To some in the Arab and Muslim countries, Shock and Awe is terrorism by another name; to others, a crime that compares unfavourably with September 11. To the homespun folks in Middletown, California - recorded by the BBC the other day singing patriotic songs around their dinner table - such perceptions may be utterly incomprehensible, but they are real and cannot be ignored. They explain why the American flag has become a liability and why westerners in Yemen, for example, have taken to flying the blue-and-gold European flag from their cars to discourage attackers.
Oh, and those stories of relieved Iraqis welcoming their Allied liberators and asking what took them so long? Well, apparently that's not the whole story:
Two Reuters correspondents, travelling independently of the military, told a different story: "One group of Iraqi boys on the side of the road smiled and waved as a convoy of British tanks and trucks rolled by. But once it had passed, leaving a trail of dust and grit in its wake, their smiles turned to scowls. 'We don't want them here,' said 17-year-old Fouad, looking angrily up at the plumes of grey smoke rising from Basra. 'Saddam is our leader,' he said defiantly. 'Saddam is good'."
Though if you have God and superior force on your side, you don't need to be liked, just feared and respected.
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