OPINION

‘Liberation’ by occupation

They said it would be a «three-day war,» and it has already lasted three weeks. They said it would be a «surgical» strike so as not to affect non-combatants, and already about 1,500 Iraqi civilians have died, since the «smart» bombs cannot distinguish between a marketplace and a military target, an orphanage from a weapons emplacement. They said the operation would «respect the Geneva Convention,» yet hooded prisoners of war are being humiliated even on camera, so one can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes. They said every effort would be made to «reduce the collateral damage,» but judging from the victims of friendly fire (Britons bombed by Americans, Kurds by Americans, Russians shot at by Americans), it is anything but safe to move around. Then of course they said it would be a war of «liberation,» that the Iraqis would welcome their saviors with garlands of flowers. However, the few images of «friendly welcome,» no matter how well edited and spliced, are not enough to fill a five-minute propaganda slot on the «embedded» networks. Those about to be liberated have been resisting their would-be liberators, even in the cities that were allegedly seized during the first days of the war, and in which the Stars and Stripes had been raised for the television cameras and then taken down, in order to keep up some kind of appearance. Now even American and British newspapers are being filled with the voices of warning that liberators such as these have always been dealt with, everywhere, as occupying forces. But, of course, the victorious army commanders will find something to say, as usual.