he became less useful, it was time for him to leave. So they took care of that.

The same way the Americans protected him in the 1991 when all Iraqis revolted against him and the revolution was close to Baghdad. The Americans helped him to stay in power and there is no need for me to mention the details, because everybody knows it.

Now his role in the play is over. Invasion forces are invasions forces everywhere in the world in all periods of time. This is the case since the very beginning of history. A foreign army cannot rebuild a country. Nations cannot be built nor developed but by the hands of their own people. It always should be coming from the inside. People from the outside can only help…(also for their own benefit).

We have to focus on the development. It’s the best way and better than to elect somebody that we don’t even know good enough. And come on, do you think people can elect somebody that the coalitions countries don’t want? Look how Bush got into power. Did people really want him in power in the US?

As for fighting terrorism, the US is using Iraq as a battle field to collect them and fight them in here. They don’t want the battle to be in their country so the best thing is to move war here where Iraqis can help.

FP: Well, thank you Mr. Al-Azzawy.

Powers have enemies in this world, and sometimes to defeat a greater evil one must ally oneself temporarily with an unredeemable force. We had to defeat Nazi Germany and so we joined hands with the Soviets briefly. Then we got down to the business of the Cold War, till we finally crushed communism. That doesn’t mean that eliminating Hitler was the wrong thing to do.

I am not so sure that the U.S. was ever a great friend of Saddam, but yes, in its confrontation with Khomeini and all the evil that he represented, along with the Islamist wave that he triggered, certain tough choices had to be made during those times. It was also a tough choice to support the Afghan rebels during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and some of the people the U.S. supported are now our enemies. But it would be foolish to say that it was a mistake to help defeat the Soviet Empire.

America has deadly enemies Mr. Al-Azzawy and, like any power, it has a right to defend itself and its own citizens. The U.S. doesn’t exist in a vacuum, nor should it be held up to a higher moral accountability than other nations, which is what you are doing here – to say the least.

The bottom line is that Saddam was an evil tyrant and the Americans liberated the Iraqi people from his monstrous tyranny. Mr. Al-Azzawy, you state that “a foreign army cannot rebuild a country.” Well, it can surely help. The American army certainly played a significant role in liberating Germany and Japan from their oppressive and backward systems and it helped plant the sees of democracy and freedom that led to the incredible prosperity and liberty in those nations. Americans are now doing the same thing for Iraq. They are allowing the Iraqi people to take control of their own nation, while helping to root out the terrorists that want to stop democracy from taking root there.

Surely you recognize that the elections that just transpired laid down a great foundation for your country and that it is because of the Bush administration that that great historic and unprecedented event transpired. Because of the democratization process, the domino effect has begun: the Saudis are talking about giving their women the vote, the Egyptians are talking about democracy and the Lebanese have taken to the streets against their Syrian occupiers to win back their nation.

Aren’t these positive developments for the Arab peoples? Would you rather the likes of Saddam and Khomeini rule over them forever?

Mr. Al-Azzawy, I am not sure what you are talking about when you refer to how Bush got into power and how the American people don’t really want him there. This discussion would have to wait for another symposium – and perhaps hosted by someone else and in some other magazine. I would suggest, though, that you take a look at the recent election we just had and examine who voted for whom.

I am still to hear from you. Mr. Al-Azzawy, about what you think of the terrorists and Islamists that want Iraq to exist in the dark ages. You criticize Americans a lot, but do you want to live in a Taliban-like state? Because that is what Al-Zarqawi wants for your country. Guess who is stopping him?

Ms. Al-Khal, what do you make of the discussion at this point?

Al-Khal: I suggest that when talking about Iraq we refer to the ordinary people in Iraq to figure out the realities of what is happening on a daily basis as a result of the American invasion. I am in daily contact with Iraqis in top positions and ordinary people. They are my proof and my terms of reference. Mr. Hassan points to American favors, mistakes and the unfair attitudes on the part of the Iraqis towards the American favors. These issues are not personal ones unfortunately. The agonies of Iraqis under the American occupation are not personal and cannot be bargained over for whatever the reason might be. No benefits can be received from the American ‘’Liberation ‘’ of Iraq as long as the ordinary people’s miseries continue. We are all aware of the sheer fact that America controls every thing in Iraq. Accordingly, we can not deny that this chaos is part of the American plan to control other things also. America’s good intentions and will is something that cannot be proved, especially with the goings on of these many dilemmas facing people every day. What are the justifications for the presence of the foreign forces on the land of a foreign country’s land when the people of the occupied country live by chance?

