How Did Iraq and the United States Become Enemies?

History Q & A

Mr. Buzzanco is associate professor of history at the University of Houston and author of Masters of War: Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era; Vietnam and the Transformation of American Life; and co-editor, with Marilyn Young, of A Companion to the Vietnam War.

While relations with Iraq have virtually dominated American foreign policy considerations for the past decade, and serve as the current casus belli of the Bush administration, the United States has a much longer history of involvement with that nation, a background which provides essential perspective on today’s crisis and Washington’s role in Iraqi politics over the past half-century.

America’s interest in the Middle East grew exponentially after World War II because of oil. The Middle East was serving as a pipeline for British and French empires prior to the war, but the U.S. quickly came to dominate the petroleum resources of the region; by 1944 American corporations controlled over 40 percent of Middle East oil reserves, and by 1955 U.S. companies were producing over 50 percent of oil from the region, and providing Europe with over 90 percent of its oil imports.

Of course, such economic interests would require political hegemony as well, and the United States acted forcefully in the postwar era to consolidate control over Middle Eastern states. In 1953, the CIA organized a successful coup against Iran’s nationalist leader, Mohammed Mossadegh, who was planning to nationalize oil resources, and in 1955, the U.S. facilitated the establishment of the Baghdad Pact, an alliance between Iraq and other Middle Eastern states to contain the Soviet Union and Arab nationalism, as well as to coordinate military, political and economic affairs in the region.

At this time, Iraq, under the leadership of King Faisal, was a reliable U.S. ally, but the specter of Arab nationalism, represented by Egypt’s President Gamel Abdel Nasser, would cause dramatic changes in Baghdad. In July 1958, a nationalist coup led by General Abdel Karim Kassim ousted Faisal and the new government maintained friendly relations with Nasser. Later that year, however, President Dwight Eisenhower sent 14,000 troops into Lebanon to “restore order” and Kassim got the message, assuring the U.S. that its interests in Iraq were safe and distancing his regime from Egypt, but also removing Iraq from, and thus ending, the Baghdad Pact.

Kassim began a repression of the Iraqi Left and many officers, including Saddam Hussein, fled to Egypt and elsewhere in the late 1950s and early 1960s. But Kassim himself was ousted and assassinated in a 1963 coup led by officers of the Ba’ath Party [The Arab Socialist Renaissance Party], who, however, lost their upper hand to more radical officers and could not hold on to power. Reportedly, American intelligence operatives began to cooperate with Ba’ath officers, providing them with names of alleged communists and other radicals, who were murdered en masse. Then, five years later, Ba’athists successfully took control of government with Saddam Hussein as a minor figure in the government. Through political maneuvering, imprisonment, and murder of his rivals, however, Saddam soon led the regime.

The U.S., though initially supportive of Ba’athist Iraq, turned quickly and began to support separatist Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq in the early 1970s. In 1975, however, the U.S. reached an agreement to seal the border between Iraq and Turkey, the site of Kurdish resistance, and Saddam immediately slaughtered thousands of Kurds, prompting Henry Kissinger’s famous explanation that “covert operations should not be confused with missionary work.”

Just a few years later, Iraqi-American relations reached their high point. As Ayotallah Khomenei’s Islamic Revolution took hold in Iran, the United States saw Teheran as its main adversary in the Middle East, as did Iraq. Consequently, with huge levels of American support–over $40 billion in weapons and technology through the 1980s, with many transactions “off book”–Iraq fought against Iran for nearly a decade. In the latter stages of battle, eventually won by Iraq, U.S. officers provided intelligence and tactical advice to the Iraqis, all the while Baghdad was using chemical and biological weapons on the battlefield to suppress the Iranians. Once the war ended, Saddam killed many thousands of his own Kurdish population with chemical weapons. Meanwhile, U.S. economic aid to Iraq increased.

The war against Iran, however, left Iraq with huge debts, which they could only pay through oil exports. The world oil market was in a relative state of over-supply, however, and the neighboring state of Kuwait was pumping large amounts of oil, and he suspected the Kuwaitis of using new technologies to take oil from Iraqi fields. Moreover, Iraq still considered Kuwait part of its own kingdom–the two areas had been artificially separated by British imperial officials in 1922–and wanted easy access to the sea for trade.

