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Saddam, the US Agent

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Saddam, the U.S. Agent


UWAIT — Terrorists once more fired at American troops here in Kuwait on Monday, although no one was injured this time. As with last week's attack, in which two Kuwaiti men shot one American marine to death and wounded another, we don't know whether the shooting was sponsored by Al Qaeda or was a purely home-grown affair.

But there's no doubt that even in Kuwait, where Yankees have the best possible claim on Arab gratitude, a significant minority of men and women regard us as worms. Some Kuwaitis are even hailing the terrorists who killed the American soldier as martyrs.

This gulf of mutual suspicion and anger between Americans and overseas Muslims seems to have widened dangerously since 9/11, and it will yawn even more explosively in a war and occupation of Iraq. This gulf reminds me of my very first conversation in Arabic, just after I'd moved to Cairo in 1983 to study the language.

"Ismak eh?" asked a friendly-looking neighbor in my building, and I was thrilled that I recognized that he was asking my name.

"Ismi Nick," I said, beaming. He flinched, turned pallid and stepped back. In a barely audible voice, he croaked out his question again: "Ismak eh?"

Unsure what had gone wrong, I stepped forward and thundered, "Ismi Nick."

The man fled. My bewilderment and distress in that moment seem familiar this year, for once again Americans and foreign Muslims are unwittingly outraging each other. Sometimes the difference in our assumptions and world views yawns so wide that it's difficult even to have a meaningful conversation.

On Monday evening I attended a lecture at Kuwait University about the prospective American invasion of Iraq. In the question-answer session, one earnest young man began: "I'm totally convinced that Saddam Hussein is an agent of the U.S."

Yup, that's actually a common view in the Arab world. The idea is that the U.S. asked its pawn Saddam to invade Kuwait, so that Washington could respond by establishing military bases in the region and steal Arab oil.

I should add that there are also plenty of grateful Kuwaitis who see no conspiracies. One woman at the lecture came up to me to apologize for the shootings at the marines, saying: "We breathe today only because of God and the U.S. Those marines who were injured were like our sons."

Unfortunately, there are many others who applaud Osama bin Laden for having the guts to take on the infidels. The suspicion and hostility we face in the Islamic world will be one of our central challenges in the coming years, particularly after any invasion of Iraq. Look at Pakistan, our supposed ally in the war on terrorism. The most common name given to Pakistani boys born after 9/11 in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province reportedly was Osama — that's right, Osama.

Last week's elections in Pakistan resulted in huge gains for fundamentalists who are vehemently anti-American. The fundamentalist parties, which used to be a fringe element in Pakistani politics, now will control two of the country's four provinces. If we gain friendly governments in Afghanistan and Iraq but see the rise of an Islamist nuclear power in Pakistan, that will have been an appalling trade.

A poll published this month by Zogby International found that across eight countries, Arabs have warm feelings about some Western countries but a wretched view of the U.S. While Kuwaitis were the most pro-American, even they regarded the U.S. unfavorably more than favorably, by a 48 percent to 40 percent margin. In most other Arab countries, fewer than one person in six viewed the U.S. favorably.

Americans often dismiss the significance of the Arab "street," and they have a point: pundits always have it about to explode, and it rarely does. But the explosion of the Iranian street in 1979 still haunts the region, and a similar eruption on the Saudi street or Pakistani street would be catastrophic for the world. One of the reasons to be wary of an invasion of Iraq is that the downside risk is not just in Baghdad, but also around the oil wells of Saudi Arabia and the nuclear missiles of Pakistan.

Oh, and the meaning of "Nick" in Arabic? It is a verb meaning to have sex, but it's even more vulgar than its English four-letter equivalent. And "Nick" is the worst possible conjugation, the command form.

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Originally posted by raver_mania

Hehe...this is so ironic! Bush is really going to seal the downfall of the US.

Very sad.

Yeah and a crater in what was called times square is a better idea.

You people forget 3K LIVES LOST....

Bush told us it was going to be a long war when he addressed the nation last year. Hussein got a hardon when the trade towers fell & americans died and if you think for a second that sneaky fuck didn't have something to do with it, you my freind have to sit back look at the situation REAL HARD and ask yourself do you want Sept 11th x 10 to happen again.

Look Ashcroft and the boys are tracking theese maggots down arresting and thwarting attacks all over the world, let them do their job and let Bush and the HAWKS cut the head of this snake and call it a day....

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