"A good deal of anticipation"


New York Times reporter John Burns, interviewed from Baghdad Wednesday night, was asked by Gwen Ifill of PBS' NewsHour to describe "the mood tonight on the streets of Baghdad." Here's what Burns said:

Well, you would imagine there is a great deal of apprehension… [but] I think America should know that there is also a good deal of anticipation. Iraqis have suffered beyond I think the common understanding in the United States from the repression of the past 30 years here. And many, many Iraqis are telling us now– not always in the whispers that we only heard in the past, but now in quite candid conversations– that they are waiting for America to come and bring them liberty.

IFILL: They are actually anticipating… eagerly anticipating war?

BURNS: It's very hard, though, for anybody to understand this. It can only be understood in terms of the depth of repression here, and it has to be said that this is not universal, of course. Having traveled throughout Baghdad in the last few hours, I can tell that you there are occasions when people are angry … There are, of course, people who, because they are loyalists of the regime or out of fear or out of suspicion of America's motives, don't want this war at all….

All I can tell you is that … the most extraordinary experience of the last few days has been a sudden breaking of the ice here with people in every corner of life coming forward to tell us that they understand what America is about in this. They are very, very fearful, of course … and they are very concerned about the … American military governance that they will come under afterwards.

But … there is absolutely no doubt, no doubt that there are many, many Iraqis who see what is about to happen here as the moment of liberation.

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  1. Of course tell this to the protestors in Paris who are chanting “Resistance in Iraq!”. It really sickens me that Europe is so pro-tyranny it makes me sick to my stomach. Yes maybe the world may hate us now but f*ck them. America is doing the right thing by protecting our liberty and granting it to an oppressed people.

  2. what is going on here? sorry like 90% of other americans i give more of a shit about the oscars and ncaa basketball than this stuff

    no wonder the world hates us

  3. yes, un-named poster, the world hates us b/c too many of us are self-absorbed, narcissistic, provincial preening little pussies like yourself. which isn’t to say that if one doesn’t have his/her head up the ass that one must favor war (although i do), but you definitely have your head up your ass.

  4. I’m a libertarian, but I can’t help but cheer the removal of one of the most vile, evil stalinists on the planet. I’m not sure when libertarianism meant allowing a psychopathic monster like Hussein to feed on his defenseless citizens like a medieval vampire. To free a people from having their children’s eyes being gouged out, being lowered slowly into acid vats, fed into plastic shredding machines to be made into fish food, and raped by professional rapists is in my opinion the only moral thing to do. And I won’t flinch when the time comes to do it again.

  5. Matthew,
    As a lover of liberty I support your desire to remove Saddam from power. I encourage you to raise/join an army for that purpose. You should be free to do this. However, the military forces of the United States (funded by tax dollars) should be used only for the defense of the United States. You may, as does President Bush, argue that Saddam poses a threat to the US. But, no matter how repugnant and tyrannical his behavior, it is not relevant to US defense policy.

  6. I can’t agree with that. I do see the development of WMD by psychopathic mass-murdering scum like him as a threat to me and mine. In fact, I expect he has already used his bioweapons against us in a small way by giving them to Al Qaida who mailed them to us in envelopes.

  7. In fact, I expect he has already used his bioweapons against us in a small way by giving them to Al Qaida who mailed them to us in envelopes.

    Stop the presses. You mean _you_ solved the anthrax investigation? I hope you notified the FBI.

    Matthew, I find it sort of dificult to believe you’ve been having trouble sleeping at night for the past decade or so, fearing Saddam Hussein’s WMD.

    It’s nice to know some Iraqis are welcoming the topple of Saddam Hussein by US-led forces. And I think they are right to worry about what happens after.

  8. Andrea,

    As someone who studied this stuff in school and then began living in one of our prime target areas, I can assure you I’ve lost a few hours of sleep worrying about Saddam’s, Iran’s, Al Quaeda’s, and name-your-wacko’s WMDs. As 9-11 should have shown you, the only reason we haven’t been hit is that we’ve been lucky. I wish I could say it was because we were good, but I can’t.

    Was Saddam the biggest of those threats? 9-11 would suggest not, but it’s no guarantee.

    The good news is, if you live in a mid-to-small town away from the coasts, you can sleep safe. Those of us who live a little closer to the targets do have a reason to be concerned. Not panicked, but definitely concerned.

  9. The libertarian view that the We ought not to engage in a military operation if no national threat/interest is direct and obvious (we use to call it the Nixon Doctrine) relies on the same wariness voiced by the the Federalists; that the consequences of human judgement is best, and most safely, kept close to home. i.e.: centralised government is tyranny by definition since, in total uniformity, there can be no living example of desent.

    In this case, however, after hearing for 12 years about Saddam’s brutality; escorting legislators, who dared defied him, to their execution; the feeding of people–alive–into polymer grinders; cutting the tongue out of a man and nailing it to a post as an example to others; hanging women by their feet for the duration of their menstrual period; ordering the death of his own brother-in-law for daring to rethink his devotion to him; asking for the honest opinions of his ministers–and then executing those who voiced anything that wasn’t completely sychophantic.

