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"Unlike the American troops, we look the Iraqis in the eye"
The Daily Telegraph U.K. ^ | 4-05-03 | Not attributed

Posted on 05/04/2003 3:04:58 PM PDT by WaterDragon

He counts his unit's kills meticulously, each one a tick in black pen on his khaki helmet which is, by now, bleached by the sun and battered from battle. Perched in the turret of his tank, just behind the barrel that is hand-painted with intimidating war cries such as "kill 'em all" or "I'm a motherf***ing warrior", he talks only to those Iraqis with the temerity to approach: he feels vulnerable without a 60-ton Abrams girding his loins. It is impossible to read anything in his eyes because they are always obscured by mirrored sunglasses.

Only in the safety of his unit's headquarters, behind barbed wire and protected by heavy weaponry, does the American marine take off his body armour and helmet. On the streets of Baghdad, out on patrol, he is wary and ill at ease.

Friendly approach: an Irish Guard patrols the streets of Basra Every Iraqi is a potential troublemaker, a possible target. If one fails to stop at his checkpoint, his response will be to open fire. If more than 50 gather to chant anti-American slogans, he will likely flood the street with soldiers. If he so much as suspects that the crowd has weapons he may well consider a full-scale counter-attack.

Still in full battle dress, though the war is over, he is awesome to behold. His President insists that he was never a member of an invading force, that he was a liberator and is now a peacekeeper. Yet much of the time he is loathed, despised and spat upon by those Iraqis for whose freedom he fought. He and his comrades are among the most hated men in the Iraqi capital.

The manner in which the American forces stormed their way to Baghdad may indeed have been awesome. They fought the war with verve, with valour and with steely determination. How they are holding the peace, however, makes a woeful contrast.

British troops, by comparison, are welcomed in southern Iraq with cries of "We love you Britannia, welcome British." In the south, the British not only won the trust of the locals during the war and used it effectively to gather vital intelligence, they kept it in the aftermath. The Americans, hampered by much stricter rules of engagement and with little experience of peacekeeping, are swiftly losing the battle for hearts and minds.

On the streets of Basra, Safwan and Az Zubayr in southern Iraq, British soldiers, with years of experience of dealing with civilian populations in war zones such as Northern Ireland and of peacekeeping in the Balkans and Sierra Leone, are treated as saviours. They have abandoned their helmets in favour of their more people-friendly berets, have taken off their body armour and mingle with the locals. They have helped to set up a local police force and a council to get the city's infrastructure running smoothly.

"Have you met my buddy Ahmed?" says Sergeant Euan Andrews, from the 7th Parachute Regiment of the Royal Horse Artillery, as he swings an arm around an Iraqi by his side outside the freshly painted Basra police station.

Ahmed, beaming in a baseball cap emblazoned with the words "City of Basra police" in Arabic and holding a truncheon, punches his new friend in playful camaraderie. "A month ago we were shooting at each other," says Euan, "now we are on the same side."

As Ahmed, chest swelling with pride, steps out to deal with the next car check by himself, Euan gives him an encouraging nod. "They're all getting there," he says. "It will take time. There is still a lot of: 'He is my cousin, my friend, he is ok.' We have had to explain that police must be impartial. But slowly we are getting there."

That afternoon the soldiers are playing football against the locals and in the evening they have volunteered to repaint the local school. The Iraqis loiter to chat as they pass the station, shaking soldiers by the hand and bringing them home-cooked meals. "Our methods of dealing with the locals are very, very different from that of the Yanks," one officer says over a cup of local coffee. ("Awful," he says, "but they like it when we drink it.")

"Unlike the Americans we have taken off our helmets and sunglasses and we look the locals in the eye. If we see one vehicle heading at speed towards a checkpoint we let it through. It is only one vehicle. We call our method "raid and aid" - don't ask me what we call the American way."

In Basra, raid and aid worked. For two weeks the 7th Armoured Brigade waited at the bridge before entering the city. During that time it built up its relationship with those Iraqis brave enough to provide intelligence about the Fedayeen - Saddam's loyalist fighters - who had held the city to ransom.

The result was that when the British did enter, they knew where to go, who to go after and who to trust. For them the rules of engagement changed as warfare became peacekeeping. Now, they no longer automatically return fire. They wait. Often Iraqi gunfire is a sign of celebration at the return of electricity or running water. They know it is not necessarily attacking fire.

The Americans are, admittedly, bound by much less flexible rules. Their Force Protection Doctrine decrees that all soldiers must wear helmets and body armour in a war zone at all times and that gun fire must be met with response. They also have little experience in the peacekeeping arena, and their experience of urban warfare in the battle for Hue during the Vietnam war and more recently in Somalia has left them jumpy.

The British have learned in the past 30 years that good information on the enemy was their best protection and that putting soldiers at risk to get it was justified; jungle ambushes in Vietnam made the Americans obsessed with "force protection".

Since the killing of four American soldiers by an Iraqi suicide bomber 10 days into the conflict, they have become even more wary of locals.

Last week, Americans killed 15 people - among them two young boys - at Fallujah, an impoverished Shia area 30 miles west of Baghdad - when locals became angry at their occupation of the local school. Though the US troops say they fired in self-defence - and may well have done so - television footage of bleeding Iraqis, clearly unarmed, lying on the roads, have shocked Western viewers.

In Baghdad, where the Americans rarely leave their compounds, lawlessness is widespread. On Friday, when locals realised that Saddam's sister owned a lavish home in Al Jadria in the west of the city, they stormed the house. Pianos, furniture and paintings were dragged away by a mob of looters. When US soldiers arrived they stopped only long enough to warn journalists not to remove anything or they would be arrested, then left the mob rampaging through the house. "I'm not going near that lot," one marine said. "I don't feel safe anywhere near them, unless I am behind a whopping big tank."

In the more affluent areas of Al Mansour and Al Kaarada, local families have been forced to build barricades to keep out thieves as the American soldiers refuse to patrol.

In the Shia ghettos of Saddam City and Khadamia, where the Americans are reluctant to go even in tanks, the local imams have taken matters in hand. "Imams have set up local security stations in the hospitals," says Yousef al Alwani. "Guns that have been looted, many from Saddam's palace, are brought to the mosques and from there the imams take them to the hospital and arm the local militia who are now policing us. The Americans don't protect us and they don't help us. What else are they doing but occupying us?"

Cultural background, say military analysts, explains much of the British success in southern Iraq. "Britain and other European nations have imperial traditions," says Stuart Crawford, a retired lieutenant colonel in the 4th Royal Tank Regiment. "As a result, British troops have been inculcated with the ethos and tradition of colonial policing, where small numbers of men would have close contact on a daily basis with local populations. But America is a young country with no colonial past."

In some respects it is a paradox that Britain, which once ruled an empire, should have a more flexible and sensitive army than America.

At the end of the 19th century, the howitzer and the Maxim gun were the equivalent of the cruise missile and the tankbuster. To maintain control yet allow and encourage people to live in their traditional ways, they became accustomed to understanding and respecting local culture and customs. It is a lesson that the American army has yet, it seems, to learn.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: allies; american; antiamerican; boorishness; british; drivel; iraqifreedom; mediabias; order; totalbs; troops
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The Telegraph, supposedly the most conservative newspaper in Britain, has published a series of drivel like this throughout the war.

Perhaps I missed them, but I've seen no articles in American newspapers offering anything but praise for the British troops. I've seen no articles quoting American troops offering other than appreciation for British participation in the war.

Could it be that the British are simply so superior to Americans that no fault can be found with the British troops? I don't think so. I can think of a number of things to sneer at the British troops about. However, I am incapable of showing less courtesy toward our 'allies' than our own troops, in the field, do.

But just remember these articles when we are invited to praise Blair and Britain. Anti-Americanism sometimes goes underground for a while, but it will inevitably burst out, in the most boorish and crass ways.