FP: Mr. Hassan?

Hassan: After listening to all of this, I can tell you that the ration of the guests’ opinions in this symposium does not represent the real ratio of opinions in Iraq today. Thanks to the election, which made it clear that about 70 percent of Iraqis are strongly for democracy, and if we considered the 20 percent who didn’t take part for the reason that non-participants don’t vote everywhere else in the world, or were simply prevented or hesitated, this would mean that anti-democracy opinions are no more than 15 percent maximum.

The answers of the other two members of this symposium are full of contradictions and misleading simplifications.

These anti-democracy opinions refer consistently to the “occupation” and “invasion,” but they hardly mention all the terrors of Saddam regime and the necessity of its removal, and all the terrors that his regime’s remnants are perpetrating daily. These critics stick to rhetoric and ignore the real demands of the Iraqi people.

I’d like to say that these kind of opinions are already expired enough in today Iraq, especially after election day, and also because the real nature of the so-called “resistance”, and its disgusting bloody face, are much clearer now to the Iraqi people, who have experienced enough of these kinds of anti-democracy attitudes.

Those of us interested in real freedom and democracy can judge immediately what persons who talk all the time about invasion and occupation really are. We recognize their real motives. Just like the anti-democracy camp, they are basically sectarian. We all know that Iraq was ruled for more than 80 years by a single minority sect, and it’s hard for many persons of this sect to accept the other part’s rights.

The current political hot issues on the Iraqi scene are (1) how to make the democratic process faster, (2) how to control terrorism, and (3) how to rebuild our country.

But since this symposium is going to be read mainly by English language readers, who might have no idea even about some well known facts in Iraq today, I find it necessary to give some short answers at least to the other guests’ opinions.

To Mr. Al-Azzawy:

If we agree that the USA assisted Saddam during some period, why should we show it like it was only the USA? Don’t we all know that most weapons of Saddam were Russian and French, for example, and that most Arab countries assisted him too? And isn’t it a good point for the USA that it decided to remove him, while the others tried to defend him till the last moment?

And who said that the one who keeps someone in authority is the one who can remove him. Did France, the Soviet Union, UK, USA, keep Hitler in authority so they could remove him? This all seems no more than misleading rhetoric.

About the 1991 revolution, first its untrue that all Iraqis took part in it. And who prosecuted it then?

And we, the ones who are for democracy, are the part who felt and feel the pains of the 1991 revolution persecution, and besides, can we imagine too, what would happen if an Islamic regime in the Iranian way came to authority at that time?

About focusing on development and not on elections. This is a mere contradiction. How can a serious development process be imagined, while there is no real political stability -- which is a decisive factor for security stability too? This doesn’t make any sense, especially that elections, everywhere, are the key step in any democratic process.

And I wonder too why my colleague Al Azzawy couldn’t find a single candidate, out of hundreds, to know enough so as to elect him? But what I think is the ultimate denial of the simple facts in Mr. Al Azzawy’s talk is the part about people electing somebody that the coalitions countries don’t want. We Iraqis challenged all the risks to go and elect who we wanted. Every body knows completely that there was not a single case of interference by any person from the coalition in all this. They only took part with the Iraqi police and army to secure the situation, or may be Mr. Al Azzawy means this on a different level, or maybe he means that all the millions who went to elect were prepaid actors in the American theatre?

We did all that by our free will, by our own hands and eyes, but if someone can even deny facts of such a kind, this means he denies it because he merely can’t accept it, and the question shifts there to -- why can some Iraqis deny even the most clear undeniable facts? I wouldn’t dare to talk about the American election in that way, neither any other peoples’ election, since these elections mean the will, hopes and the future of millions of persons, something that I highly respect, because it is almost sacred. We are no more than individuals in this world, and just enough respect should be shown to my peoples’ elections. I think other peoples’ elections should be respected enough too. Or maybe Mr. Al Azzawy denies the freedom of the American election too? If so, it would mean that the Americans are agents for themselves, maybe?