    Every Iraqi whom has been free to speak has called for the liberation of Iraq. They know what evil is because they have seen what it does. Morality is a sticky subject, and libertarians have fashioned their creed to avoid the stickiness. But I think amoralism is obsolete. We know evil when we see it–and Saddam deserves a few tomahawks up his ass.

    Some of us arm-chair geo-politicians may claim that the threat from Saddam is not imminent and obvious. But to any Iraqi would would dare to simply speak out against the regime the threat of Saddam is obvious and imminent.

    Is that any of our business? Who are WE to say what is right and what is wrong…? We are us and we think hard about it and we argue openly about it and we agonize and posture and throw senile tantrums about it—and then we will say it: “this is evil.”

    If a libertarian can make a judgement about freedom and tyranny then he can make a judgement about good and evil. They are the same, I’d think.

  10. Matthew,

    If Iraq sent the Anthrax letters, why would they send them to Democrats and not Republicans? Why would they single out the Judiciary chair?

    Can anyone think of who it might be that hates Democrats and the media?

  11. Morality is a sticky subject, and libertarians have fashioned their creed to avoid the stickiness. But I think amoralism is obsolete. We know evil when we see it–and Saddam deserves a few tomahawks up his ass.

    Libertarianism does not avoid the subject of morality because it’s “sticky”. It avoids the subject because it does not apply to the basics of libertarianism.

    My morality tells me that Saddam is an incredibly evil man, who deserves to be put to death very painfully at least a dozen different times.

    My libertarianism tells me that it is wrong to have my money stolen from me in order to punish Saddam. It tells me that it is wrong to kill innocent people and destroy their property in the process of getting Saddam. It tells me that the politics leading up to the current war were awash in lies, deception, and hidden agendas.

  12. “Can anyone think of who it might be that hates Democrats and the media?”

    Possible answers:

    Almost anyone!

    Someone who believes in the right to keep and bear arms or who believes in the concept of limited government.

    A right-wing activist or double naught spy helping the left to get their minds right.

    An anit-west (anti liberalism) terrorist with no particular left-right political agenda.

    A libertarian.

    A civil libertarian.

    An uncivil libertarian.

    Bob Dole.

  13. Let’s say we get rid of Saddam — which seems a foregone conclusion at this point. Does that make us safer? Perhaps, in a theoretical, long-term sense. But, realistically, we’re still as vulnerable as we were before the war started. Maybe even more vulnerable, because we’ll be channeling billions of dollars into rebuilding Iraq that could have been spent on homeland defense, and we’ll have been ignoring the more immediate threats of North Korea and Al Qaeda.

    So we defeat Iraq. Good for us. But our biggest problems remain.

  14. Tuning Spork,

    Your notions do not allow for line drawing. Which is why many libertarians object to them. You in fact appear to want to be liberal in the use of American power, which I find objectionable.

    The American media has done a good job of selling the horrors of Saddam’s regime as atypical. Well, they are not. If Saddam’s regime is to be the measure of the sort of pre-text we need for war, then we shall be fighting wars for the next fifty years.

  15. Gary, my “motions do not allow for line drawing..” The line would be drawn, to my mind, by a moral judgement. Actually, I’m surprised at myself for saying that as I’ve always supported severely limiting government authority BECAUSE moral judgement is so subjective and easily rationalized.

    To drawn a lame analogy; let’s say I decide that I will never enter my neighbor’s home without invitation, but I can see through the window that he is trapped under a bookcase that has fallen on him. I can rationalize that I am morally justified in entering his home to rescue him, but then I can also stand and agonize over–if I make this exception–where the line would then be drawn in the future. Am I then allowing myself to say “it is morally correct for me to enter my neighbor’s house when he’s not home if I see he left his oven on? …if he didn’t leave enough water in the dog bowl? …if he left the bathroom light on? …if he has HBO and there a good flick on?”

    The slippery slope of the inclination of the moment (mixed metaphor?) is a great concern, but so is the welfare of an entire country of oppressed people. The national security issues re Iraq haven’t been adequately proven to me –and I’m guessing, to you–, but the humanitarian case has. I guess I’ve come to support the mission just as I came to support the Kosovo mission (which I originally detested precisely because there was NO national interest at stake), because there’s a greater good to be done that wont be done if we drawn the line too close.

    I wouldn’t grant the Federal govt authority to ban “hate speech” because the definition depends on whose side yer on. Nor would I grant the govt authority to institute firearm resigtration because of the “slippery slope” that would lead to a ready-made database for the eventual purpose of confiscation. But when it comes to “when do we have the right to begin a war in either our–sometimes poorly explained–national interest and/OR in the vital interests of a brutally oppressed foreign populace”, I guess I conclude, reservedly, that if our collective inner good samaritan tells us to intervene then maybe we should.

    That means, I guess, that the line is drawn by us trusting our own moral judgement. That’s not very libertarian (ye), nor even federalist (me), but sometimes being a good neighbor means more than stubbornly holding to a strict idealism of government-free Darwinism (esp. in foreign policy).

    Go ‘head, lemme have it, again! 😛

  16. EMAIL: master-x@canada.com
    URL: http://www.debt-consolidation-low-rates.biz
    DATE: 02/27/2004 09:54:34
    Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.

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