In July 1990 Saddam’s diplomats met with the U.S. Ambassador April Glasbie, who told them that Washington would take no position with regard to regional border disputes, a view that Baghdad reasonably assumed was a green light to enter Kuwait, which it did in August 1990. After initial vacillation, President George Bush, bolstered by hawkish advice from British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who exhorted him not “to go wobbly,” declared “this will not stand,” and imposed sanctions and bought an international coalition to oppose Iraq. By November 1990, over a half-million American forces had been deployed to Saudi Arabia and the U.N. Security Council had ordered Iraq to evacuate Kuwait by 15 January 1991 or face attack.

Between November and January, the Bush administration prepared for war, rebuffing calls for negotiations at home and abroad and rebuffing Iraqi overtures for diplomacy. Finally, on 16 January, Bush commenced “Operation Desert Storm” which, in short order, devastated Iraq, mostly with a spectacular air war that destroyed Iraqi infrastructure and morale. In late February, Bush unleashed the ground war, which forced a massive Iraqi retreat from Kuwait and ended the war in just 100 hours.

The destruction of January and February 1991 would pale, however, with the devastation of the next decade. Because Saddam Hussein remained in power at the end of the Gulf War, the U.S. and U.N. placed harsh sanctions on Iraq to force the regime to disarm. In the past decade, many Iraqis have died -- with some human-rights groups putting the number close to a million -- because of intolerable health conditions caused by the war and embargoes on basic medical resources. Saddam, despite continuous wrangling with arms inspectors and intensified repression of his own people, has been contained, and poses no threat to outside states.

The American obsession with Saddam remains unabated, though. Most recently, in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Bush administration has been trying to build a consensus on attacking Iraq, offering various rationales for the need to invade Baghdad. Saddam, Bush insists, has been exporting terrorism in conjunction with Al-Queda, has been developing nuclear weapons, and represses his own people. For the first two charges, no evidence exists, while Saddam’s repression against his own, especially the Kurds, has been known for years and tolerated by the U.S.

When observed in historical perspective, current American saber rattling against Iraq has even less justification. The United States has developed relations with Iraq to suit its own purposes, supporting regimes which harm their own citizens, encouraging and funding wars against neighboring states, providing technology for weapons-building, and using Saddam as a justification for war and sanctions. Despite this, Saddam Hussein remains in power, the people of Iraq suffer brutal hardships on a daily basis, and the United States offers no solution except more destruction and chaos.

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Ward Bradford Levingston - 3/2/2006

A follow up to my original post...
My web site has now been relocated to

Tim Fisher - 3/4/2004

Sounds like you will too

Dennis - 12/2/2003

100 voices of reason for you, Saddam-loving numbscull:

“Most of the people in this city, they want to give the Americans a chance. But there are bad people, Saddam’s people, and they do not.”
-- Khalat Awad, an Iraqi man wounded in the blast, New York Times, November 21, 2003

“We have a circulation of 50,000 in Baghdad, another 15,000 in Basra, each edition carrying 12 pages of foreign and Arab news and eight of local news. It’s good to feel like a real journalist at last.”
--Saad Al-Bazaz, editorial supervisor of the Al-Zaman newspaper in Iraq speaking on the new freedom of Iraqi press; Robert Fisk, Op-ed, The Capital Times, November 20, 2003

“My own suffering began 22 years ago. Every day, until the [Coalition] soldiers come, I cry. From the moment the soldiers entered the city, they opened my eyes. Saddam had a file on me, and no one would hire me for fear they would be arrested along with me. I did not have long to live in Saddam’s eyes. Now I am free.”
--Zena, 28, who wanted Americans to know how grateful she was for the Coalition victory against Saddam in Baghdad, Knight Ridder Newspapers, November 20, 2003

“A lot of families do not have fathers or husbands because of Saddam Hussein. Women are taking their rightful places with men, to help rebuild our country. I believe if a woman is efficient, she will shoot like a missile to the top of success.”
--Asma Tome, 27, a physician and a member of the Kademiyah city advisory council’s subcommittee on women and childhood, Knight Ridder, November 20, 2003

“With little fanfare, Iraqis in the 85 neighborhoods of Baghdad already have made history. For the first times in their lives, they voted by raising their hands for representatives. Now they are learning how to govern and trust in their own leadership instead of a dictator’s.”
--Lee Hill Kavanaugh, Knight Ridder Newspapers, November 20, 2003

“In Baghdad today, there are scores of newspapers and nearly as many political parties. For the first time in 35 years the basic issues facing Iraq can be loudly debated in public rather than fearfully whispered behind closed doors. Iraq today is a success.”
--Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Governing Council President, The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2003

“Right now, the burden on us is to teach them about humanity. Even now, there are mothers fearful of asking about their loved ones who disappeared six months ago, for fear they (the mothers) will be killed like it was before. We are teaching them to trust that those days are forever gone. We have much work ahead.”
--Zena, 28, who is involved in the advisory council for the city of Kademiyah in Iraq, Knight Ridder Newspapers, November 20, 2003.

