Monday, July 30, 2007

Connecting the Dots: Iraq's Championship in the Asian Cup is also our victory

Iraq's national soccer team beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the Asian Cup final on Sunday.

One can argue, that not only was the country of Iraq liberated, but so was its sports culture. As a quick reminder, reflect on Uday Hussein's 'maximizing athletic performance' techniques before he was, um, relieved of his duties:
...As president of Iraq's Olympic committee, the president's son was the country's sports czar. According to several accounts from players, he turned his sadistic obsessions on the national soccer team.

After drawing or losing games, players were punished. A missed penalty or other poor play entailed a ritual head shaving at the Stadium of the People, or being spat on by Uday's bodyguards.

A series of poor passes, carefully counted, could result in a player's being forced to stand before the president's son in the dressing room, hands at his side, while he was punched or slapped in the face an equal number of times.

But those were the lesser miseries. Some players endured long periods in a military prison, beaten on their backs with electric cables until blood flowed. Other punishments included "matches" kicking concrete balls around the prison yard in 130-degree heat, and 12-hour sessions of push-ups, sprints and other fitness drills, wearing heavy military fatigues and boots...

Sadly, the captain for the winning soccer team didn't delve into such reflection (emphasis added):
The captain of Iraq's victorious football teams has said he will not return to his home country because he fears being killed.

Younis Mahmoud scored the only goal of the game with a header in the 71st-minute to give win the Asia Cup for Iraq.

But afterwards, the 24-year-old said he would not be returning to Iraq as he feared for his life if he went home to celebrate the victory...

..."I want America to go out," he said. "Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, but out. I wish the American people didn't invade Iraq and hopefully it will be over soon."...


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