Posted by MataHarley on 20 July, 2008 at 6:14 pm. 11 comments already!


While following BHO’s whirlwind profile around Europe and the Middle East, I archived a Reuters story titled Irais say they like Obama, divided on his policies”. This link is from a story dated 6:20AM, July 20th, 2008.

By 6:40AM, an ADVISORY: Baghdad story on views on Obama is withdrawn.”

The BAGHDAD item headlined “Iraqis say they like Obama, divided on his policies” is withdrawn. The story was transmitted in error.

What’s the deal? Perhaps Reuter’s felt it was politically incorrect. Certainly raised my eyebrows, which was why I archived it. Apparently after interviewing a couple dozen of Iraqis “across the country”, perhaps it did not portray the Iraqis well.

By Khaled al-Ansary and Mohammed Abbas

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is popular among Iraqis.

In two dozen interviews across the country, many told Reuters a black man would understand their plight.


“I support Obama. I think he is the best for Iraq and for the world … if McCain wins I will be devastated,” said Mustafa Salah, an office worker in the southern city of Basra.

Hisham Fadhil, a doctor in northern Kirkuk added: “He is much better than others because he is black and black people were tyrannized in America. I think he will feel our suffering.”


Kamiran Mohammed, from Kirkuk, said he visited the United States recently as part of a polling watchdog to study elections. Obama would be good for Iraq, not McCain, he said.

“When I was in the United States I found Democrats are more peaceful and avoid wars,” Mohammed said.

I guess Mohammed didn’t study American history while here… otherwise he would have know that Vietnam and the Bosnia/Kosovo/Yugoslav warfare were all Democrat wars.

More from the “transmitted in error” story…

Indeed, Iraqis are divided over Obama’s plan to withdraw U.S. combat troops within 16 months if he wins office. Some say the policy is overdue while others are opposed because they feel Iraq’s security forces are not ready.

“What Obama said about pulling out U.S. forces is just for political gains. It is unrealistic,” said Munadhil al-Mayyahi, an independent politician in Basra.


“The face of America was spoilt by the Republicans and Bush. A McCain win means Bush stays,” said Zainab Riyad, a teacher.

Questions about Obama’s heritage — he is a Protestant Christian but his Kenyan father was raised a Muslim — and whether this background would lead to better U.S. policy in the Middle East drew a cynical response from most Iraqis.

Obama’s campaign has sought to dispel rumors he is Muslim.

“Frankly, Muslims in our society have not done anything for us,” said Mohammed Sadeq, who owns a mobile telephone store in Baghdad. Another Iraqi pointed to wars between fellow Muslims.

Others were dismissive of the U.S. presidential election in general, more concerned with the struggle of daily life in Iraq.

“For the moment I’m thinking about getting enough electricity. I do not believe either candidate will change the situation in Iraq,” said Abdul-Mahdi Hadi, a Basra teacher.

(Reporting by reporters in Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk and Kerbala, Writing by Mohammed Abbas: Editing by Dean Yates and Matthew Jones)

Certainly the different statements don’t support that Iraqis particularly “like” Obama in overwhelming numbers. And most definitely finding Iraqis – who know little of him, basing their judgment on his being black and thereby more empathetic – gives the impression that the “man on the street” in the country harbors racist feelings. It does give one pause for cause to perhaps have a second thought or two when anyone wants to drive home a point with Iraqi opinion polls. But I find it hard to believe this random set of quotes from Iraqis is indicative of the nation as a whole.

But all in all, quite curious as to why the story was pulled… Then again, it’s Reuters. So all bets are off for logical, or ethical, reasons.

UPDATE: Mentions of the disappearing Reuters story at Newsbusters here, and at at Sweeness & Light here.

Story still posted in full at MSNBC, and The Boston Globe.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x