1 posted on 05/04/2003 3:04:59 PM PDT by WaterDragon
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To: WaterDragon
There, there....it's just all those years of colonizing, empire-building, and being imperialistic that allows the Brits to be so good at patronization. It's a benevolent-master role that the English have cultivated through the centuries.
2 posted on 05/04/2003 3:11:43 PM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: WaterDragon
Who's is bigger? Brits in the middle here.
3 posted on 05/04/2003 3:13:40 PM PDT by annyokie (provacative yet educational reading alert)
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To: WaterDragon
Now let me see, The Brits are liked in southern Iraq. The Americans are adored by the Kurds in northern Iraq.

But the Americans are so much chopped liver acording to the article.

I suggest this paper strongly propose we drop the Brits into the most die hard Sadamnite bathest strongholds within Baghdad and see how they fare with that meet my buddy Ala Babba scenario BS.
4 posted on 05/04/2003 3:14:19 PM PDT by Ursus arctos horribilis ("It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919)
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To: WaterDragon
Add the Telegraph to the growing list of catbox and bird cage liners :)
5 posted on 05/04/2003 3:14:41 PM PDT by TheSpottedOwl (America...love it or leave it. Canada is due north-Mexico is directly south...start walking.)
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To: WaterDragon
That's odd - the Brits never complained about the tactics of our "mother****ing warriors" when the Yanks whipped Hitler for them...
6 posted on 05/04/2003 3:15:47 PM PDT by dandelion
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You know, the danger in responding to any and all criticism with hatred and bile is that one never improves.
7 posted on 05/04/2003 3:17:17 PM PDT by The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
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To: WaterDragon
If we see one vehicle heading at speed towards a checkpoint we let it through

And when one of those vehicles explodes killing 5 or so of your troops, its just plain irresponsible.
8 posted on 05/04/2003 3:21:11 PM PDT by Husker24
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To: WaterDragon
This is so much bullshit.
9 posted on 05/04/2003 3:21:29 PM PDT by spectre
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
You show up at FR just when the war starts to counsel Americans to learn from criticism?
10 posted on 05/04/2003 3:22:07 PM PDT by WaterDragon (Only America has the moral authority and the resolve to lead the world in the 21st Century.)
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Actually, I believe this is less criticism than just a little chest-thumping on the part of British journalists. Howsumever, all's fair in love and war - so if we thump our chests in return, then it's mutual.

I'm all for letting the Brits rule the peace with some help from their overbearing American comrades; after all, we won the war, with some help from our British buddies. We all have our place!

11 posted on 05/04/2003 3:22:14 PM PDT by dandelion
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To: WaterDragon
We are rather dogmatic in our force protection schemes. In this instance, the British have pushed the decisions down to the lower levels whereas our approach is a lot more dogmatic. There is much to be said for the British approach.
12 posted on 05/04/2003 3:22:49 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: WaterDragon
I see, this explains why the US troups swept through all of Iraq to Bagdad while the Brits surrounded Basra waiting until the internal competing factions had killed each other off??

No, I don't really believe that but it illustrated how talking trash can go two ways.

13 posted on 05/04/2003 3:23:03 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: WaterDragon
...and their experience of urban warfare in the battle for Hue during the Vietnam war and more recently in Somalia has left them jumpy.

This yo-you needs a history lesson re: Hue City. Marines In Beirut would be a better example. Better safe than dead.
14 posted on 05/04/2003 3:24:13 PM PDT by stylin19a (2 wrongs don't make a right.....but 3 rights make a left)
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To: dandelion
The Russians did most of the Hitler-whippin. Not us. And in my opinion the Brits did at least as much as we did. Probably more.
15 posted on 05/04/2003 3:24:27 PM PDT by stinkypew
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To: annyokie
Just a tangential FYI.....................

The US tank commander with his arms upraised.........Yelled out something like, "For God and Country, men. Now onto Baghdad and Victory", on a videotape I saw of him as THAT picture was being taken.

I have NEVER seen that videotape replayed, anywhere. Hmmmmmmmm.......a little TOO enthusiastically patriotic for the news media?

