Here’s wishful thinking for you:

There were many smiling faces in Ramallah on Monday as Palestinians celebrated the capture of American and British soldiers by the Iraqi army. “This is a big day for the Iraqi people and all the Arabs and Muslims,” said a policeman at Yasser Arafat’s battered headquarters.

[…] At Manara Square in the center of town, the mood was one of euphoria. “They have just shot down two Apache helicopters,” an excited merchant shouted hysterically as he ran out of his shop. “This is unbelievable. The Americans are losing the war. Iraq is going to be Bush’s Vietnam.”

[…] “Oh beloved Saddam, bomb, bomb Tel Aviv,” [a group of about 50 girls] chanted as passersby and shopkeepers greeted them with the traditional Islamic battle cry of Allahu akbar (God is great). As they marched through the streets, the girls, some younger than 10, urged Saddam to eliminate Israel: “Oh Saddam, we love you, why don’t you annihilate all the Jews?”

[…] Many people said that for the first time since the war broke out, they are finally able to walk around with a sense of pride. “Until yesterday [Sunday], the feeling here was bad,” said a journalist. “But when the pictures of the American prisoners and bodies of soldiers were shown on TV, there was a lot of excitement. It’s very moving to watch Arab soldiers defeating American and British soldiers and killing them. Saddam is now more popular than ever. The people here adore him. The feeling here is that Saddam has restored Arab confidence and dignity.” …

[…] The sense of triumph and pride was also reflected in the Palestinian Authority media. “On the fourth day of the war, Iraq has presented to the Arabs and all the peoples of the world proof that it is possible to defeat the US,” said Hasan al-Kashef, a respected columnist and senior PA official. “On this day, the Arabs and the rest of the world have come to learn that the US is not the almighty superpower that is capable of doing anything, any time. Iraq has proved that surrendering to the will of the US is the result of impotence, miscalculation, and a lack of will.” [Jerusalem Post, 3/25/03]

In the future, we’ll need to make sure our leaders remember not only the Palestinians’ enmity but also the degree of irrationality that prevails in that culture.

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