Jewish World Review March 24, 2003 / 20 Adar II, 5763

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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European media and former 'human shields' are beginning to get it


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | "Coming into Basra as part of a massive military convoy, I encountered a stream of young men, dressed in what appeared to be Iraqi army uniforms, applauding the U.S. Marines as they swept past in tanks," David Willis, the British Broadcasting Corporation's correspondent in southern Iraq, reported Saturday night.

It must have pained him to do it. No Western broadcast news organization outside of France has been as vociferously anti-American as has the BBC. Andrew Sullivan calls it the "Baghdad Broadcasting Corp."

The Independent and the Guardian are two of the most left-wing of British newspapers. Their editorial pages and columnists strongly have denounced President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and war with Iraq. But their reporters "embedded" with U.S. and U.K. troops are reporting the same things Willis saw:

"As a huge British convoy crossed into Iraq yesterday, hundreds of children came to greet it," the Independent's Paul Harris reported Sunday. "As the troops moved past small boys ran up to the windows smiling and grinning. Older men stood and watched. Occasionally they gave a thumbs-up signal." "Iraqi civilians lined the streets and cheered American and British forces moving up from the south," the Guardian acknowledged.

"You're late. What took you so long?" the Guardian quoted one Iraqi as saying. "God help you become victorious...I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand."

The Telegraph's Olga Craig witnessed the Iraqi surrender at Um Qasr. "We never wanted to fight - only the diehards did," she quoted one Iraqi soldier as saying. "We hate Saddam, but we are scared," said another.

These reports come from southern Iraq, populated overwhelming by Shi'ia Muslims long oppressed by Saddam. Support for the regime likely is stronger in Baghdad and its environs, populated chiefly by the Sunni Arab minority that has run Iraq since its creation after World War I.

But reports that Saddam is just about as unpopular with his base as he is with the Shi'as and the Kurds has come from an unlikely source: repentant former "human shields."

"A group of American anti-war demonstrators, part of a Japanese human-shield delegation, returned from Iraq yesterday with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present, with Iraqis eager to tell of their welcome for American troops," the Washington Times' Arnaud de Borchgrave reported from Amman, Jordan Sunday.

Rev. Kenneth Joseph said some of the Iraqis he interviewed "told me they would commit suicide if the American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny." "I was a naive fool to be a human shield for Saddam," wrote Daniel Pepper, who went to Iraq with a British anti-war group, in the Telegraph Sunday.

Pepper's awakening began, he said, in a conversation with a taxi driver who was taking him back to his hotel in Baghdad:

"I said, as we shields always did, 'Bush bad, war bad, Iraq good.' He looked at me with an expression of incredulity," Pepper said.

"As he realized I was serious, he slowed down and started to speak in broken English about the evils of Saddam's regime," Pepper said. "Until then I had only heard the president spoken of with respect, but now this guy was telling me how all of Iraq's oil money went into Saddam's pocket and that if you opposed him politically he would kill your whole family."

Pepper asked another taxi driver, who took him and five others from Baghdad to Jordan, if he feared American aerial bombardment.

"Don't you listen to Powell on Voice of America radio?" the cab driver said.

"Of course the Americans don't want to bomb civilians. They want to bomb the government and Saddam's palaces. We want America to bomb Saddam...All Iraqi people want this war."

Back in London, Pepper attended an anti-war rally last Thursday. This time, he was disgusted by it.

"Anyone with half a brain must see that Saddam has to be taken out," he said. "It is extraordinarily ironic that the anti-war protesters are marching to defend a government which stops its people from exercising that freedom."

