Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Statues falling down

One of the biggest things since the Berlin Wall. Mind you, the Berlin Wall falling was a bigger event than the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein on Baghdad's Firdos Square today... unless perhaps you happen to be an Iraqi. I cringed for us when the Marines put an American Flag over Saddam's face briefly before taking it off.... I knew how that would play in the Arab press. Apparently so did the Pentagon. Not sure if the soldier planned to take it off that fast or if the order came to do so, but an Iraqi flag would have been much better. Fortunately, an Iraqi standing on the tank did have a pre-gulf-war Iraqi flag, although not as big -- which the Marine put up there. Unfortunately he didn't spread it out so you could see it prominently, and it was too small to cover the face and stay there... so it was put on as more of a "scarf". Still, the crowd cheered that. So did I.

I can understand a young marine putting our flag up there. Marines are fiercely proud of their country, and these boys (and gals, too) just went through hell to get to the point this moment symbolized -- the mission of toppling the regime. And this wasn't planned out. Apparently a crowd of Iraqis were trying to topple the statue with a large rope which wasn't getting the job done, and the Marines came in with cables and a tank to help them out. Still, it would have been better to give the moment to the Iraqi crowd. Oh well. They're young, proud Marines, not diplomats, and probably didn't understand what it might look like to have the flag of another country displayed prominently after a successful invasion, no matter what the motives were.

Meantime, only blocks away at Bagdhad University, a firefight was going on with another group of Marines.... the war is not over. But resistance is becoming increasingly irrelavent as the people of Iraq lose their fear of reprisals from the government which obviously no longer has control of the country. Still, after 34 years I can understand that that fact might take a while to sink in.

I hope Saddam is dead, but even if he isn't, it doesn't matter. The game is up as far as he's concerned.