|Man Without Qualities|
Monday, April 07, 2003
The Associated Press is reporting a remarkably widespread denial through Arab countries of what is obviously happening in Baghdad:
Over croissant and coffee at a cafe, Saudi accounting instructor Haitham al-Bawardi, 30, said he was skeptical about the reports [f US marines in central Baghdad].
"How can we know this is for real and not just coalition propaganda?" he said. "We had hoped Saddam would inflict as many casualties on the invaders as possible to teach them a lesson and make them think twice before striking another Arab country." ...
Abdelfattah, 41, a worker in a regional city council, said the reports were "all lies." "It is a psychological war," Abdelfattah said. "If it is true, then it is only a military strategy, to lure the American forces into a trap." Abdelfattah insisted that Saddam will fight to the end. "He will remain standing until he dies while fighting for Iraq," Abdelfattah said. ...
Ali Oqla Orsan, head of the Arab Writers' Union, described the U.S. incursion as a "propaganda parade," and said he hoped the allied troops would face "total defeat." ....
In Muscat, Oman, scores of men grew angry as they watched the news from Baghdad. One shouted, "Where is your army, Saddam?" Another was skeptical about the report, grumbling, "These Americans are relying on false propaganda!" ....
Mohammad Abdolghani, 36, an Afghan worker in Iran, said the United States, despite its claims, would not help rebuild Iraq. "Americans didn't do anything good in our country after toppling the Taliban. Now, I think they will not do also anything for the Iraqi people," he said. "Americans are arrogant. I hope they suffer heavy casualties so that they will not invade other countries."
In Lebanon, most citizens stayed close to their TV sets or radios to follow the news. Many refused to believe the reports, opting instead for Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf's version of events, in which he denied that Americans had entered the capital. "The Americans have been lying a lot since the beginning of this campaign so I don't believe them," said Hisham Moniyyeh, 27, who runs a currency exchange shop in the southern port city of Sidon. ...
A Saudi university student insisted Saddam would prevail.
"The Iraqi people will resist and turn Baghdad into another Vietnam for the Americans, a trap from which they will not emerge alive," said Saleh al-Nuaim.
But why should any of this be surprising? In the United States there are people who think the moon landing was a fake, Hollywood production. And it would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between people who believe that what they are seeing in Baghdad is fake, on one hand, and people who think that global warming is a firm reality and that the Kyoto Accord is a really important step to stopping the coming disaster, on the other hand.
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