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Robert Fisk Alan. Pogue FEATURE Interview with History Robert Fisk Talks About Iraq, Afghanistan, and War BY PATRICK TIMMONS 0 tie of the United Kingdom’s most prominent for eign correspondents, Robert Fisk currently reports on the Middle East for The Independent \(www. independent . co . He has received numerous awards for his reporting, including the Amnesty International Overall Media Award Journalist of the Year Awardwhich he received seven times. The son of a decorated World War I veteran who would take him on yearly treks to battle sites, Fisk grew up with a keen sense of 20th-century history. A frequent lecturer on campuses throughout the United States, Fisk was in Austin recently, speaking at the University of Texas. The following excerpts are taken from a long and wide-ranging interview with the Observer. Texas Observer: Where is the opposition to the war in Iraq going to come from in the United States if there are so many problems with reporting in the mainstream press? Robert Fisk: On September 10, 2002, I was at George Mason University in North Carolina and I was invited to student seminars. There were all these very worthy people: academics, activists, ladies with strange buns and guys with long gray hair from Vietnam. And they all said, “How can we build bridges between the mainstream press and activists and the academics?” I replied that first of all, the mainstream press is irredeemable. You are not going to get your point of view over and what you want to say in The New York Times, LA Times or the Washington Post, except maybe in token ways. Second, why do you want to bridge-build with activists? The people you should be talking to are the bellhops and the guys riding Amtrak trains. I gave a lecture at the University of Southern California six weeks ago and I got six bellhops to cometwo of whom were going to be called up. They should have truck drivers coming to lectures… the poor who go to the military to get educated and also get sent to Iraq. The rather esoteric strain of the academic world in the United States doesn’t want to talkwith some exceptions to the hoi polloi. TO: Should anything be done about Saddam Hussein? RF: We should never have created him. TO: But now that we have? RF: Ah, that’s what they say about Osama bin Laden too. And the mujahedin. We created the mujahedin. Look, when Qaddafi first took over in 1969 from King Idris in Libya, the [British] Foreign Office was very happy. When the generals overthrew King Farouk in 1952 in Egypt we loved the idea, And the British Prime Minister Anthony Eden was very keen on President Nasser until Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal. 6 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 2/28/03