Debra J. Saunders

But as long as al-Khedairy and al-Mufti bashed the Bush administration liberally and blamed the U.N. sanctions -- but not Hussein's refusal to live within U.N. guidelines -- for the loss of life in Iraq, the audience wasn't going to complain.

Why? Andrew Apostolou of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, answered, "It is the very simple fact, as one Iraqi exile said to me the other week, that these people hate George W. Bush more than they hate Saddam Hussein."

I asked al-Mufti about her work for Al Thawra. She says she was a freelancer, and never a Baathist Party member, and that Uday Hussein had silenced her for long periods. But even that information was airbrushed from her talk.

Oddly, al-Mufti now boasts that she is unwilling to write as a journalist under the U.S.-led coalition.

Al-Mufti's most compelling argument was that she didn't want to leave her country. She said others shouldn't judge her for taking what work she could get as a journalist.

I asked al-Mufti what she thought of Hussein; she faulted him for turning "a nationalist party into a family party."

That's it? No mention of the Kurds, the 290,000 people the United Nations figures disappeared under Hussein's watch, the women who were raped?

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group Global Exchange, later tells me that she tried to get six Iraqi women for the tour, including one who is strong on human rights. But the coalition only granted these two women visas.

Benjamin asks me not to "paint these women as Baathists, but instead to paint them as nationalists, which they are."

Nationalists. Well, that explains why al-Mufti defended the killings of U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq. But it doesn't explain why anyone considers them to be poster women for peace.

Debra J. Saunders

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