Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chuck Norris A Fan Favorite and Hero For Iraqi Police

By Heather Chin (March 17, 2008)

The legend of Chuck Norris has crossed media platforms, but has now proven able to cross continents and even cultures.

Best known for his martial arts skills and tough-guy image on television and in films, Chuck Norris has apparently extended his fan base to Iraq, where some members of Iraq’s security forces have learned about the Hollywood action star from U.S. military troops.

A report by Reuters describes how the admiration for and mystique of Norris, who arose to fame fighting Bruce Lee in the 1972 film “The Way of the Dragon,” and who has visited Iraq several times and was made an honorary Marine last year, has permeated the social culture on U.S. military bases in Iraq.

There is a small cardboard shrine that bears an autographed photo of Norris at a U.S. military helicopter hub in Baghdad, where yellow and hot pink post-it notes declare, jokingly, his manliness and strength. Similar notes have been written on toilet walls across camps in Iraq and neighboring Kuwait.

Known as Chuck Norris “facts,” these sayings have long been a hit on the Internet (see and according to Reuters, dozens of U.S. military personnel could recite at least one “fact” on request. These included the likes of “There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; Chuck Norris lives in Oklahoma.”

The Reuters report also describes how the strong fighter persona that Norris presents on film and in public appeals to the Iraqi security men. When American troops bestowed the nickname of “Chuck Norris” to Iraqi police trainer Mohammed Rasheed, who sports a handle-bar moustache that gives him a vague resemblance to Norris, he was at first baffled and then honored.

“Truthfully, I didn’t know who he was. I asked the Americans, and they said he was a great fighter, and that’s why they named me after him,” explained Rasheed. “They showed me a video, and it’s true, he’s a great fighter.”

Khaled Hussein, who is another police trainer, agreed, saying that Norris was a role model for the police in Falluja, a city in central Iraq which, until 2007, was an al Qaeda stronghold and the scene of violent battles with security forces.

“I’ve seen his videos [and] he’s a hero,” said Hussein, referring to Norris’ long-running TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger. “He saves the city, he protects women and children, and he fights crime wherever it is. We should all be like Chuck Norris.”

No comments: