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Grateful Iraqi Sculptor Email

Summary:
Email claims that a grateful Iraqi sculptor created statues as a way of thanking US soldiers for liberating Iraq (Full commentary below.)



Status:
Statues are real, but the description is misleading and inaccurate

Example:(Submitted, November 2007)
Subject: FW: THE STATUE

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS? WHERE THIS IS? READ AND LEARN ABOUT THE STATUE


THIS IS GREAT! and something every American should see. What is it? See below below the photo........... Have a great day. God bless.

This statue currently stands outside the Iraqi palace, now home to the 4th Infantry division. It will eventually be shipped home and put in the memorial museum in Fort Hood, Texas.

The statue was created by an Iraqi artist named Kalat, who for years was forced by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that dotted Baghdad.

Kalat was so grateful for the Americans liberation of his country; he melted 3 of the heads of the fallen Saddam and made the statue as a memorial to the American soldiers and their fallen warriors. Kalat worked on this memorial night and day for several months.

To the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms.

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 is making a difference. Thank you!!

Send this to at least 1/2 of your address book!!!!!









Commentary:
Has a talented Iraqi artist created bronze statues of a grieving American soldier and a comforting child out of gratitude for the US lead liberation of his country? Not really!

The statues are real, as is the artist. It is also true that the statues were made from bronze obtained by melting down effigies of Saddam. However, the sculptor, Khalid Alussy, created the statues because he was paid to do so, not because he was grateful to American soldiers. In fact, an article by Yochi J. Dreazen of the Wall Street Journal notes that Mr. Alussy is critical of the role played by the United States in Iraq and is bitter about a relative killed in a US rocket attack.

Also, the artist was not exactly "forced by Saddam Hussein" to make statues of the dictator, although he may indeed have been afraid of the consequences of refusing. In fact, he was commissioned, and paid, by the Iraqi regime to create the statues.

The Wall Street Journal Article notes:
"I made the statues of Saddam even though I didn't want to because I needed money for my family and to finish my education," he said. "And I decided to make statues for the Americans for the exact same reasons."

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," Fuss said.
Sgt. Maj. Charles Fuss and other officers from the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division commissioned the statues as a tribute to soldiers lost in Iraq.
Sculputers at Fort Hood
The sculptures are now in Fort Hood, Texas.


The sculptor was paid well for his work. He received a total of $18000 for the commission.

The email claims that the mainstream media has avoided the story because it is "heart warming and praise worthy" and lacks shock value. However, news outlets have not reported these "heart warming and praise worthy" elements because they are simply untrue, not because of some callous decision regarding their perceived value as news. It is unclear who penned this factually mangled version of events, but it is highly inaccurate and misleading, and forwarding it will serve no good purpose.

That said, these statues are indeed a fitting and finely rendered tribute to soldiers lost in the Iraq conflict, regardless of the true motives behind their creation.

Reference:
Elements of Iraq fill bronze tribute to fallen soldiers


Last updated: 26th November 2007
First published: July 2004

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen