Roger L. Simon

Who Do You Believe...

The New York Times or the Prime Minister of a developing war-torn nation infested by fascists and religious fanatics? In the old days, that would have been a slam dunk for the Grey Lady. My how times have changed! Now we have to decide for ourselves. According to MSNBC, Iraqi PM Allawi says a ‘Distraught’ Saddam is begging for mercy.

“He is distraught and depressed,” Allawi said of Saddam, the man who was Iraq‚Äôs president for 24 years and is awaiting trial for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

“Saddam and his colleagues are not the giants that the media sometimes talks about,” Allawi said in an interview with the pan Arab al-Hayat newspaper. “Saddam sent us an oral message in which he begged for mercy. He said that they were working in the public interest and did not mean any harm.”

The portrait painted by Allawi differed sharply from that in a New York Times account published over the weekend, based on interviews with U.S. and Iraqi officials who have visited the former dictator in his air-conditioned 10-by-13-foot cell on the grounds of one of his former palaces.