Washington Post Quotes Iraqi on VT Shooting -- Praising Gun Control of Saddam Hussein

April 18th, 2007 7:27 AM

For the second day, The Washington Post rounded up hostile global opinion toward America’s gun culture in a Molly Moore story headlined "Va. Killings Widely Seen as Reflecting a Violent Society: World Reaction Mixes Condolences With Criticism of Policies." But Moore’s article turned unintentionally comic when she quoted an Iraqi praising the gun-control policies of....Saddam Hussein. "But America has terrorism and they are exporting it to us. We did not have this violence in the Saddam era because the law was so tough on guns."

Perhaps it’s not surprising for a liberal newspaper to use a terrible mass shooting as an opportunity for pro-Saddam Iraqis to condemn how the United States has ruined their paradise. But it’s hardly a poster for the Brady Campaign’s gun-control aims – and Saddam’s dictatorship is hardly a model of nonviolence. (It can, however, illustrate the gun-rights crowd’s belief in guns as a bulwark against dictatorship.) Moore’s Iraqi section came about halfway through the article:

Nowhere, perhaps, were foreign reactions to the Virginia shooting more impassioned than in Iraq, where many residents blame the United States for the daily killings in their schools, streets and markets.

"It is a little incident if we compare it with the disasters that have happened in Iraq," said Ranya Riyad, 19, a college student in Baghdad. "We are dying every day."

"They are always saying that the Arabs and Muslims are behind the terrorism and the killing," said Hussein Kadhum, 26, a traffic policeman in the heavily Shiite city of Najaf, south of Baghdad. "But America has terrorism and they are exporting it to us. We did not have this violence in the Saddam era because the law was so tough on guns."

Other than that, the most virulent anti-American opinion forwarded in Moore’s article came from Argentina:

"Massacre in the Paradise of Weapons," declared the headline in the Buenos Aires daily newspaper Pagina/12. In an accompanying article, Dario Kosovsky of the Argentine Network for Disarmament said he believes students who commit mass murder are following the example of the U.S. government, which advocates "the use of violence to achieve liberty."

Moore’s dispatch from Paris began:

Officials, newspaper columnists and citizens around the world Tuesday described the Virginia Tech massacre as the tragic reflection of an America that fosters violence at home and abroad, even as it attempts to dictate behavior to the rest of the world.

From European countries with strict gun-control laws to war-ravaged Iraq, where dozens of people are killed in shootings and bombings each day, foreigners and their news media used the university attack to condemn what they depicted as U.S. policies to arm friends, attack enemies and rely on violence rather than dialogue to settle disputes.

Early on, Moore noted that several Western nations have also been subject to gun violence, but it’s not as controversial, since they all followed up with gun-ownership crackdowns:

Some countries -- Britain, Germany, Canada and Australia among them -- have experienced events of mass gun murder in recent years. The Virginia killings generally seemed not to reignite debate over those killings, which in many instances resulted in tougher gun-control laws, an issue raised by several foreign officials Tuesday.