This morning, one of America’s leading leftwing, dovish, anti-American, quasi-anti-Semitic national newspapers carried this opening phrase in its front-page coverage: “Far from being hailed immediately as liberators, invading U.S. and British forces in southern Iraq are facing deep hostility and gunfire from some residents…”
These words by our own Wall Street Journal was echoed by the reporting in other world newspapers, including a front-page story in the hawkish Washington Post, which I also attach below.
It’s also interesting to note that Saddam Hussein, who has already been reported dead or gravely injured up to a dozen separate times by our brilliant conservative media pundits, appeared on Iraqi TV, hailing the recent successes of his troops. Perhaps I’m overly demonstrating my dovish biases, but he looked reasonably healthy for someone who’d recently been killed.
We also apparently lost two of our top-quality Apache attack helicopters to small arms fire, while another Blackhawk went down in Afghanistan. The latter was clearly due entirely to mechanical failure, having no connection whatsoever to the simultaneous reports of American fighting with Taliban guerillas. Strangely enough, mechanical failures among American aircraft seem to have begun rising sharply in areas of American fighting.
As a broader overview, last night’s Jim Lehrer Newshour presented a useful discussion with three retired military officers, including one Patrick Lang, a former special-forces Colonel with intelligence and Iraq experience, who seemed particularly shrewd and knowledgeable.
In particular, he pointed out that our entire Iraqi military strategy had been predicated on the assumption that Iraq in general and the Shiite south in particular, would be a “benevolent environment,” namely one strongly favorable to our “liberating” troops. Instead, the early indications seemed to show small-scale guerilla activity by resisting Iraqi units, cutting our supply lines and harassing our troops (including their capture of the POWs shown on worldwide TV).
One or two days does not make a clear pattern. But it is interesting that American and other reporters provide these unmistakable signs of considerable ambivalence or even hostility in the local population. Given how many brutal massacres Saddam had inflicted on these local Shiites, this does not provide encouraging indication of what we will encounter once we reach the central portion of the country, containing the much more loyal Sunni population.
We should also remember that nearly every Iraqi family owns firearms. As our NRA friends never fail to remind us, such factors would play an effective role if America were occupied by a foreign army.
All of these developments seem quite, quite remarkable and unexpected to me. The notion of American troops—American troops participating in a military operation officially titled “Iraqi Freedom” no less—not being welcomed as heroic liberators bringing Jeffersonian Democracy and Feminist Rights to Mesopotamia is unexpected to any dedicated reader of the Weekly Standard, and its leading lights such as Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, not to mention their close friends Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, David Frum, and their huge brethren of mostly Jewish, mostly New Yorker rightwing journalist-intellectuals, all of whom mysteriously managed themselves to avoid military service.
It simply defies my understanding that affluent New York Jewish/agnostic intellectuals could fail to perfectly predict the behavior of primitive, impoverished Muslim peasants located on the other side of the world.
In fact, it seems obvious to me (or any other WSJ subscriber) that the Iraqis are simply confused about their proper response to an invading foreign army of Christians. Perhaps our best solution is to have our military forces produce 1,000,000 Arabic translated copies of recent issues of the Weekly Standard, and bombard all of Iraq with these.
Better still, let’s save time by just reprinting the issues in English, and dropping them in that format. We could then draft all the WSJ editors and their their fellow neocon chickenhawks and drop them into Baghdad ahead of our troops to serve as field-interpreters able to arrange the appropriate Iraqi surrender.
- U.S. Troops Aren’t Welcomed By Everyone in Southern Iraq
Wall Street Journal, Monday, March 24, 2003, FRONT PAGE
- U.S. Losses Expose Risks, Raise Doubts About Strategy
Washington Post, Monday, March 24, 2003, FRONT PAGE