16 posted on 05/04/2003 3:25:58 PM PDT by DoctorMichael (...............dooooo-wop.................)
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To: WaterDragon
It seems that many of the records of WMD were kept in one of the Baghdad Ministries that was sacked and burned by "looters." Of course Bagdad was the center of Saddam's regieme and many of his lower-level functionaries are still there and willing to do mischief.
17 posted on 05/04/2003 3:26:25 PM PDT by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: JimSEA
Exactly.
18 posted on 05/04/2003 3:26:36 PM PDT by WaterDragon (Only America has the moral authority and the resolve to lead the world in the 21st Century.)
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
You know, the danger in responding to any and all criticism with hatred and bile is that one never improves.

I was thinking that, also. The Brits do have the advantage of years of patrolling Northern Ireland. And the Telegraph did those big stories on files found in the "bombed out" foreign office that documented French leaks to Saddam's govenment among other things.

19 posted on 05/04/2003 3:26:42 PM PDT by xJones
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To: WaterDragon
The British have learned in the past 30 years that good information on the enemy was their best protection and that putting soldiers at risk to get it was justified; jungle ambushes in Vietnam made the Americans obsessed with "force protection".

What a silly article.

I'm supposed that the Brits out-think suicide bombers by being culturally sensitive, while Americans just shoot the f#*kers?

"Tally ho! Jolly dynamite fellow. Have a crimpet and whatnot, being sure to refrain from blowing us all up and such other behaviours! Here! Here!"

20 posted on 05/04/2003 3:26:42 PM PDT by dead
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Agreed. The gist of the article is the Brits have a much longer history and tradition as colonial powers. Americans have neither the experience nor the desire. Which is why Bush is now talking to the armies of India and Pakistan about taking over peacekeeping duties in Iraq. Now that Saddam is gone, we have bigger fish to fry.
22 posted on 05/04/2003 3:26:58 PM PDT by Vigilanteman
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To: WaterDragon
This is pure left wing fiction to cover for this maggot's wet dream posing as an oped and news:

He counts his unit's kills meticulously, each one a tick in black pen on his khaki helmet which is, by now, bleached by the sun and battered from battle. Perched in the turret of his tank, just behind the barrel that is hand-painted with intimidating war cries such as "kill 'em all" or "I'm a motherf***ing warrior", he talks only to those Iraqis with the temerity to approach: he feels vulnerable without a 60-ton Abrams girding his loins. It is impossible to read anything in his eyes because they are always obscured by mirrored sunglasses.

Only in the safety of his unit's headquarters, behind barbed wire and protected by heavy weaponry, does the American marine take off his body armour and helmet. On the streets of Baghdad, out on patrol, he is wary and ill at ease.

23 posted on 05/04/2003 3:29:16 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (Being a Monthly Donor to Free Republic is the Right Thing to do!)
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To: stinkypew
No, that would be the Russian WINTER, an entirely different thing than the Russians themselves (no slouches themselves, to be sure). Nobody wins against the Russian winter, and all do well to remember that. Had not Hitler chosen to turn on Stalin, he might have remained in power. That was NOT a good choice...

And while the Brits bravely battled Hitler long before we entered the war, the war against the third Reich would not have been won if America had not joined the fight. The British Bulldog held the fort, but it was the Yank who entered Europe and defeated Hitler.

24 posted on 05/04/2003 3:31:16 PM PDT by dandelion
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To: DoctorMichael
Neither have I. I guess it was too patriotic for the mainstream media.
25 posted on 05/04/2003 3:31:59 PM PDT by annyokie (provacative yet educational reading alert)
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: Squantos; Travis McGee
Do the Marines even have Abrams?

He counts his unit's kills meticulously, each one a tick in black pen on his khaki helmet which is, by now, bleached by the sun and battered from battle. Perched in the turret of his tank, just behind the barrel that is hand-painted with intimidating war cries such as "kill 'em all" or "I'm a motherf***ing warrior", he talks only to those Iraqis with the temerity to approach: he feels vulnerable without a 60-ton Abrams girding his loins. It is impossible to read anything in his eyes because they are always obscured by mirrored sunglasses.