“I like what I read. We appreciate Mr. Bush. We’re all waiting for the fruits of change.”
--Karal Nadji, a Shia street vendor who sells shoes, speaking on the pro-coalition and anti-Saddam graffiti in Baghdad, Newsday, November 19, 2003

“Down Saddam the infidel and long live Bush the believer!”
--Graffiti slogans on a Baghdad wall, Newsday, November 19, 2003

“I believe absolutely in democracy.… The people have a hunger for democracy, for the person who will represent them.”
--Mohammed Baqir Nasseri, a cleric in southern Iraq, The Washington Post, November 17, 2003

“I am very happy and proud. The dream of the Iraqi people has been achieved today.”
--Jalan Talabani, Kurdish leader of the Iraqi Governing Council, on the new timetable for Iraqi sovereignty, Australian Financial Review, November 17, 2003

“Perhaps I will be in Parliament myself. Why not?”
-- Sheik Thair Kamiz Thari al-Zuba'i, a 76 year old cleric who wants to correct the years of injustice brought onto his family under Saddam’s rule, The Boston Globe, November 17, 2003

“It's not the most important thing -- a missed chance or a goal. It's much more important to bring some good news to the world over Iraq. And to play soccer here -- a ‘Peace Game’ -- is the good news.”
--Bernd Stange, Iraqi soccer coach, after winning the “World Peace Game” in Australia, Agence Free Presse, November 16, 2003

No to terrorism, yes to freedom and peace.”
--Banner at an Iraqi march to express solidarity with foreign troops after suicide bombing at Italian base, Agence France Presse, November 15, 2003

“Freedom has come; I can now speak openly what's on my mind.”
--Taleen Shehranian, oboe player in the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, Associated Press, November 15, 2003

“God bless the police.”
--Iraqi shopkeeper, shouting at Iraqi police officers who conducted morning raids in Baghdad, The New York Times, November 15, 2003

“Mister good!”
--Iraqi children, in broken English, to British soldiers in Basra, The Boston Globe, November 11, 2003

“We used to sit and dream about people with satellite television. Now I have it so the kids can watch sports. Before I had a wreck of a car. Now I bought a nice used one. We fixed up the house, too. I guess I'm rich.”
--Mohamed, a schoolteacher, whose salary rose from $30 a month to $300 under the Coalition Provisional Authority, The New York Times, November 11, 2003

“I am amazed. It is even better than before.”
--Abdul Ghani Yousef, manager of the newly reopened Sinjar Cement Factory, built by Iraqi contractors, which is more productive now then during Saddam’s rule, The Washington Post, November 10, 2003

“The rumbling, rust-colored cement factory tucked into a valley in the northwest corner of the country here stands as a monument to the success of the reconstruction effort. Burned and looted in the aftermath of the war, it was up and running again by mid-September. . . . With the help of $ 10,000 from the U.S. military, and $ 240,000 left over in factory bank accounts, they [Iraqi contractors] used scrap electronics, tore up one production line to get parts for the other, and fixed the plant in three months. It was not the state-of-the-art facility that the Americans envisioned, but it got the job done.”
--Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post, November 10, 2003

“For Mr. [Hayder] Mounthir, the fall of Mr. Hussein was like ‘taking the gag out of my mouth,’ and he was now free to put on his play again, without the threat of censorship.”
--Yochi Dreazen, reporting on a new play in Baghdad portraying Saddam’s atrocities, The Wall Street Journal, November 10, 2003

“We have formed a first Cabinet, we have set up committees toward writing a constitution, and neighboring countries and allies recognize us. We had to gain recognition as an Iraqi body with an Iraqi will, independent of the coalition. The Arab League, the United Nations and the Islamic Congress have recognized us. That's quite an achievement.”
--Samir Shakir Mahmoud Sumaidy, Iraqi Governing Council, Knight Ridder Newspapers, November 9, 2003

“Security in the city's neighborhoods is perfectly all right. We hope Japanese businesses will also come here and reduce unemployment.”
-- Ali Dafaai, head of the Samawah city council in Iraq discussing plans for the refurbishing of a hospital, Asahi News Service, November 7, 2003

“Now there's freedom in riding. In the past, there were times when we were forced to lose or to let someone else win. Today, we ride freely.”
--Kasim Daoud, a jockey in Baghdad, Channel News Asia, November 6, 2003

