Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Photograph shows a statue of a
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2004]
Origins: The sculpture pictured above is real, and it was indeed crafted by an Iraqi sculptor from bronze recovered by melting down statues of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, but the accompanying explanatory text is quite misleading: The Iraqi sculptor was not "forced by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam," he did not produce the memorial shown because he was "so grateful that the Americans liberated his country," and the monument was not his idea. Members of the
As part of the U.S. Army's
Needing a sculptor to carry out his vision,
The officers didn't question Mr. Alussy further about his political views. Had they pressed him, they might have learned that he's harshly critical of the U.S. and bitter over an American rocket attack during the war that killed his uncle. In an interview, he says he thinks the war was fought for oil and holds the U.S. responsible for the violence and unemployment that have plagued Iraq since.In July 2003, Army engineers blew up the two Saddam statues, cut them into pieces, melted them down, and delivered them to
"I made the statues of Saddam — even though I didn't want
Mr. Alussy's initial asking price was far higher than the officers had expected. He blamed the steep price of bronze. So the Americans decided to recycle the bronze Hussein-on-horseback twins. "We figured we were going to blow them up anyway, so why not take the bronze and use it for our own statues?" recalls Sgt. Fuss. "That way we could take something that honored Saddam and use it to remember all of those we lost getting rid of him."
Without having to supply the metal, Mr. Alussy agreed to do the job for $8,000. By comparison, the former regime paid him the equivalent of several hundred dollars for his work on the Hussein statues. To finance the project, Sgt. Fuss publicized it in the task force's internal newspaper and asked officers to get soldiers to contribute $1 each. Within weeks, he raised $30,000.1
As the work neared completion, Sgt. Fuss and the division's commander, Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, decided it needed a clearer connection to Iraq. The general suggested adding a small child to symbolize Iraq's new future, Sgt. Fuss says. When they told the artist they wanted another statue, Mr. Alussy demanded $10,000 more. "He learned capitalism real fast," Sgt. Fuss says.1After four months' worth of night and weekend labor,
Somewhere along the line, this coda was added to the original
Do you know why we don't hear about this in the news? Because it is heart warming and praise worthy. The media avoids it because it does not have the shock effect that a flashed breast or controversy of politics does. But we can do something about it. We can pass this along to as many people as we can in honor of all our brave military who are making a difference.As Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News pointed out in a later column, the Kalat story and photo ran in that paper on
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.