The Don’t-Touch-Saddam lobby in Europe and the U.S. had prophesied that Baghdad would become Stalingrad 1942.
On Thursday, Baghdad became Paris after liberation in 1944.
It was a day of song and dance and jubilation in a capital liberated from more than four decades of brutal tyranny.
It was a day in which the accumulated angers and frustrations of almost two generations were released. In just hours the villainous icons, created over a quarter of a century, that symbolized a despicable regime, had been smashed into oblivion.
The people of Baghdad showed the world that they recognized liberators when they saw them. Their cries of Shukran Ya Bush (Thank You Bush) confounded the Hate-America International that had insisted that the Iraqis did not wish to be liberated and that, even if they were, they would hate the U.S. even more for it.
Here is the first lesson to draw from the liberation of Baghdad: Iraqis, and Arabs in general, are no different from other human beings. They, too, prefer to live in freedom and dignity. They, too, are grateful to those who come to their aid in their hour of need. They, too, reject the disease of anti-Americanism that prevents so many otherwise sane people from acknowledging that the United States can be a force for the good.
— Amir Taheri, Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam, is based in Europe. He’s reachable through www.benadorassociates.com.