It would, I think, be a very, very . . . er, unusual experience to serve as the public spokesman for a transparently dishonest regime or organization. (See this film, for example.) I expect that you would have to erect high and firm walls to keep the truth out if you wanted to succeed at your task. As the famous muckraking writer Upton Sinclair observed, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
I recall reading an article in the Wall Street Journal, many years ago, about the Tobacco Institute of America. The Institute, it said, pays top dollar in order to recruit the very best public relations graduates in the country right after they leave school. They’re young, creative, and energetic. But they tend to resign within just a few years, despite the high salaries. Why? Because, in the end, they can’t endure the lying, can no longer live with themselves or sleep at night.
But at least one might be able, in the interim, to serve as the butt of jokes for amused outsiders.
With that in mind, here’s a walk down memory lane with Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, former Iraqi information minister, who is also known in the United States as “Baghdad Bob” and in the United Kingdom as “Comical Ali” (the latter a pun on the nickname of the late Iraqi defense minister and mass murderer Ali Hassan al-Majid, “Chemical Ali”). Don’t be worried by this thread’s title: Mr. al-Sahhaf is now enjoying happy and well-earned retirement in the United Arab Emirates, with his loving family. Enjoy!