27 posted on 05/04/2003 3:33:18 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (Being a Monthly Donor to Free Republic is the Right Thing to do!)
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To: DoctorMichael
"For God and Country, men. Now onto Baghdad and Victory"

Hot D**n!

(I want a copy of that videotape! Anybody got a clip?)

28 posted on 05/04/2003 3:33:27 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . there is nothing new under the sun.)
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To: WaterDragon
It's those cute Brit accents. Everyone loves those cute Brit accents...

It's almost as good as an Aussie accent.

But if they want to walk around without body armor and kevlar, that's an unneccesary risk when compared with any possible gain and it's just plain stupid. If people want to kill a Brit or US soldier, they're going to try to do it whether or not the soldier wears body armor- although it'll be a good deal easier without. (I prefer targets which are vulnerable and I am sure most terrorists do too, which is why they like airliners, pizza parlors, and beating up on civilians.) Being vulnerable is not going to win anyone's heart - being deadly will at least get their respect. Being respected beats being loved any day.

The SAS is respected but not because of the way they dress.

29 posted on 05/04/2003 3:33:32 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: stinkypew
It wasn't just Hitler.

We were fighting Japan and Italy too. The Russians had more fighting early because they were in it earlier. So were the British.

According to Cornelius Ryan who wrote several accounts of the war, Hitler devoted most of his resources to the West after D-day. He always underestimated Russian strength.

I would also suggest that our air campaign along with the British did as much as anything to winning the war. We also suffered very heavy casualties in the air war.

30 posted on 05/04/2003 3:33:37 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: WaterDragon
The Brits are at least two weeks ahead of us in Basra.

Maybe that's because they had a two week head start?

Anyway let the Telegraph show a little patriotic favoritism for their marines, if I remember correctly they got unfair criticism for waiting outside Basra until it cooled down.

31 posted on 05/04/2003 3:35:20 PM PDT by mrsmith
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To: dandelion
No, that would be the Russian WINTER, an entirely different thing than the Russians themselves (no slouches themselves, to be sure).

"Russia has two generals on whom she may rely: General January and General February."

-- Tsar Alexander, IIRC

32 posted on 05/04/2003 3:37:48 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . there is nothing new under the sun.)
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To: yarddog
I don't think the Russians would have done well if it weren't for the US and UK supplying them via Iran.
33 posted on 05/04/2003 3:38:43 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: WaterDragon
But just remember these articles when we are invited to praise Blair and Britain. Anti-Americanism sometimes goes underground for a while, but it will inevitably burst out, in the most boorish and crass ways.

And pathetic. This article is the product of a delusional mind describing a scenario which only exists in his mind. Narcissim at its finest.
35 posted on 05/04/2003 3:40:18 PM PDT by microgood (They will all die......most of them.)
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To: dandelion
That's odd - the Brits never complained about the tactics of our "mother****ing warriors" when the Yanks whipped Hitler for them...

The British are our best ally. No reason to trash them just because you don't like an newspaper story in their free press. Go trash the French.

36 posted on 05/04/2003 3:40:34 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: stinkypew
The Russians did most of the Hitler-whippin. Not us. And in my opinion the Brits did at least as much as we did. Probably more.
Just remember, it was the Brits who did will-nilly nighttime bombing runs while the Americans who took on the deadly, punishing, but more effective daytime bombing.

With that said, I don't think that we need to let a snotty newspaper reporter cause us to turn on the Brits.

37 posted on 05/04/2003 3:40:53 PM PDT by Clara Lou (I detest Filthy Bill and Hildabeast.)
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To: WaterDragon
What a crock.
38 posted on 05/04/2003 3:41:19 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: piasa
Yes I once read that nearly all Russian transport vehicles were supplied by the USA.

Nikita Khruschev once said he would have starved to death in WWII if it were not for Spam. We also gave them a lot of Bell Aircobra's which they liked for ground attack and tank killing.

