Liberators or Conquerors?

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photoFundamental to the U.S. strategy in the war in Iraq is the assumption that beyond the circle of Saddam's core troops and enforcers, the American invasion will be received as an overwhelming mission of mercy.

It's a terrible "what if," but it is haunting the American conversation on war right now. What if the beleaguered population of Iraq, tortured so long by hunger and deprivation and the brutal, sadistic regime of Saddam Hussein, somehow turns to see the thousands of young American men and women now battling across their country not as liberators, but as conquerors?

Ahmed al-Rahim, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, says that the Iraqi people are feeling ambivalent about rising up against Saddam's regime, given what happened during the 1991 Gulf War. He also believes that Iraqi people will welcome the U.S. troops, but only when they are certain that Saddam Hussein's regime is crumbling down.

Click the "Listen" link to hear more about how Iraqis perceive the U.S. war in Iraq and what the implications of these perceptions could be for the future of Iraq.


Ahmed al-Rahim, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University

Ian Lustick, Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania

Jack Beatty, On Point News Analyst and Senior Editor at the Atlantic Monthly magazine.

This program aired on March 27, 2003.


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