Images taken from drones flying over the recent massive pro-Hezbollah rally in Baghdad supposedly showed that 14,000 people attended the demonstration.
The organizer of the march, Moqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army, said the crowd totaled one million.
So who are you going to believe? I’d say, “none of the above.”
An Iraqi working for the Los Angeles Times estimated there were at least 100,000 demonstrators. Tellingly, the story in which this estimate appeared said, “American military officials, eager to play down support for Hezbollah, put the figure at 14,000.”
USA Today reported hundreds of thousands. ABC News reported hundreds of thousands. Local police reported hundreds of thousands. The NY Times reported tens of thousands, noting that the protestors filled twenty blocks of a wide boulevard and dozens of side streets.
This is a small sidebar to the increasingly nasty Middle East situation. But once again it indicates how Bush administration policy either is disturbingly incompetent, or disturbingly dishonest. Or, both.
Bush doesn’t like facts. He wants the world to be how he wants the world to be, not how it is. It’d be nice if only 14,000 Iraqis turned out for al-Sadr’s rally. So that’s how the U.S. military made the count turn out. Wrong.
Just like so many other Bush administration policies. When you aren’t willing to see what’s really going on, it’s tough to change reality to your liking.