|Not happy, George.|
Orwellian wisdom suggests that Socialism is the embodyment
of a boot stamping on a human face forever. But the boot was on the other foot
in Baghdad as residents gleefully jumped on the face of the Socialist Baath
Party leader's statue, pulled over by a US armored military vehicle. Saddam
seems to have bitten the dust.
21 days into the war, the oppressive regime was rendered disfunctional -
even the ubiquitious Information Minister had vanished from the screen of Al
Jazeera. No more daily denial of continuous military defeats in the face
of the Coalition forces. As Iraqis danced in the streets and
welcomed US troops, the US felt
it had its vindication.
Less than totally happy about the collapse of the Saddamites are many
Arabs. Not only did they have to face the reality of the unexpectedly quick
fall of Baghdad (which most people expected to last many weeks), they then had
to face the TV images of Iraqi jubilation and destruction of Saddam's statues.
The Middle-Eastern strong man, idolized for his continued defiance in the
face of America went down without a serious struggle. All the rhetoric about
entering the gates of hell at Baghdad was shown to be the usual Arabic
rhetoric. Lots of Arabic bravado, but an inability to back it up. As George W
himself might say: Big hat, no cows.
The US got to Baghdad, spent two days regrouping, and went straight in.
And even that only took so long because of their care to minimize civilian
casualties. In a real war, they
would have simply carpet-bombed the cities for six weeks, and then moved in to
get the oil.
The Arabic bravado will continue - the favored rhetoric about the
viper's nest of the infidels being washed away in their own blood, and their
lies, which are the hissing of vipers being silenced by the mighty cries of
Jihad of the brave martyrs of Islam or whatever.
But many people in Middle-East now have to face the reality of what they
have actually known all along. The only reason they are still there is because
the US has chosen to tolerate them. Americans choose to buy oil because they
are unwilling to take it by force, not because they
unable to do so.
This realization is unlikely to make the US many friends in Syria and Iran,
but will achieve other purposes. Shock and Awe was a poor tactic in Iraq, but
is an effective outcome for the rest of the Middle-East. This is what America
does in a toy war. It might be best not to find out what happens in the real
Both the fanatics and the governments of Syria, Iran, and even Saudi, have
been put on notice. Anger the sleeping giant at your peril.