Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Iraq's not so terrible, thank you very much...


In this past Saturday's Spectator, Mark Steyn explains that evidently things aren't quite as bad in Iraq now as the left would have you believe.
After I wrote about my trip to Iraq in the Sunday Telegraph and its sister papers, I received quite a few emails from US troops in the country, the gist of which was summed up by one guy with a civil affairs unit near Baghdad: ‘I’m glad to hear somebody report what’s really going on ...the fact that there isn’t anything going on.’ I saw no anarchy, no significant anti-US hostility, and no hospitals at anything like capacity. In other words, I was unable to find Will Day’s Iraq. I don’t honestly think it exists outside his head: as Dinah Washington once sang, ‘Water difference a Day makes’; he has miraculously transformed Iraqi water into whine.

. . .

In October 2001 Faizul-Aqtab Siddiqi, president-general of the International Muslim Organisation, said bombing Afghanistan would create a thousand bin Ladens. It didn’t. In March this year President Mubarak of Egypt said bombing Iraq would create a hundred bin Ladens. So right there you’ve got a tenfold decrease in the bin Laden creation programme. But even that modest revised target wasn’t met. There’s widespread starvation and disease and millions of refugees in Iraq. Except there aren’t. The Baghdad Museum was looted of its treasures. Only it wasn’t.

What all these fictions have in common is the prejudice behind them: the article of blind faith that the Americans are blundering idiots who know nothing of the world. It was this that led Robert Fisk, whom my colleague Stephen Glover regards as a ‘genius’, to suggest in print that when the Yanks claimed to be at Baghdad International Airport they’d in fact wandered by accident on to an abandoned RAF airfield many miles away. Nobody who knows anything about a modern military or even the kind of GPS technology that Chevrolet now include in their mid-price trucks and SUVs would say anything so stupid in print — unless he were so blinded by irrational Yankophobia that he was impervious to anything so prosaic as reality. Likewise, the Guardian’s ‘Gotcha!’ scoop, in which they brayed that Paul Wolfowitz had finally fessed up: the Iraq war was ‘all about oil’. The Guardian was forced to back down when it was pointed out that all Wolfowitz had done was to observe that America had economic leverage against North Korea that it didn’t have against Iraq, because the latter ‘floats on a sea of oil’.


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