About the “invasion forces.” Are they really invasion forces? I wonder what is this supposed to mean exactly? According to the contest of Mr. Al Azzawy speech, I think his point comes clearer: a foreign army cannot rebuild a country. Nations cannot be built etc. I wonder how can Al Azzawy measure the limit between the basic role and the secondary role. Can he tell us, for example, about the case of liberating and rebuilding France, Japan, Germany in WW2? Which one was the basic? The French resistance or the Normandy Battle?

Do we have anything in common with a person like chemical Ali, or Saddam, because he has the Iraqi identity card? No big problem: all their victims and crimes, as far there is no foreigner boot on our land. What about all the agonies and hopeless future that should be expected when they could stay in authority for another one or two decades? And what about our peoples’ suffering? For me, the only absolute foreigner is the criminal bloody monster who feeds on my peoples’ blood, whether he has the Iraqi card or not. And the decision of how and when the coalition troops would leave is an Iraq peoples’ decision, which only an election can express.

About the terrorists: of course the USA declared many times that its policy now is to fight terrorism out of their land, everywhere in the world. It is silly to suggest the USA is using Iraq as a battle field to collect the terrorists and fight them here. This is an anti-democracy argument.

About that the Americans acting only out of self-interest: well, I don’t think either that the USA came to Iraq on a white horse only to save Iraqis. But to be politically mature, we must know that world politics are based on interests -- not ideal slogans. This is the same case for all who opposed the last war too. So, if we really care about the future and interests of our people, we should know which other interests are going in the same direction. The USA and its allies have an interest in fighting terrorism and securing their national security. They are matching clearly the peoples’ demands for democracy, so we should make use of it, because the interest of the USA and its allies are the leading progressive interests.

About Ms. Al Khal’s answer:

First, I didn’t say all Iraqis were ungrateful about American favors, but some Iraqis, and this is big difference.

Second, I absolutely agree with you that it’s not personal -- who said it’s personal any way? And that we should refer to is the ordinary people and how they figure out the reality of what is happening. These ordinary people are not your (micro) society, however wide it is, neither mine, it’s the millions of people who are strongly willing to make a new future for themselves and their children, the millions of Iraqis who challenged all the risks and threats and took part in the election.

Ms. Al Khal, this election which you already tried to ignore the importance of, has represented the will of the people. Only elections can decide the will of the people. And it sounds very strange to me, that while you talk about the agonies of the Iraqis under the American occupation, you did not mention that these agonies are mainly because of the terrorists and the remnants of the regime, as any normal Iraqi knows now.

And all the heavy inheritance we got from the past, like thousands of professional criminals whom Saddam released few months before his collapse, you do not to refer to in terms of how it has ruined the state of affairs. Nor do you refer to the destruction role played by some Arab neighbors and the Arab media in feeding this mess too.

Why do you ignore the coalition, and the Iraqi police and army, and the part they are playing in fighting and sacrificing daily to stop terror? And who removed the Saddam regime, the regime of horrors, mass graves and chemical weapons? Are you not grateful the nightmare is over? Or maybe you don’t consider the Saddam regime as that bad maybe?

I strongly wish that the other guests make their opinion clear enough about the Saddam regime and his crimes, about the right of the Shiads and the Kurds and other parts to take part in authority just like the Sunnis. And I hope it won’t be a misleading answer. Saddam is gone now, we should think of the present and the future. The remnants and heavy inheritance of the Saddam regime, spiritually, politically, economically, is still hurting us badly.

FP: Al-Azzawy?

Al-Azzawy: That's right, Saddam was not the friend of the Americans, he was their man to fight US enemies in the Middle East. Germany and Japan were not built by Americans. Germany and Japan rebuilt themselves with the help of the US. A nation can’t be built by other nation. If Americans built nations, it’s unfair for the US people if their government helps others while there are a lot of people who need help in the US.

It was good that America got rid of Saddam In the Gulf War, the US could remove Saddam but he was still useful, You know that during the embargo, the biggest supplier of oil for the US was Iraq (and with the most cheapest price). So if the US was worried about Iraqis, they could have removed him sooner. It’s a fact that politicians don’t care about humans or anything else. So let's not make angels or heroes out of them. International politics is all about interest. It’s not wrong or right, it’s just the way politics is.

