Saturday, April 19, 2008

From the column: Iraqi information minister

If you read the post below about gas prices, you will need a good laugh. Never fear. Ask yourself, "What would MSS do?"

MSS is Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf -- better known in Western circles as "Baghdad Bob." He made a name for himself by holding press conferences in the runup to the invasion of Iraq wherein he would make statements that were directly contrary to obvious reality. As coalition soldiers invaded Iraq and American soldiers were taking over Baghdad, MSS continued to declare things like, "I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad!" and his insistence that American soldiers were committing suicide by the hundreds at the city gates.

Ummmmm ... no.

If he was still giving news conferences, he would likely say something along the lines of, "Gasoline does not cost $3.39 a gallon! That is a fabrication of the American infidels! Gasoline is very affordable at just 40 cents a gallon! Gasoline has never cost more than 40 cents a gallon!"

MSS came to be known as "Comical Ali" -- a takeoff on the very not-funny nickname of "Chemical Ali," an Iraqi official charged with the development of chemical weapons in the Saddam Hussein regime -- and developed a fan following on the Internet. For a good laugh, check out either of two fan sites (the appropriately named " and something called Croque Fan).

Why love MSS? One fan writes:

"In an age of spin, al-Sahaf offers feeling and authenticity. His message is consistent -- unshakable, in fact, no matter the evidence ... His lunatic counterfactual art is more appealing than the banal awfulness of the Reliable Sources ... He stands superior to truth."
MSS is living in the United Arab Emirates with his family. A bio of him says he studied journalism.

Wait ... does ABC need a correspondent in the UAE? I have just the guy for them ...