Despite today's widespread Arab rage over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush "will go down in Arab history as the liberator of Baghdad," writes one bold Saudi columnist.
Writing in the Saudi daily Arab News yesterday, columnist Dr. Muhammad Al-Rasheed praised last Sunday's capture by Americans of the former Iraqi tyrant and hailed Bush as a liberator. Here, courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, are excerpts of Al-Rasheed's column:
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- "Beware the march of history or the ides of March, whichever appeals to you. Those who have eyes and ears will learn from the demise of Saddam Hussein and the pathetic pictures shown to the world. Gone are the palaces, the swagger, the mindless ruthlessness, the endless resources of money and men. Nothing is left but a shabby old man, who is now as pathetic as his rise and fall had been tragic and murderous.
"Dictators and murderers are a breed apart. The lucky ones die in office. The majority live to suffer the humiliation and anger of their victims and those who survived them. Count with me and fill in the blanks as you wish: The Shah, Bokassa, Idi Amin, Ceausescu, Sese Seko of Zaire, Hitler, Mussolini, the Soviet apparatus, and last but not least, Saddam, the son of Hussein. The most notable of this lot were the most courageous: Nero and Hitler. At least Nero had the courage to fall on his sword and lament that Rome was losing a 'great artist.' I wonder who is next.
"The jubilation in Baghdad put the Arab media to shame. America, for this brief moment at least ... is a liberator and not an occupier. I can’t help being smug, since what I saw gave me back some confidence in the possibility of justice in this world. I had almost lost hope. It took George Bush to give me that back. I don’t agree with him on many things, and while many Americans share my stand, I’ll give the man his due. He will go down in Arab history as the liberator of Baghdad, even if the whole mission in Iraq comes to nothing more than this.
"... The reality we have to face is the fact that it took Americans to relieve Baghdad of its dictator. Arab impotence recorded a new low. I might sound naive but I would like to ask where the 'freedom fighters,' 'the resistance,' 'the strugglers for the freedom of Iraq' were when that man ran amok. Having delivered Saddam, the Americans will have to deliver Iraq. Shouldn’t we now be wise enough to give them at least a chance, if not a real helping hand?
"We started this business of post-September 11th by jousting with the Americans loudly and virulently. We could not believe that any of our sort would behave in such barbaric ways. The truth became clearer with time. Regardless of the reason for the American intervention in Iraq, the end result couldn’t have been happier for the Iraqis or more loaded with hope for other Arabs.
"Dare we say Carpe Diem and actually seize the day?"