The accusation has been said that I criticized the coalition. The fact is that I criticized my own country far more for not working hard and letting the situation get worst since Saddam’s regime fell. No I actually meant that we let things go wrong since Saddam got to power. We wanted help from outside. Some people in Iraq want to depend on Americans and the coalition, while we have to depend on Iraqis and Iraqis only.

Terrorists say that they mean to attack the coalition by their bombings, but if we see how many Iraqis are killed by their bombs, we realize that the terrorists aim at everybody to keep Iraqis in fear and pain. But since you talked about al Zarkawi saying "guess who's fighting him!" Well guess who caught Zaekawi and put him in prison? It was Saddam. Now guess who set him free? The coalition when they invaded Baghdad and didn't take hold of important establishment institutions. So Saddam could catch Zarkawi and put him in prison, how come Coalition armies of mighty countries cannot do anything about him? Do they really want to?

The coalition made some mistakes. The army can't deal with civilians properly. It’s not designed for that. The army is designed for one main goal: to destroy the enemy. And what we have here in Baghdad is the consequences of having a war zone inside the city. We have children going to schools while they are still in a battlefield.

I didn’t say that I am against Americans or any other nation; they are human beings just like us no matter what differences we have. But governments are almost the same everywhere in the world. I do like Americans; I have many American friends. Even the US President Bush said “if my country was invaded I wouldn’t be happy either”. So we are grateful for the removal of the former regime but we are not happy for sure to have foreign armies in our land. Though it’s necessary I mean I can’t imagine what would happen if the coalition left suddenly. Iraqi politicians can't accept each other, and they don’t have power yet (though some of them do have militias right now), what they will do when some of them have real power.

Most of Iraqis don’t care whatever background the minister or the member of the government has if he is qualified to serve this population, and can give certain numbers of chairs and ministries to variety of parties. This means to make them (the parties) happy. But what about people in the streets who really suffer and still suffer? And even the parties are not happy with this government. Nobody would mind the qualified working men. But the fight is over power not over who is going to serve this country.

I have so much more to criticize about my own and what my own people are doing. We need to do better (why can't we do like the developed countries in the world) like developed countries in the world and I just want the job done without pointing at the processes. I am a simple man and maybe I can’t hold an argument with a specialized politician, but I can say one thing to each Iraq minister, governor, whatever his position is: our people are in pain. They can’t find electricity, can’t even find water to drink. Please don’t explain anything to me for I am too tired of hearing foreigners for these two years. If you know the right thing to do, just do it and I will help you to the limits of my role as a simple Iraqi man.

It has been said that the peoples’ role is to elect the government. We risked ourselves and families, some even sacrificed and lost their lives to go to help you do your job and elect you, what else do you need us to do? Now you are not doing your job. Millions of simple people went and elected the very first election in all the history of Iraq, which goes back 9000 years. With no problems caused by those who elect (I mean the only problem was the terrorists). Now a few well-educated people can’t elect a cabinet while they are getting highly paid more than I can imagine as they are sitting in conditioned courts surrounded by well trained guards that ready to kill for them. At the same time, simple people who got them in their positions are paying them and are stuck for hours out in the burning heat of the Baghdad summer.

So it’s you and you only to blame, not me. I don’t want to listen to Iraqi politicians explaining anything. I know only one or two, either they fix the situation and make me happy without a word or leave their positions.

Bottom line, I am not a politician, never been and never will be. I don’t care what governments say; it is propaganda and excuses. What I see in real life here is not development. People are being killed everyday, no electricity, no water, and basically nothing except promises for two years, Corruption is reaching its limits in the Iraqi governmental departments. Even the food supplements that support many poor families are being cut off for months now.

Till now, the result of the election is Iraqi politicians fighting on positions, and almost everyday meetings of the assembly which make Americans (Coalition) cut off all bridges in Baghdad. This is not to mention 95 main streets blocked in Baghdad.

FP: Germany and Japan were rebuilt by the Americans after WWII and neither of them would be prosperous democracies today if it were not for the Americans.

In terms of al Zarqawi, Saddam sheltered him and gave him sanctuary. And just to make a point: it is far easier for a totalitarian regime to catch an outlaw with its totalitarian methods, which includes raping children in front of their parents to elicit information out of the parents, than it is for democracies who do their best to abide by the rule of law and are held accountable if they violate certain ethical rules and boundaries. To imply that somehow it is not in America’s interest to capture the terrorists that maim and kill Americans and innocent Iraqis and jeopardize American security and interests leaves me speechless.

