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A Letter from Baghdad

Every man and his dog is posting reactions to the outbreak of hostilities in the Gulf, so in order not to be left out, may I present this weblog from an Iraqi citizen living in Baghdad. A sample (and no, not all of his blog is a rant):

No one inside Iraq is for war (note I said war not a change of regime), no human being in his right mind will ask you to give him the beating of his life, unless you are a member of fight club that is, and if you do hear Iraqi (in Iraq, not expat) saying “come on bomb us” it is the exasperation and 10 years of sanctions and hardship talking. There is no person inside Iraq (and this is a bold, blinking and underlined inside) who will be jumping up and down asking for the bombs to drop. We are not suicidal you know, not all of us in any case.
I think that the coming war is not justified (and it is very near now, we hear the war drums loud and clear if you don’t then take those earplugs off!). The excuses for it have been stretched to their limits they will almost snap. A decision has been made sometime ago that “regime change” in Baghdad is needed and excuses for the forceful change have to be made. I do think war could have been avoided, not by running back and forth the last two months, that’s silly. But the whole issue of Iraq should have been dealt with differently since the first day after GW I.
The entities that call themselves “the international community” should have assumed their responsibilities a long time ago, should have thought about what the sanctions they have imposed really meant, should have looked at reports about weapons and human rights abuses a long time before having them thrown in their faces as excuses for war five minutes before midnight.
What is bringing on this rant is the question that has been bugging for days now: how could “support democracy in Iraq” become to mean “bomb the hell out of Iraq”? why did it end up that democracy won’t happen unless we go thru war? Nobody minded an un-democratic Iraq for a very long time, now people have decided to bomb us to democracy? Well, thank you! how thoughtful.

nb: for all I know, this may be propaganda from one side or the other, but it seems to be genuine.

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I'd be more convinced by the statement "no one inside Iraq is for war" if I hadn't heard people seriously try to suggest that "no one inside Britain (apart from Tony Blair and a few cronies) is for war". People are much given to total hyperbolic inaccuracy in times like these.

I'll grant that he has a point, in that, I'm fairly sure that no one in Iraq would claim to be in favour of having a large bomb dropped directly on their head. But that's hardly a controversial claim, is it?

Interestingly, I saw a news article in a copy of the Sun that I found on the train this morning, that reported the MoD as claiming they had a good chance of reducing civilian casualties from bomb-drops in this campaign to zero or as good as. Now that does sound like propaganda to me, but it's a bold statement to make anyway, and it's nice to see that they're trying.

Your point about hyperbole is well taken, but that's just one (exceptional) extract from his journal; most of it is far more circumspect. If you haven't read it already, I'd recommend it.

As regards the MoD statement, while it is certainly in their interest to improve both the accuracy of their intelligence and of their ordnance (even I'm not cynical enough to believe that they'd deliberately target civilian populations), I'll believe the results when I see them.

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