The brothers on radio

The brothers on radio

: Omar and Mohammed were on Brian Lehrer’s WYNC show yesterday. You can listen here. “Life under Saddam wasn’t living,” says Omar. “It wasn’t life.” They tell him that they are grateful for their liberation and that the stories from the media and the CIA about the state of life in Iraq aren’t accurate. Mohammed says he’s shocked when Americans ask whether they can go out; it’s a big country and much more than Fallujah, they say.

Lehrer notes that they won a conservative “warblogger” award from Right Wing News and asks whether conservatives have their best interests at heart; they say they object to the “warblogger” label. “I am not a warblogger, I am a freedom blogger. That’s what I support: the liberation of Iraq. I support freedom in Iraq and in the region. I am not supporting war. But sometimes if war is the only way to liberate people, to free people from tyrants, then I’ll support it.”

I was a little surprised that Brian cast this in American political terms but he’s not alone. Last night, when I told the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Henninger that I’d introduced the brothers to Lehrer’s show, he said that was a good thing, for liberals need to hear their story. I think Americans should hear their story not for political reasons but for human reasons; we need to Well, I agree, but not because this is right or left but because it is good to make a human connection, American to Iraqi, and the weblogs are now making that possible.

Next, Brian puts it in religious/political terms, mentioning that the brothers are Sunni and asking about Sunni leaders’ calls for a boycott of the election. “Let me explain something,” Omar said. “First, I’m human. Second, I’m Iraqi. Third, I’m Muslim.” Well said.

  • Barry D

    I’ve heard Brian Lehrer before. The idea that he cast this in American political terms as you describe doesn’t surprise me in the least. In fact he could listen to the brothers talk for weeks, and he’s still not going to get it.

  • I think Brian’s approach was legit. Their blog was just given a prize by a right leaning group. No shame in that, but no shame in questioning them about how they fit into the politics that surround them. I appreciate Brian’s skepticism. Since we do hear so much about the supposed political split between religious and ethnic affiliations in Iraq, I think it made sense to probe this with these Sunni, pro-occupation, Iraqis. The brothers were able to respond as they wished and it led to a productive exchange. Anyone who calls their blog “Iraq the Model,” should be ready to expect to be challenged when they get some media time. Since hearing the exchange on Lehrer’s show, I have perused their blog and find it fascinating. I look forward to reading more.

  • Sean

    Yeah, but I bet Lehrer would have fewer questions for a Robert Fisk who comes on and implies that Margaret Hassan was murdered by dark and shadowy pro-US/Alawi forces. He’s a lefty with an agenda and focus.

  • jerseycityjoan

    Well, something’s not right somewhere. Ali (the 3d brother/poster, who stayed behind in Iraq) has posted what he says is his final entry at iraqthemodel.com.
    He says this is in response to the actions of some Americans who are trying to use the brothers’ work for their own political purposes.
    Don’t know what it all means [is he referring to Spirit of America? President Bush?], but it’s a shame to see things go sour.