I don’t know anything about governments being “the same everywhere in the world.” My family is from the former Soviet Union and I can tell you that we thank God everyday that we made it to the West. I don’t think I need to expand on this issue, but let’s just say that no one disappears without a trace around us in the West and we do not live in dreadful terror about a potential knock at the door. I think one could safely say that there is a difference between a regime that exterminates millions of its own people and a liberal democracy that does not. I think it would be safe to say that there might be a little bit of a difference in Iraqis’ lives with Saddam and his sons gone today.

There are so many testimonies of human beings that are grateful to have been liberated by America from living under despotism. The testimonies of many Afghans and Iraqis today are a good example, having been freed from the Taliban’s and Hussein’s monstrosity. There are numerous incredible positive changes occurring in both Afghanistan and Iraq today. A recent list of progressive change in Iraq -- thanks to the American liberation -- is indicative.

The war in Iraq today will decide whether Iraqis and their Arab Middle East neighbours will live under Taliban-like states and have no freedom or prosperity, or will enjoy democratic and individual freedoms, economic growth, and will be able to decide their own fates for themselves. The choice needs to be made what side we are on: on the side of the terrorists who want to impose Sharia or on the side of the forces of liberty.

In any case, it was a great honor, Nasir Flayeh Hassan, Esam Pasha Azizawy and Nour al-Khal, to have you join us at Frontpage Symposium. Without doubt, we could never have had three Iraqi citizens join us to say whatever was on their minds without fear of punishment during Saddam’s regime, and it will be impossible to do this in the future if, God forbid, the Islamist terrorists win in Iraq and impose Sharia law.

Thank you once again for joining us. I wish each of you the best and wish your country to prosper greatly under freedom and liberty.

© FrontPageMagazine.com 2005

doug rovens

I knew Vince well. We were dorm mates at UCSB in the 70's. He was murdered on my 49th birthday. After college I lost touch with Vince. Another close friend from highschool & college, Verne D., sent me Vince's book. I read it over a weekend. Vince's masterpiece, combining historical, philosophical & most of all intelligent, personal perspective brought us back together, if for only a brief momment in time before his death. I was fortunate enough to have called him & we talked about old times, our current lifes & the future. Vince was happy! I'll always remember his self depricating, but always intelligent humor in those crazy college years. At the end of our call, we promised to visit. Unfortunately, when my wife Catherine (also a friend of Vince's from college) and I next made it to NYC in July he already had returned to Iraq. I spoke with Lisa & asked her how she handled Vince being gone, again, in such a dangerous place. It was tough on Lisa, but this was her & Vince's destiny. He was doing not only what he loved, but what he had to do following that fateful day in September when he watched from his rooftop the 2nd highjacked aircraft crash into the twin towers. Vince always was a writer who sought out the truth putting himself at personal risk to bring home the real, unadulterated story. He had conviction & never sold out. He truly is a hero & all should admire him regardless of whether you agreed with his politics or point of view. He is an inspiration & has proven that a free press is essential to democracy, even if fighting for it costs one's life. I will miss Vince, but will always have my fond memories of our debates, banter, parties, & the carefree times we spent together. My love & condolences to Lisa & Vince's extended family. Doug.

Pamela Bates

I had the privilege of emailing with Steven several times and we shared a mutual friend from Iraq. He opened a new understanding to me and I am forever grateful. His death is a loss that will cost the world so much. I had posted early on and I wanted to repost. My condolences to the family and his closest friends. He crosses my mind daily--each time I open my email I see his notes for I will never remove them--they are a constant reminder of the difference he made in my life--a constant reminder of how important his message will always be. Thank you Steven--May you rest in peace.
You are missed.


I just started to read the book of Steve Vincent. This book will make history, I believe. Steve decribes things in his book that many will not understand for 10 years. But then they will understand or at least I hope so. It took the world more then 10 years to understand what Hitler was doing with Europe. But finally they understood. France was not capable to save itself from Hitler. The USA took over that job and done it well.

I recommend this book to anybody who lives in a democratic country, likes to go out at night and likes the opportunities a democratic country brings. I also recommend this book to the peace activists who have a girlfriend and do not have a problem when a male friend speaks to their girlfriend without asking for permission first.

