BLOG ALERT: Response to Arianna Huffington’s Attack on Iraqi Kurds

Commentator Arianna Huffington Makes Disparaging Remarks About Plight of Iraqi Kurds Under Saddam Hussein

* Chairman of Kurdistan Development Corporation Invites Ms. Huffington to Visit Iraqi Kurdistan to Gain a Better Understanding for Herself

In an appearance last night on the O’Reilly Factor, commentator Arianna Huffington, who runs the blog website, www.HuffingtonPost.com dismissed the plight of the Kurds under dictator Saddam Hussein. Huffington also attacked a television ad campaign by the Kurds to thank Americans for helping liberate them from Hussein’s reign of tyranny.

Huffington inaccurately stated that, “I think the Kurds were free before we invaded Iraq. But how have the conditions of the Kurds changed since we invaded Iraq?”

When shown a television commercial by Mr. O’Reilly titled “Thank You America” Ms. Huffington responded by saying, “I think that spot is sad. It is sad to use people in the interests of promoting an agenda.” She added that in her belief, “The Kurdistan — the position — the position of the Kurds has not changed one iota since we invaded Iraq. What has
changed is the position of Americans, who are less safe because we invaded Iraq.”

The ad in question can be viewed for yourself here: www.TheOtherIraq.com

Responding to the comments made by Huffington, Ms. Bayan Rahman, Chairman of the Kurdistan Development Corporation, made the following statement:

“I was saddened to see the comments made by Arianna Huffington on the ‘O’Reilly Factor” television show. One of the reasons we started our public relations efforts here in the United States, was to tell the story of Iraqi Kurdistan that has until now not been told.”

“Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian Kurds were killed by Saddam Hussein. Over 5,000 in one chemical weapons attack against the Kurdish city of Halabja. Even after the United States and Great Britain provided air protection with the “No Fly Zone,” Saddam’s tanks still stood pointed at our cities and our people.

“But now the people of Iraqi Kurdistan are free. We’ve implemented a flourishing democracy. We are rebuilding our nation from the devastation brought about by Saddam Hussein. And now we’ve passed free market economic reforms to encourage American companies to come and help rebuild Iraqi Kurdistan into a vibrant bastion of freedom and success in the Middle East.

“I invite Ms. Huffington to come to Kurdistan, as our guest, so that she may learn the truth and join our efforts to help tell the story of The Other Iraq.”

– Ms. Bayan Rahman
Chairman, Kurdistan Development Corporation
www.TheOtherIraq.com

A copy of the transcript from last night’s O’Reilly Factor follows:

HUFFINGTON: I think Iraq has been a tragic disaster.

O’REILLY: OK. I want to play you a spot that’s running on FOX News right now, and I want your reaction. Roll tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Saddam’s goal was to bury every living Kurd. He failed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you!

ANNOUNCER: The Kurds of Iraqi Kurdistan just want to say thank you for helping us win our freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

O’REILLY: How do you react to that?

HUFFINGTON: I think it’s sad. I want to know who’s paying for it. I want to know who…

O’REILLY: The Kurdistan government is. You think it’s propaganda?

HUFFINGTON: Of course it’s propaganda.

O’REILLY: You don’t think the Kurds are free because of us?

HUFFINGTON: I think the Kurds were free before we invaded Iraq. But how have the conditions of the Kurds changed since we invaded Iraq?

O’REILLY: All right. So you think that’s a total — that’s a total lie?

HUFFINGTON: I think that spot is sad. It is sad to use people in the interests of promoting an agenda.

O’REILLY: Yes, but the Kurdistan — the Kurdistan government…

HUFFINGTON: The Kurdistan — the position — the position of the Kurds has not changed one iota since we invaded Iraq. What has changed is the position of Americans, who are less safe because we invaded Iraq.

O’REILLY: All right. I don’t — I disagree with you. I think Saddam persecuted the Kurds. I think they have a free — and — so what?

HUFFINGTON: So what? Our job is not to go there and save the Kurds. Our job to keep Americans safe.

O’REILLY: All right. OK. So what, the Kurds are free.

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