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Sean Penn reports on Iraq ’powder keg’

Actor's account of trip appeared in S.F. newspaper
/ Source: Reuters

Actor Sean Penn’s byline as a foreign correspondent appeared Wednesday in the San Francisco Chronicle, with the Hollywood bad boy warning in a lengthy personal account of his November tour in Iraq that the occupation by U.S. forces there “could ignite a powder keg.”

“People from all sides of the debate acknowledge that the insurgency movement builds every day in manpower and organizational strength,” Penn wrote.

“The Iraqis I speak to say that the U.S. policy of de-Baathification is devoid of consideration of long-term goals, human nature and Arab culture and thus could ignite a powder keg,” Penn warned, referring to efforts to round up former leaders of ex-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.

Despite Penn’s strained relations with journalists, the Chronicle provided a press credential for the Oscar-nominated actor, who had visited Iraq in December 2002 and had in October 2002 used an advertisement in the Washington Post to urge the Bush administration to avoid war.

“I beg you, help save America before yours is a legacy of shame and horror,” Penn wrote in the advertisement, an open letter to  President  Bush.