My utmost condolences to his wife and all his friends who supported him.

Going from art to war for _your_ cause. What a great Man you are and will always be! My mind is with your cause and will always be.


(Many people get it, but much of the world doesn’t, yet)

For a long, long time, I have felt that the well-known theory of intelligent life on other planets should be expanded and taken one step further.
I am a religious person, being a member of a very large mainstream religion. I believe that every human is related, whether it is through Adam and Eve, or Through animals that Darwin has claimed evolved into humans. (I believe the Adam and Eve account of the human family).
There has been much speculation over the centuries as to what our purpose is, on this earth. Many people claim that we are just wandering around through time without purposes or results. Others claim that our purposes are limited, such as to gradually build immunity to diseases for future generations, before we die.
I believe we are here on earth for many, many reasons. I believe that, after everything is taken into consideration, every moment that we are here eventually results in advancing life and existence for not only human society but also in elevating all species and life forms that exist.
Countless years have passed since the beginning of time, the planet earth itself being billions of years old. Human technology only began to rise above primitive levels around the early 1900’s. Almost all of the multitudes of amazing miracles of technological discoveries and inventions, such as electronic circuits and jet airplanes, have only appeared since then, during the last 100 years. The possible technologies that we could develop in only 20,000 years (instead of 100 years), is probably beyond our imaginations. Just the last billion years alone contained 50,000 times 20,000 years. In only one billion years, the possible evolution of technology could have surpassed all ability to comprehend it, many times over. The planet earth is billions of years old. Countless solar systems and galaxies like ours also exist and are likewise billions of years old.
I would be surprised if there weren’t other planets like ours, containing many life forms, within all of these countless galaxies in the universe. I would be just as surprised if none of these other planets and life forms did not have enough time, over billions of years, to develop highly advanced societies and technologies. If other civilizations were able to evolve their technologies far beyond ours during these billions of years of existence, we might well see their inventions as miracles and view their powers and abilities as wondrous.
Even a single society, whose technology was so highly evolved, would be viewed by humans as a higher power, even as a deity by our limited comprehension.
I often used to wonder why such an advanced civilization wouldn’t completely change our lives and environments to match their levels, if they were really here with us. But then I finally realized that we generally try to avoid changing, harassing, or otherwise impacting other species, such as lions and other animals in Africa and other areas around the world, with our advanced cities and technologies.
We try to allow them to continue living in their primitive surroundings for many reasons; Not only out of respect for their unique existence but also in order to study them and maintain their natural place in the cycle of life. We have learned so much for our own advancement by studying and preserving all the species of life around us. We continually try to protect and preserve all species of life as a whole, while trying to avoid altering their natural habitats and their specific interactions and evolutions within their environments as they currently exist. More advanced civilizations could easily be giving us the same room to grow, exist, and develop.
If there existed an extremely advanced society that was devoted to introducing and encouraging the evolution of technology and civilization on other planets and in other galaxies, their devotion to Earth’s technological and societal evolution could yield even more inventions and discoveries yet unknown. Their advanced wisdom and knowledge would increase even more.
Our limited intelligence would probably see such advanced individuals as almighty Supreme Beings. If visitations and revelations from them were limited or mostly unseen and undetected, we would further view these beings as mysterious and all powerful.
There have been many documented sightings of “UFO’s” over the years. In addition, there have been numerous sightings of “other worldly beings“.
Many religions also have numerous accounts of visitations by angels and heavenly messengers, throughout the centuries. A person might be considered narrow-minded if they dismissed all of these accounts as nonsense.
Many would consider such a person even more narrow-minded, if they believed that we are the only intelligent beings in the whole universe, with the only evolved technology that has ever existed.
If all of the human societies and cultures are able to allow other species on Earth to develop on their own, we are then able to learn so much about them and about ourselves.
if we are allowed the same freedom to develop on our own, by more advanced entities, (especially with the huge amount of technological evolution that we have experienced in the last 100 years), then perhaps they are likewise able to increase their observations, knowledge, and wisdom.

Posted by: name on August 20, 2005 02:45 AM

When I mentioned ?highly advanced societies and technologies? in the paragraphs above, I should clarify what I mean by that. I mean that their technologies would probably be beyond our imagination in the level of capability that they possess, in at least some of the following ways:

1) They could have practically unlimited interplanetary traveling capability, and therefore also virtually unlimited technologies, resources, and space in which to implement their activities.

