Wednesday, April 2, 2003

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OH, YES, HE'S DEFINITELY AS POPULAR AS STALIN: From the New York Times account of the U.S. liberation of Najaf:

"The occupying forces, from the First and Second brigades of the 101st Airborne Division, entered from the south and north. They had seized the perimeter of town on Tuesday.

People rushed to greet them today, crying out repeatedly, 'Thank you, this is beautiful!'

Two questions dominated a crowd that gathered outside a former ammunition center for the Baath Party. 'Will you stay?' asked Kase, a civil engineer who would not give his last name. Another man, Heider, said, 'Can you tell me what time Saddam is finished?'"

It ends with this priceless anecdote:

"American troops found that the fleeing Baath Party and paramilitary forces had set up minefields on roads and bridges leading out of the city. Late today an American engineering team was clearing the third of such fields, this one with 30 mines, by detonating them with C4 explosives.

Lt. Col. Duke Deluca, noting that the mines had been made in Italy, said, 'Europeans are antiwar, but they are pro-commerce.'"

UPDATE: More confirming evidence of how residents of Najaf feel come from this Slate report of an Iraqi army defector in Kurdistan (link via Volokh):

"'How were people in Najaf two weeks ago? How did you discuss the coming war?' I asked.

'In Najaf people are only worried about how to get food, and if they will have enough food. They were worried how long the war would last and what would come after it. I only talked to my family. You can't talk about these things outside of your house. But in my family we were happy about the Americans coming. We knew war was coming and we talked about, insh'allah, getting rid of this government.'"

BLOGOSPHERE UPDATE: Ah, praise from Glenn Reynolds. However, I was remiss in not pointing out that I found this story via OxBlog. They are also on a roll (though I'm not sure about the nickname they gave me).

posted by Dan on 04.02.03 at 11:57 AM