Friends and Enemies


The Washington Post provides a window on how war fever has changed the views of once pro-American Arabs. In Cairo, Said Naggar is crushed.

"I feel we have been deceived about the nature and character of the United States of America," he said.

Remarkably, these are the words of a friend. Naggar is a World Bank veteran who quotes the Declaration of Independence and whose son is a U.S. citizen. His library is stocked with works of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and "all the great founders." He lived for 17 years in Washington, where he says he never felt like a foreigner, and still longs for the city's intellectual and artistic life and his favorite Asian restaurants.

In 1991, he founded a group called the New Civic Forum "to promote the ideas and ideals of the United States of America." Today, the very thought gives rise to a long, boisterous laugh.

"I still believe in these values," he said, wiping his eyes, "but I don't call them American ideals anymore."

The Naggars of the world have been a strategic U.S. asset. Looks like the casualty list already has some MIAs.