39 posted on 05/04/2003 3:41:28 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: WaterDragon
Although the article is strongly tinged with anti-Americanism, I would not call it drivel. It may well be that the doctrine of force protection may have had a rigid effect on the American troops responses to Iraqi behavior in the immediate post war period. Gaining the trust of the civilian population of a beaten country is always a tricky business. It may be that the seemingly minor decision of the Brits to take off their helmets, and wear berets (to give just one example), has paid big dividends in gaining the trust of the locals in Basra. Maybe the doctrine of force protection needs some modification. Sometimes something can be learned by the US military from another military organization.
40 posted on 05/04/2003 3:41:52 PM PDT by ricpic
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To: WaterDragon
You got a British paper wanting to brag on British performance. O.K. I can see that, and am willing to let it slide. Even the UK is feeling a little . . . envious . . . about the big dawg.

However, I think this paper is neglecting a few points.

1. The Brits occupy one of the most anti-Saddam parts of Iraq -- the Shi'ite region around Basrah. Of course, they are going to be greeted like conquering heros.

2. The US holds some of the most pro-Saddam regions, including Falludah and Tikrit. If there *is* going to be any resistance to occupation those are the places -- and it does not matter whether Brits or Yanks are occupying those sites.

3. Over the vast majority of Baghdad, the US are being treated as liberators. The Western press, partly because they are lazy pigs, too self absorbed to leave the Palestine Hotel, and partly because they are anti-US anyway (even US newshawks) prefer to play up the few demonstrators that go to that hotel to protest the US. Read that whole story here: http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/629xnqei.asp

Anyway, I would put this in the same category as those "quagmire" predictions of four weeks back.
41 posted on 05/04/2003 3:42:26 PM PDT by No Truce With Kings (The opinions expressed are mine! Mine! MINE! All Mine!)
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To: mrsmith
Is it possible to show patriotism for one's own troops without the need to put down your allies? Americans manage that. Probably has to do with our lack of an inferiority complex.
42 posted on 05/04/2003 3:42:49 PM PDT by WaterDragon (Only America has the moral authority and the resolve to lead the world in the 21st Century.)
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To: yarddog
Truth be told, Hitler was a bad dictator, and an even worse soldier. We should thank God for that everyday - if he had listened to his best military advisors, or if he had more knowledge of the military sciences, he would have been a FAR more powerful force.

With Russia as an neutral entity instead of enemy, he could have held most of Europe, and I believe would have eventually been able to negotiate a surrender with Allied Forces, retaining control of his new nation. Instead, his ego and his need for complete control crippled his military campaign, and thus contributed to the Allied victory.

43 posted on 05/04/2003 3:42:53 PM PDT by dandelion
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: No Truce With Kings
Excellent points.
45 posted on 05/04/2003 3:44:52 PM PDT by WaterDragon (Only America has the moral authority and the resolve to lead the world in the 21st Century.)
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To: No Truce With Kings
I was going to post a reply to this thread, but I don't need to now. You nailed it.
46 posted on 05/04/2003 3:45:04 PM PDT by American Soldier
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To: Grampa Dave
This is pure left wing fiction to cover for this maggot's wet dream posing as an oped and news:

Agreed.

47 posted on 05/04/2003 3:46:03 PM PDT by WaterDragon (Only America has the moral authority and the resolve to lead the world in the 21st Century.)
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To: Doe Eyes
That's not trashing the Brits, it's just a question about why it's NOW a problem, when it wasn't one back in WWII. No bad names, no accusations, no aspersions on the writer of the article. I'd just like to know why it's a problem now. The question deserves an answer.
48 posted on 05/04/2003 3:46:15 PM PDT by dandelion
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To: WaterDragon
I think the Telegraph is one of the best English papers in the world, and this article says nothing suprising. We aren't peace keepers.
49 posted on 05/04/2003 3:47:27 PM PDT by gcruse (Piety is only skin deep, but hypocrisy goes clear to the soul.)
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To: anniegetyourgun
ROFL!
50 posted on 05/04/2003 3:47:30 PM PDT by WaterDragon (Only America has the moral authority and the resolve to lead the world in the 21st Century.)
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