Saddam Who? Times Marks 4th Anniversary of "Fall of Baghdad"

Saddam who?

Tuesday's lead story by Edward Wong, on the march in Baghdad by loyalists of radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, marked the day as the four-year anniversary of "Baghdad's Fall"- not the fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Here's the set of lead headlines that greeted Times readers this morning: "Iraq Protesters, Called by Cleric, Say U.S. Must Go - Thousands Support Sadr - Some Sunnis Join Shiites in Event Held 4 Years After Baghdad's Fall."

Wong repeated the phrase in the text: "Residents said that the angry, boisterous demonstration was the largest in Najaf, the heart of Shiite religious power, since the American-led invasion in 2003. It took place on the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, and it was an obvious effort by Mr. Sadr to show the extent of his influence here in Iraq, even though he did not appear at the rally."

Wong's only mention of the murderous dictator removed by the United States came from a protestor who dismissed it as "nothing."

"An Interior Ministry employee in a flowing tan robe, Haider Abdul Rahim Mustafa, 23, said that he had come from Basra 'to demand the withdrawal of the occupier.'

"'The occupier supported Saddam and helped him to become stronger, then removed him because his cards were burned,' he said, using an Arabic expression to note that Saddam Hussein was no longer useful to the United States. 'The fall of Saddam means nothing to us as long as the alternative is the American occupation.'"