chaos in the
Baghdad streets - but no WMDs
did not hear
more about Sean Penns stay in the Iraq ... Until 30 May 2003, thus after the
official end of the third Iraq war, when he wrote a further open letter -
this time in the New York Times and again booked and paid from him as
And here Sean Penn is telling for the first time about his journey to the
Iraq, his reasons for the journey and he reported about his experiences. And
he articulates himself:
'We see Exxon. We see Bechtel. We see Halliburton. We see Bush, Cheney,
Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell, Rice, Perle, Ashcroft, Murdoch, many. We see no
WMDs. We see dead young Americans. We see no WMDs. We see dead Iraqi
civilians. We see no WMDs. We see chaos in the Baghdad streets. But no WMDs.'
And also this article does not
lack unintentional humor, when Sean Penn is making fun of president Bush's
stupid 'Mission Accomplished' action on the aircraft carrier Abraham
'This is his debutante ball, isn't it? This young man of privilege, who
never had the curiosity to set foot outside our country before becoming our
President, was dressed in his 'Top Gun' jumper, flown in, onto the flight
deck of the LINCOLN. I didn't need a second viewing of this one. Tom Cruise
was fine by me ...' (I realy enjoyed that part!)
In this ad Sean Penn explains,
that one of the reasons, he made this journey was 'my need to replace
television images with a real sense of place and people'.
And his impression of the Iraq was 'the most decimated, starved, diseased
and polluted place I had ever witnessed.'
Sean Penn talks about things,
rarely discussed in the media: The influence of the large concerns on the
Bush government, the attacks on free expression of opinion and the foreign
politics, supported by lies, which shows up clearly in not finding any WMD's.
(read the complete article:
Kilroy's still here - PDF).
told my wife and daughter, 'I 'm thinking of going back to Iraq',
they rolled their eyes and said 'Uh-huh'.
One year after
first Iraq attendance and briefly before catching Saddam Hussein Sean Penn
visited the Iraq a second time. And this time not only as a private person
but also with a public mission, because this time he traveled as a jounalist
on behalf of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The two articles about Sean
Penns second journey to the Iraq where printed in the San Francisco
Chronicle on January
- Artikel I)
- Artikel II).
According to my opinion both articles are written very close to life and
very sensitive. One goes with Sean Penn on an uncertain journey, suffers
with him hunger and thirst, fears for his live and here and there starts to
laugh out loud, because the reports are written with a great sence of humor,
despite all martial disaster. On the other side, his articles may not always
be politically correct.
For example he writes about the
after-war-situation in Iraq:
'If military intervention in Iraq has been a grave misjudgment, it has
been one resulting in thousands upon thousands of deaths, and done so
without any credible evidence of imminent threat to the United States. Our
flag has been waving, it seems, in servicing a regime change significantly
benefiting U.S. corporations.'
And therefore it is only
natural that again this journey is accompanied by heavily criticism.
Specially the 'real' journalists felt insulted. How could an ingenious actor
(without question !), be so forward to mix up as a journalist into
After all -
he is no expert!
At this point we have to ask
ourselves one question: Does he have to be an expert at all? Sean
Penn stressed again and again that he was acting primarily as a citizen of
the USA, as a patriot and as a father. And he is above all independent -
contrary to a professional journalist, who is more or less responsible to
his publishers. Sean Penn spoke for example with the common people on the
and with members of staff of the UN. The journalists are usually staying
within their assigned military area and there they have unrestricted
entrance - so far they are not reporting anything negative about the
Well Sean Penn is definitely no
expert in the area of the iraqi politic, the historical background of the
Iraq and the economic entwinements - however nobody expects this! His
qualities are far more important for the common people: unrestricted
independence and no direct entangling in this game of powers. As someone
commentated so beautifully: 'Yes, Sean Penn actually visited the Iraq -
and that is more, than many journalists can claim for themselves.'
Sean Penn's second journey
definitely earns all our respect. Critics accuse Sean Penn of
self-manifestation and arrogance. But, honestly, would he really risk his
life for a better profile?
Well, you can answer this question for yourself ...
And you can be sure, that
also in the future, Sean Penn doesn't mince matters and will
not back-frighten to advance his opinion.
So, for example, in October 2004 he wrote an
open letter to the creators of 'Team America', Trey Parker and Matt Stone,
who had explained in public: 'If you dont know what youre talking about,
no shame in not voting.'
Thereupon Sean Penn answered, that it is, on the contrary,
very important to vote, and he didn't think that it was very clever of
the two creators, to encourage people to be irresponsible. In addition he
invited the two to accompany him on a further Iraq journey.
Letter - Team America )
An open letter to the president ... four and a half years later
On the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq
Sean Penn made some remarks about his point of view at Congresswoman Barbara
Lee's Town Hall Meeting and then posted them to his blog at huffingtonpost.com.
Here is an excerpt:
"Four and a half years ago, I addressed the issue of war in an open letter to
our President. Today I would like to again speak to him and his, directly. Mr.
President, Mr. Cheney, Ms. Rice et al: Indeed America has a rich history of
greatness -indeed, America is still today a devastating military superpower. And
because, in the absence of a competent or brave Congress, of a mobilized
citizenry, that level of power lies in your hands, it is you who have misused it
to become our country's and our constitution's most devastating enemy. You have
broken our country and our hearts. The needless blood on your hands, and
therefore, on our own, is drowning the freedom, the security, and the dream that
America might have been, once healed of and awakened by, the tragedy of
September 11, 2001."
An open letter to the president - four and a half years later
Before we dismiss the activism of our stars, we should consider its unique
benefits: What other individual have the podium and the power to speak out
in an entirely individualistic way - and be