Flying the flag of freedom
Scenes of American tanks cruising the streets of Baghdad and U.S. soldiers searching Saddam Hussein’s palaces are a welcome tonic to the tension of war.
It seems clear today the battle of Baghdad, while it may drag on house to house and sniper by sniper for weeks, will not be the pitched battle between armies that seemed inevitable only a week ago.
From individual news reports and the Pentagon’s overview, resistance to the invasion of Iraq’s capital city has been isolated, disorganized and sporadic. The tide seems to be turning, as well, on popular opinion among the country’s residents, who are beginning to sense the value of freedom and rise up against their Ba’ath Party tormenters.
Against a mosaic of death and destruction, there is the comical figure of Iraq’s Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf denying that coalition troops had come near the city, had captured the airport and, finally, had entered the city’s center itself. Probably the reason the coalition has let his press briefings go on is to reinforce among the Arab world just how wrong the Saddam regime could be, on every level.
In addition, there is much to cheer in the valiant and professional work done by U.S. and British soldiers to efficiently neutralize cities the size of Los Angeles and San Francisco in a little over two weeks.
Perhaps the most significant source of pride, however, should be reserved for a picture we have not seen — troops raising American flags over palaces or government buildings. They are capturing Baghdad and Basra not for the American people, but for the Iraqi people. This is a liberation force, not an occupying army.
They may still be a long ways from coming home, but turning the country over to a free people is the next significant step.