Men, women and children rushed to greet paratroopers as they advanced into the oldest part of Basra, completing the capture of Saddam Hussein’s second city….[T]he British troops found themselves having to fight off not enemy attacks but swarms of smiling children asking for water and trying to practise their English. There was a succession of thumbs-up gestures, waves and salutes, while women wearing chadors appeared in doorways smiling and waving as the demise of Saddam’s regime in Basra became apparent….English-speaking Iraqis came up to reporters to express their own delight. Among them was Saad Ahmed, a 54-year-old retired English teacher. “We have been waiting for you for a long time,” he said. “We are now happier than you. You are victorious as far as the war is concerned, but we are victorious in life. We have been living, not as human beings, for more than 30 years.” [Daily Telegraph, 4/8/03]

[But some angry residents are unhappy over the anarchy taking place…]

“We are caught between two enemies, Saddam and the British,” said Osama Ijam, a 24-year-old medical student in the grounds of the rundown Basra General Hospital. “Is this what they call a liberation? We want our own government. We want our own security and our own law.” The hospital, like many government buildings, stores and offices has been looted in recent days…”When I see my college looted and destroyed in front of my eyes I wonder why they (British troops) allow this to happen,” said Ijam. “Are they here to help us or just to help themselves?” [Reuters, 4/8/03]

This is the mentality our “humanitarian assistance” is designed to appease and to cultivate: Those who stamp their feet at reality and demand that their wishes be enacted regardless of cause or context: “You started this war; this is your fault. Now satisfy us.” To which the proper response would be: “We don’t owe you a damned thing. This war is the fault of your government. We’re not here for you; we’re here for us.” But no, such a response is too scary for those who worry about what the unthinking might think. There is no reason to care what they think. We don’t need them.

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