“The smiling children swarmed the theater at Al Farouq Secondary School and grabbed at the stacks of navy shoulder bags. A gift from the American government, the bags were stocked with goodies such as notebooks, rulers, geometry sets, and a real treat – premium No. 2 pencils, something that had been hard to come by under the previous regime.”
--Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post, November 5, 2003

“We are very happy today. We never used to have bags like theses.”
--Dhia Aqeel, an 11th grade student who proudly displayed his new shoulder bag provided by the American government, The Washington Post, November 5, 2003

“Despite everything, it's better than before. Of course we're optimistic. We have a saying: ‘If you are optimistic, you'll find good things.’”
--Haidar Ghazy, Iraqi clothing store owner in Karada, The New York Times, November 4, 2003

“We don't have to bribe the custom officers anymore, there are no tariffs.”
--Iraqi used car salesman, ABC News, November 4, 2003

“It is what we heard often, the fear of the old regime is something that people here will never miss.”
--Jim Sciutto, ABC News reporter, ABC News, November 4, 2003

“You ask them about the future of Iraq, the majority of them, after complaining about all sorts of little things like the price of goods going up, you ask them ‘Is your life better after Saddam?’ and they say of course it’s much better.”
--Terry McCarthy, Time Magazine Reporter, ABC News, November 2, 2003

“Before people were afraid to come to Najaf, now they are coming and our earnings have doubled.”
--Iraqi business owner, ABC News, November 3, 2003

“I can teach what I want and I am earning $180 a month instead of $13.”
--Iraqi teacher, ABC News, November 3, 2003

“The best thing about life now is freedom. You can say anything, go anywhere.”
--Haider Kadhim, internet-café consultant from Basra, Time, November 10, 2003

“We made sacrifices for this freedom. [Freedom will last] forever, I think. And it’ll be better after a month, and after a year, much better. I think so.”
--Ayad Abdul Kareem Muhssin, who lost his newborn daughter after his wife went into premature labor during the bombing of Baghdad, Time, November 10, 2003

“In the central market [of Amarah in southern Iraq] merchants can’t remember a time when business was better. The main reason is the dramatic rise in disposable income now that the coalition is paying public employees $60 to $180 a month. Before the war, teachers earned $5 to $10, policemen $20.”
--Terry McCarthy, Time, November 10, 2003

“There is lots of construction now. Before we couldn’t even bring in a single bag of cement.”
--Salam Nissan Shamoun, Iraqi postmaster, Time November 10, 2003

“Now you don’t need money to get a doctor. Now the doctors are honest.”
--Hassan Mahmoud, who had to bribe doctors, nurses, and administrators to care for his injured son under Saddam, Time, November 10, 2003

" There is lots of opportunity, lots of money in the markets.”
--Sa'ad Basim al-Izzi, Iraqi pharmaceuticals and medical appliances dealer, The Boston Globe, November 2, 2003

“The borders are open, there is no Ministry of Health bureaucracy to negotiate, and no duties. Salaries are much better. Before, salaries were so low, people sold their furniture. But now there is free trade, and we buy and sell what we like.
--Sa'ad Basim al-Izzi, pharmaceuticals and medical appliance dealer, who recently was able to purchase a bed, The Boston Globe, November 2, 2003

“Under Saddam, the wealth of Iraq was spent on guns and other weapons. Now, God willing, this money will be spent on the welfare of our people.”
--Jamal Hameed Ali, animal merchant in Baghdad, The Boston Globe, November 2, 2003

“The once-dingy [Baghdad] school has received a remake courtesy of the occupation, making a true believer of Hadia Mohammed Kidaier, 50, its principal. ‘They plastered and painted. They rebuilt the bathrooms. They're putting in water coolers,’ she said. New furniture, blackboards, and textbooks have been promised.”
--Charles A. Radin, The Boston Globe, November 2, 2003

“Of course, the school is nicer now, and my cousins at the [nearby] Yemen School received a bag of notebooks and pencils and pencil sharpeners from the Americans. They say we will, too.”
--Shafak Salah, an Iraqi fifth-grader at the Al Wihda al Arabia public primary school, The Boston Globe, November 2, 2003

“We are taking the highest security levels today and we will not be lazy about doing our duty. It's true that we are threatened, targeted to be hit at any moment, but this will not prevent us from coming to our ministry and doing our job. We will not sit in our houses.”
--Ameen Khazaal Khalif, Iraqi Police First Lieutenant, Knight Ridder Newspapers, November 2, 2003

