Thomas L. Friedman har vært i Umm Qasr, og likte ikke det han fant: Hold your applause.

Umm Qasr was the first town liberated by coalition forces. But 20 days into the war, it is without running water, security or adequate food supplies. I went in with a Kuwaiti relief team, who, taking pity on the Iraqis, tossed out extra food from a bus window as we left. The Umm Qasr townsfolk scrambled after that food like pigeons jostling for bread crumbs in a park.

This was a scene of humiliation, not liberation. We must do better.

Faren er et vakuum. Men amerikanerne kan umulig la seieren gli dem ut av hendene og la Irak bli et nytt Albania: Friedman forklarer hvorfor det ikke er så lett for folk å heie på amerikanerne:

When I asked Dr. Safaa Khalaf at Umm Qasr Hospital why the reception for U.S. forces had been so muted, he answered: «Many people here have sons who were soldiers. They were forced to join the army. Many people lost their sons. They are angry from the war. Since the war, no water, no food, no electricity. . . . We have not had water for washing or drinking for five days. . . . There is no law, no policeman to arrest people. I don’t see yet the American reign of running the country.»

Amerika kommer ikke til å walk away this time, i den bokstavelige betydning. Men de trenger all den finess og subtilitet de kan for ikke å støte folk. Friedman tar poenget:

But this is such a broken land. Its spirit was broken by Saddam long before we arrived, and now, because of this war, its major cities and iron-fisted order are being broken as well. Killing Saddam alone will not bring America the thank-yous it expects because Iraqis are not yet feeling free. Only replacing Saddam’s order with a better order will do that.

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