2) They could have virtually unlimited computer and database resources (such as we would comprehend it), to permanently record and catalog every physical detail of every human being and every life form that ever existed. In addition, they could record every non-physical detail of every human and every life form, such as moment by moment life stories.

3) They could even have the technology to capture, extract, and encapsulate all of the actual brain functions and all of the nervous system functions of a human being, at the exact moment that the person?s body dies and ceases to perform this capability on its own. They would be able to use materials and mechanisms in the encapsulation process that would be durable enough to last a long time, perhaps even forever. For lack of a better term, we could then call this encapsulated vessel a spirit or soul. This could be done for both human beings and also all life forms that have ever existed.

4) They would probably be able to combine these capabilities, to create an after-life existence for every human being and every life form, with conditions that would be virtually everlasting.

As I said before, these technologies are probably beyond our ability to imagine them completely. I am sure that it would be just as difficult for the ancient pyramid builders to imagine our modern machines, such as the stealth bomber, cruise missiles, and miniaturized computers.

There is one additional thought, about these extremely advanced societies and technologies, that came to mind. If their technologies were truly advanced far beyond our imaginations, to the point that they literally are all-powerful, all-seeing, and all-knowing, then they would essentially be Gods, in every way. They would have unlimited possibilities and realities. We, on the other hand, have been allowed to live our lives as mortals, in our own unique and natural surroundings.
Even though we are placed in a fairly un-tampered and primitive environment during our mortal lives, these advanced entities could still encourage our endeavors to learn and to grow as much as we possibly can, through writings, revelations, angels, messengers, spiritual leaders, and religion in general. They would undoubtedly give us many teachings on living our lives to the fullest, and on the after-life that follows our mortal experience. Some might even say that God sent us a Son, to lead us to a higher purpose.
In any event, when I use the phrase ?mostly unseen and undetected?, I mean that numerous entities could very well be all around us, all the time. Even though they would possibly be ever-present, all-knowing, and all-seeing, we nevertheless might not always be able to see or detect their presence.
It definitely is something to look at, from time to time.

Posted by: name on August 31, 2005 01:58 AM


This was posted earlier at another site. I have copied it here.
Papa Ray 09-03-05

Steve had become one of my most cherished writers. His bravery was unmatched. I wrote on our local forum many times how he had to be either crazy or one of the bravest persons I had ever heard of.

Steve was not just a reporter, not just another guy trying to get his writings in the news. He was someone who really cared about the Iraqi people and in fact the general human condition. He was a mustang, a loner, a free spirit and one man that was determined that the world knew what was going on in the world he chose to investigate, expose and try to help in his own small [large] way.

In one of his reports he said: "I flashed my new friends a Chesire grin and a score-one-for-the-Amriki wink. Immature? Yep. Dangerous? Possibly. Satisfying? Na'am!"

This statement, in a way, captured his spirit and his bravery. A man all the world, especially American's could admire and respect.

I hope that the world doesn't let his passing go unnoticed. Because he was a special person, a unique soul with a self defined mission that he fullfilled so well."

Papa Ray
West Texas


I finished Steve Vincent's book and I could barely put it down when reading it. His bravery is unmachted to me. I would like to name him in the line of Oriana Fallaci. A great and courageous man.

I will be recommending this book to many of my friends and family mebers.

Jon Claerbout

I miss your thoughtful words, Steve.

Davide Vezzoli

In the Red Zone is a clear demonstration of how much detail about Iraq is left out by the average news reporter.

Only now I feel like I have had an insight to the realities of Iraq, its culture, its political and religious struggles and the effect that Saddam Hussein and the war has had on its people. It was something I had been looking for a long long time and, unlike Steven, would never have had the courage to find out first hand.

Thank you for sacrificing everything to bring such amazing reporting to the world. My most sincere condolences go out to all the people who new him in person.

Steven, you will not be forgotten!

Rest in Peace.

Davide Vezzoli,

Davide Vezzoli

In the Red Zone is a clear demonstration of how much detail about Iraq is left out by the average news reporter.

Only now I feel like I have had an insight to the realities of Iraq, its culture, its political and religious struggles and the effect that Saddam Hussein and the war has had on its people. It was something I had been looking for a long long time and, unlike Steven, would never have had the courage to find out first hand.

