April 10, 2003
You would think seeing cheering Iraqis stomping on a statue of Saddam would bring warm feelings to everyone's hearts. Not so in the case of Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane.
To the uninformed eye, it's hard to tell whether this is jubilation or anarchy.
The Iraqis were so relieved about the end of the bombing (which hasn't stopped) that they've offered handshakes, hugs, and tea to U.S. troops. Looks like jubilation to me.
Sure, the images from Baghdad were inspiring on some levels, but they also were incomplete when it comes to divining the actual hearts and minds of most Iraqi citizens in regard to this war.
Nothing can be what it appears to be. For Kane, cynicism trumps visual reality.
But wondering about the motives of happy Iraqis isn't enough for him. Kane then has to go and rip on the troops that drove Saddam's thugocracy into oblivion.
My problem with our liberating forces wasn't with their stated purpose, but rather with their decorum.
In Kane's world one person's liberators are another's marauders. Our soldiers are people who endured weeks of gunfire to free a people from dictatorship and protect the U.S. from future attacks. After putting up with enemy tanks, snipers, and suicide bombers, our troops deserved to savor their progress. Note, that the troops were lounging in one of Saddam's palaces, built on the suffering of Iraqis.
Real marauders don't make pain-staking efforts to not his civilians. Marauders don't bother with the laws of warfare. Marauders bash their way through things regardless of who gets hurt or killed. Marauders rape, pillage, and collect booty. Mr. Kane, out troops have done so such thing. They've acted with great poise and have displayed tremendous respect for the Iraqi people while being ruthless with its brutal regime. They aren't marauders, they're liberators and protectors.
I won't even bother with Kane's complaint about the renaming of Baghdad International Airport. No need to bother with such pettiness. However, I must address his last point:
But for many who opposed it, the shots of cheering Iraqis and toppled statues do nothing to address the main concerns.
Kane just doesn't get why we had to topple Saddam. It wasn't about Iraq stepping out of line, it was its ABC weapons, its links to terrorism, its past regional aggression, and its threat to the U.S. Iraqi liberation is a wonderful byproduct. Kane and his ilk will look at this as "bullying" but reasonable people view this as justified self-defense.
"Were Iraqis Jubilant the Bombs Stopped?"