Wednesday, December 20, 2006

CPT Jamil Hussein, the Iraqi Tom Joad?

I can’t find my old copy of Grapes of Wrath, but I recall Tom Joad’s climactic monologue as he left his family in the wake of a killing. When he farewells his mother, perhaps for the last time, Tom Joad symbolizes a persevering American spirit in times of great hardship. He is Everyman.

Is the mysterious “Captain Jamil Hussein” a man much in the same vein as Joad? If so, perhaps Jamil delivered a monologue to his beloved AP counterparts, as he departed to witness more dramatic events to corroborate the tone and content of their stories (and subsequently vanished), that went something like this:

'I'll be everywhere - wherever you look. 'Wherever there's a saddening turn of events worthy of reporting above the fold, I will be there to provide a quote. Whenever there’s a rumor of Sunnis being lit aflame by Shiite death squads, I’ll be there to corroborate it. If I can think of something disheartening that will cause your readers to lose spirit, I will tell you. If you need someone to embellish, I will be there. Especially on a slow news day. You don’t even have to leave the Green Zone, or your office in New York for that matter, because I will be there to check the facts for you. I’ll be there, see?


So yes, perhaps Joad and Jamil are two peas in a pod. Ultimately, it may be proven that both served the same purpose: to advance rich, elegantly crafted fiction.

My apologies to the late, great John Steinbeck, and Henry Fonda as well.

Post Script: Maybe Jamil Hussein is more like Greg Packer than Tom Joad???

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