Thank you for sacrificing everything to bring such amazing reporting to the world. My most sincere condolences go out to all the people who new him in person.

Steven, you will thoroughly missed and never forgotten!

Rest in Peace.

Davide Vezzoli,


I too came to this blog hoping to contact Lisa. I bought Steven's book this summer when I heard the report of his death on the news. I just now got to it. It was not easy to read the book, knowing its author was killed. However, the book was so good, and serious, and important, that I both forgot (almost) that the author was dead, and wanted to write him a letter, pay tribute to him, in the same way that I might write a letter to anyone who had been a role model for me, or had influenced and inspired me through their actions. Of course, since I could not do that, I wanted to contact Lisa and let her know what I felt about her late husband's book. Lisa, he is a hero.

-Will Hafer
Cambridge, MA

Joel B

I am so sorry to hear of Steven's death. I read some of his articles from the past and found out just today that Steven was murdered in Iraq. I was so saddened to hear of it, I will remember he writings. What he was doing in Iraq was brave and I truly respect the man.

Jason Smith

Steve was a real American hero.

Birger Kluge

3 August 2005

While driving to work this morning I turned on the radio for the news and learned that Steven Vincent had been kidnapped in Basrah. And later shot dead.

During my recent stay at the Al-Marbid Hotel in Basrah, I had the joy of getting to know Steven. We had in that short time many long talks about the situation there, which he had been covering for the last tree months.

The way they announced his death was just the way Steven had told me it could happen to him.

Steven’s heart belonged to the poor people of Basrah, and he wanted to help them get a better life through his dedicated fight against the different conflict instigators in the area.

I am sorry for his tragic death, and I am sure that I lost what would surely have become a good friend. And, of course, I feel deep Steven’s family.

Birger Kluge - Denmark

William McElgin

I wanted to come back here on a day of victory. Steven would be raising toasts today if he were alive. I raise one to him.


i came across the Steve's articles and book and as i continued reading i had this thought of maybe packing my bags and going to Iraq or someplace where things are happening. Just to experience something different. Or maybe just feel something. Im not American so the war dosent hit home to me everyday but Steves work did.
i didnt know until 5 mins ago that Steve isnt with us anymore.
and i am realising that maybe i am not man enough to go.
please accept my condolences

David All

I first read Stephen Vincent's articles when he was working for the Times as a reviewer of movies and other entertainment. Later I read his dispatches from Iraq. In all his writing, Mr. Vincent was clear, informative and thought provoking. His desire to find out as much as he could the truth of how Iraq was developing was very brave and noble. It, unfortunately, probably resulted in his death as well. Like another American journalist, Daniel Pearl, whose desire to find out the truth behind Pakistan's ties to Islamic Jihad cost him his life, Stephen Vincent will be remembered and commerative as someone who lost his life trying to tell us the truth about a war torn country. Both Vincent & Pearl represented what was best about Americans in their desire to find out about other peoples and to bridge the gaps between oursevles and the peoples they were writing about. Give my sorrow and sympathy to Lisa, his widow, his family and all his friends.

(I humbly apologize for being so late in writing this.)

Mrs. Stewart

I just now obtained a copy of "In the Red Zone" because of a review on the dust jacket of another book. I am so thankful for Mr. Vincent's on-site insight, and I will do my best to pass on this critically helpful information. May the Lord bless you for your sacrifice, Mrs. Vincent!

Jerry D

Steve Vincent was an inspiration. His book, In the Red Zone, brought a perspective to this conflict in Iraq that no other reporter had been able to capture. His courage and his bravery in reporting the truth were admirable, and they cost him his life. Such bravery is enviable. Steve Vincent is an American hero in the truest sense.


I realize it has been a very long time. Steven's writing was a great inspiration to me. I was one of those who commented a long time ago. I remember him still.

Many of us do.

va refinance loan

May God Bless You.

FLower Girl

This comment only for the blog owner i just want to thanks this guy. because of i get lots of information form it....


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ITRZ Reviews

  • "To understand Iraq, it is the best book yet published." National Review Online

    "If you're not reading Steve Vincent's In the Red Zone blog, why not?"
    Arthur Chrenkoff

    "In the great tradition of behind-the-scenes war reports."
    Wall Street Journal