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

03/20/03: Was getting the UN involved worth it?
03/18/03: South Koreans no longer behaving as if they were the French of Northeast Asia --- why?
03/11/03: Ultimatum's moment of truth
03/11/03: Thank you, Turkey, we needed that
03/07/03: The fight against Saddam isn't a distraction from the war on terror --- it's is the main event
03/04/03: Bioterror nightmare approaching --- how it could likely happen
02/27/03: Iranian student: Can America hurry up with Iraq already, so they can get on with attacking us?
02/25/03: Yahoos on both the Left and the Right are trying to prevent government from maximizing technology in protecting us
02/20/03: Anti-war group gets it right about great humanitarian tragedy in last Gulf War
02/18/03: Iraqis: Why are these people marching for tyranny?
02/07/03: French kiss(ed)-off
02/05/03: Does the FBI have the ability to protect us from terrorists already here?
02/03/03: The "Axis of Weasels"
01/29/03: A bit of the jitters
01/27/03: The world's mediocre intelligence agency
01/21/03: By reaffirming GOP opposition to racism, president demonstrates willingness to confront liars
01/16/03: Why the United States should withdraw all of its military forces from South Korea as rapidly as we reasonably can
01/14/03: Federal incompetence driven by political correctness, not trampling of civil liberties, is what we should fear
01/09/03: Bag this boondoggle: The V-22 Osprey would hurt our national defense
01/07/03: Another Korean war?
01/02/03: Ostriches
12/26/02: Learning from Canada's economic suicide
12/24/02: A moral dilemma: Support a vicious fascist dictator or the poor and downtrodden?
12/20/02: Time to tell the truth: The great movement of blacks to the Democratic Party took place for economic reasons, not because of civil rights
12/18/02: Nothing better illustrates Trent Lott's unfitness for the post of Senate Majority Leader than his desperate efforts to cling to it
12/16/02: Debunker mentality: It's hard work not seeing ties between Iraq and al-Qaida
12/12/02: GOP ideologues turning on Lott --- better sacrifice the leader than the party
12/06/02: Curing our democracy of afflictions
12/02/02: Conscription, like the horse cavalry, is an artifact of a bygone time
11/27/02: What Saddam faces
11/25/02: Why war with Iraq can be averted
11/19/02: A draft would harm the military
11/12/02: The 2002 elections and Nixon
11/07/02: Democratic overreaction to our recent "cosmically important" election
10/30/02: Show North Korea we're serious: Polish off Saddam
10/22/02: The squealing in the Pentagon is a proof of Rummy's effectiveness
10/16/02: The tactical challenge we face
10/10/02: Silence more despicable than seditious noise
10/08/02: Bu$h and the bu$ine$$ of war
10/01/02: Gore's calculated risk may well get him the Dems' nomination
09/25/02: Schroeder may find the fruits of victory sour
09/25/02: Making Saddam change his spots
09/19/02: Bush's resolve already has paid dividends
09/17/02: Courageous Iranians
09/13/02: If you never served in the military, you have no right to an opinion
09/10/02: Why the 'air marshals' will fail
09/05/02: Resurrecting the "Happy Darky"
08/31/02: Are Bush's inactions against Iraq calculated?
08/23/02: Dems can't take the minority vote for granted any longer
08/20/02: No proof of Saddam's wrongdoing? Yeah, right
08/15/02: Mineta's war on what?
08/13/02: When Gore said he wanted to be his 'own man,' what was he thinking!?
08/08/02: Picking a tree for Cheney's hanging
08/06/02: Fears about the Department of Homeland Security are misplaced
08/01/02: The greatest strategic deception since Eisenhower convinced Hitler the Allies were going to land at the Pas de Calais?
07/30/02: State Dept.'s anti-American actions
07/26/02: Journalists are making sure Americans can't differentiate between the stock market and the economy
07/23/02: Iran's is on the verge of a social and political explosion. So why is media ignoring it?
07/17/02: FBI isn't supposed to stand for Foolish, Blind and Incompetent
07/12/02: The ICC tramples on rights Americans take for granted
07/09/02: Was LA International Airport shooting, in fact, good news?
07/02/02: What the "intelligence community" can learn from Alexander the Great
06/28/02: Muslim link in Oklahoma City bombing revisited
06/25/02: A good environmental scare needs two ingredients - an impending catastrophe, and someone to blame for it
06/21/02: Stirring the security pot
06/18/02: Why the military is so messed up
06/14/02: Vast majority $68.7 billion proposed for weapons will be spent on systems of little use in the war on terror
06/12/02: Bush saw them and raised them, and he's holding the aces
06/10/02: Some heads need to roll
06/04/02: A new draft for the 'war on terror'?
05/31/02: So the FBI has finally caught up to our priorities?
05/29/02: Taking on common sense
05/23/02: Political terrorists
05/21/02: There is a great deal to fret about, but I've never been more optimistic
05/15/02: If there is a way for America to lose the war, Gen. Tommy Franks can find it
05/13/02: Impartial justice against Americans by the UN?
05/07/02: Want to win the 'war on terror'? Reinstate the draft
05/03/02: An expanded NATO is needed as a counterweight to the UN and the EU
04/29/02: Islamic 'smarts'
04/26/02: Did Bush play his Aces with Abdullah wisely?
04/23/02: Why peace in the Mideast is closer than ever
04/19/02: What the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank gained from the "peace accords"
04/17/02: Logical Muslim allies
04/10/02: How to guarantee an infinite Mideast war
04/08/02: Saddam's American friends
04/05/02: Arab winners and sinners
04/01/02: Why is the commander of U.S. Central Command not coming clean to the American people?
03/31/02: Dubya under attack by conservatives
03/26/02: Saddam watch coming to an end?
03/21/02: Get the Jews!
03/19/02: It's time pols and gov bureaucrats be held to the same standard of accountability we insist for corporate execs
03/15/02: Khaki Throat
03/12/02: Making foreign cheaters pay
03/08/02: Timidity and indecision by senior American commanders
03/04/02: Why 9-11? Ex-CIA officials come clean
02/25/02: Don't rule out a quick victory --- even if prez says otherwise
02/21/02: Saving our military from itself
02/19/02: Front Page fiction
02/15/02: Our European allies are like the fat kid who wants to play quarterback
02/13/02: Is the Army in danger of becoming "irrelevant"?
02/11/02: So, I "propagate hatred"
02/06/02: Bush whacking the media
02/04/02: Why serious folks disregard the European Union --- and why Bush must, too
01/30/02: Give economy pneumonia in order to protect it from a cold
01/28/02: Media is its own worst enemy
01/25/02: Journalists making road to peace a bumpy ride, or: A case study in stupidity
01/23/02: Toward a stronger defense at a lower cost
01/21/02: How Bush could be Generations X and Y's Kennedy ... and guarantee a GOP victory in the midterm elections

© 2002, Jack Kelly