What I heard about Iraq


On 20th March there was a worldwide day of readings of US poet Eliot Weinberger's amazing anti-war work "What I heard about Iraq", which uses a carefully selected sequence of quotes from US and British Government officials, soldiers and Iraqis to paint a devastating portrait of the lies that led to the 2003 invasion and the horrors of the subsequent war and occupation.

Readings and performances took place from Calcutta to Luxembourg, Greece to Australia, and throughout the U.S.


I heard the president say: 'I know what I'm doing when it comes to winning this war.'

 I heard that 1000 American soldiers were dead and 7000 wounded in combat. I heard that there was now an average of 87 attacks on US troops a day.

I heard Condoleezza Rice say: 'Not everything has gone as we would have liked it to.'

I heard Colin Powell say: 'We did miscalculate the difficulty.'

I heard an unnamed 'senior
US diplomat in Baghdad' say: 'We're dealing with a population that hovers between bare tolerance and outright hostility. This idea of a functioning democracy is crazy. We thought there would be a reprieve after sovereignty, but all hell is breaking loose.'

I heard Major Thomas Neemeyer say: 'The only way to stomp out the insurgency of the mind would be to kill the entire population.'

I heard the CNN reporter near the tomb of Ali in Najaf say: 'Everything outside of the mosque seems to be totalled.'

 I heard the vice president say: 'Such an enemy cannot be deterred, cannot be contained, cannot be appeased, or negotiated with. It can only be destroyed. And that is the business at hand.'

I heard a 'senior American commander' say: 'We need to make a decision on when the cancer of Fallujah needs to be cut out.'

 I heard about the wedding party that was attacked by American planes, killing 45 people, and the wedding photographer who videotaped the festivities until he himself was killed. And though the tape was shown on television, I heard Brigadier-General Kimmitt say: 'There was no evidence of a wedding. There may have been some kind of celebration. Bad people have
celebrations, too.'


I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: 'Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.'