Start - Sean Penn in Iraq - 2002 -  2003 - Links & Infos



We see chaos in the Baghdad streets - but no WMDs

At first, people did not hear much 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 political ad.
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 Lincoln:
'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). 


Irak in December 2003

When I told my wife and daughter, 'I 'm thinking of going back to Iraq',
they rolled their eyes and said 'Uh-huh'.

One year after his 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 14, 2004 (SFC - Artikel I) and Januar 15, 2004 (SFC - 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 high politics?

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 iraqi streets, with students 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 military ....

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, there's 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.
(Open 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 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
heard ...?

  Sean Penn i Irak - 2002

Iraq- Links & Infos