My Arabic Neighbor
by Bill Sardi
My Christian Arabic neighbor, who was born in Nazareth, Israel, is a TV repairman and is able to get satellite signal from Al Jazeera, the Arabic TV network in the Middle East. I sit in his home and watch the Arabic version of the war. Heart-racing film is shown of US troops busting down doors to raid Iraqi homes, of maimed and wounded children in the hospital, of giant bombs going off in Baghdad, of President Bush saying US forces will win at any cost, of open markets destroyed by errant missiles (who knows whether they were launched by US or Iraqi forces?).
The point is, this is the war that the Arabic world sees. It is different from the war the American people view, which is largely filtered and interpreted for them.
The Americans have now been forced to pause, and the quick war they sold to the American people is now turning into a prolonged fight. It is no longer an attack, it is a siege of a city of 5 million people. Seven million Iraqi’s have guns. Even with reinforcements there will only be 200,000 or so American troops. Western forces must supply Baghdad with food, water and medicines while trying to kill the Iraqi leadership in hopes the Iraqi people will embrace a US-led regime change.
But Al Jazeera is winning over the minds and hearts of the Arabic people. NBC News reports over 40 million people worldwide have subscribed to Al Jazeera in just one week. There is no way the US can win the war as long as Al Jazeera is on the air. Tanks on the streets of Baghdad are nothing more than sitting targets. Missiles can’t blow up everybody in Baghdad. The success of the war depends upon the US gaining the confidence of the Iraqi people. It isn’t happening.
US troops now face a hot summer, 110-degree heat, and the need for continual provision of water, food and gasoline. Guns cannot be fired when they are jammed with sand from dust storms. The cost of the war is mounting and economic analysts noted before the war started that President Bush was risking his political career on a fast war. The US simply can’t afford a prolonged conflict. Furthermore, Syria and Iran are getting into the fray and will totally outnumber western troop strength in the region. It could turn into WWIII and a Holy War to boot.
Our leadership in the USA is too over-committed to this conflict. US troops are in a no-win situation and military and political leaders are not in a mind to back down. Massive loss of life may ensue among western-led forces.
Bill Sardi [send him mail] is a health journalist who dabbles from time to time in current affairs. His website is www.askbillsardi.com His most recent web report describes the hazards posed by statin cholesterol-lowering drugs.