A few weeks back I raised my glass, a 1986 Chateau Lafleur I should add, among a few dear friends and colleagues in the Upper East Side’s La Goulue, and proposed a toast to the demise of Saddam Yazid al Majd al Takriti and his gang of thieves. I stated passionately that; the Iraqis will be welcoming the Anglo-American invasion and the whole thing will be over in one week. How pathetically wrong I was. The wine, however, was excellent.
It appears now that a few grungy Iraqi soldiers with vintage garments and 1950’s Kalashnikov’s are holding up here and there. Surprise, surprise, I should add, it seems that the fog of war – or more appropriately, the sandstorm of war – had so fuzzied the judgments of some people (this unassuming writer included), that we all forgot to ask the Iraqis if they actually wanted to be liberated by Dr. Wolfowitz & Co.
Sure enough Cato Institute, or the acclaimed xenophobe-du-jour Ariana Fallaci, might continue to tell us that in fact everyone in Middle East, apart from for those wretched Palestinians, would love to be “liberated” and “democratized”. The Palestinians, it would be argued with a straight face, actually enjoy the occupation.
In his 1987 novel The Short-Timers, Gustav Hasford famously wrote; “We are here to help the Vietnamese because inside every gook, there is an American trying to get out. It's a hardball world, son”. That sadly is the nucleus of this “war of liberation” non-sense being paraded on our TV’s and Newspapers. If getting rid of Saddam’s brutal regime and his weapons of mass destruction was the bona fide issue, it should have been done in 1980 when he sadistically attacked Iran. Sure, Iraq will be better without Saddam, even a five-year-old would agree with that, but liberated? Please!
The fall of Saddam is a forgone and a welcomed conclusion. Nevertheless, instead of the ever-jinxed Iraqis, it is the Western public opinion that is shocked and awed. The argument is made rather fervently these days; that if the Iraqis are so unreceptive to be “liberated” by the so-called coalition of the willing, which wonderfully includes El Salvador and exotic Micronesia, then how are we to “liberate” those sneaky Iranians. Surely they will not be too keen about it either.
So ladies and gentlemen; do not cancel your summer vacations to Tehran yet. They might take out Bushehr nuclear plant just to be fair to this eminent member of the “axis”, but regime change after all this mess in Iraq, forgetaboutit.