“They [terrorists] just want us to stop the rebuilding in Iraq.”
--Bashar Salim Mahmoud, Iraqi barbershop owner, responding to terrorist threats against Iraqi merchants and government employees, Knight Ridder Newspapers November 2, 2003

“We will never close. … Here in Kadhimiya market, the security is very good. We are not worried.”
--Ali Jawad, owner of the a jewelry store, after terrorists threatened the lives of Iraqi merchants who remained open for business, The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 1, 2003

“After the Americans arrived, we were very proud to be policemen. We worked very hard.”
--Mudhaffar Mozan, Iraqi warrant police officer whose police station doubled the number of officers since before the war and set up an emergency hotline for residents of the neighborhood, The Washington Post, November 1, 2003

“I chose right in coming here. We need the safety. We need freedom.”
--Ahmed al-Naseri, a resident of Tikrit, while waiting to receive an identity card from U.S. troops attempting to keep dangerous outsiders from entering the city, The Associate Press, November 1, 2003

“Things are getting better in a visible way, day by day.”
--Ali al-Sharif, Iraqi restaurant manager, The New York Times, October 27, 2003

“We used to be very constricted. Now we are finally free to fulfill the duties which religion demands of us.”
--Talib Jasim al-Jassiri, Iraqi Shiite leader who is now has more freedom to practice his religion, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, October 27, 2003

“One time they [Baathist officials] fired my entire staff. I had to close. This doesn't happen anymore . . . we are free from pressure now.”
--Yossif Abod, candy store owner who was forced to fire southern Iraqis by government security officials during Saddam, The New York Times, October 27, 2003

“Before the trial was a parody. Someone would come into the court connected with the [Baathist] regime and [government officials would] say it was better not to sentence him.”
--Varrack Bassam, assistant Iraqi judge, who now enjoys freedom from the state when sentencing criminals, The New York Times, October 27, 2003

“I was being forced to serve in Saddam's army. If I'd deserted they would have tortured me. God, I hated it.”
--Ahmed al-Dhim, Iraqi date salesman, whose business is booming with the beginning of Ramadan, Christian Science Monitor, October 27, 2003

“One time they [Baathist officials] fired my entire staff. I had to close. This doesn't happen anymore ... we are free from pressure now.”
--Yossif Abod, candy store owner who was forced to fire southern Iraqis by government security officials during Saddam, The New York Times, October 27, 2003

“We feel safe when we see the patrol coming.”
--Suhab Jumaa, who serves as a live-in caretaker for an Iraqi school guarded by Coalition forces, Copley News Service, October 25, 2003

“I am happy to hear the news. Hopefully I can reach Karrada street (a busy commercial center) on the other side of the river in 15 minutes.”
--Ibrahim Abdullah, after the last closed bridge in Baghdad was opened to traffic by Coalition Provisional Authority, Xinhua News Agency, October 25, 2003

"Iraq has made many new friends in the last few days. The pledges we have had today will help us get back on our feet. They represent a huge investment by the international community in Iraq.”
--Ayad Allawi, President of the Iraqi Interim Governing Council, after receiving donations from the international community at the Madrid conference, Agence France Presse, October 25, 2003

"You can wander anywhere in Karbala today, and you will not see a rifle. Most of us have no problem with the coalition here.”
-- Lt. Col. Rassaq Abid Ali, Iraqi police chief in Karbala, Iraq, The Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2003

“You're our heroes. You're our heroes!”
-- A crowd of Iraqis in a Baghdad tea shop, cheering for Iraqi police in search of kidnappers, Agence Free Press, October 21, 2003

“It is the first Ramadan celebrated in freedom.”
-- Sheikh al-Araji, a Shiite cleric, who, like all Shiites, was not allowed to celebrate the Muslim holy day under Saddam, Agence Free Press, October 21, 2003

“Security has improved by 60 percent, he [Mohammed Hayawi] said somewhat arbitrarily. He makes six, maybe seven times more money than he did two months ago, selling long-banned books from Lebanon and Iran. The Americans deserve some credit, he said, but Iraqis deserve far more, their resilience honed by decades of hardship.”
-- Anthony Shadid, in an interview with Mohammed Hayawi, Baghdad bookstore owner, The Washington Post, October 22, 2003

“Within two to six months, US soldiers should be positioned at their bases outside the cities and the [Iraqi] police would call on them if they need help.”
-- Ibrahim Junbari, aid to Iraqi Governing Council President, Agence Free Press, October 21, 2003

“I wanted to do something good for Iraq.”
-- Tahir al-Shamri, 27, a trainee in the new Iraqi Civilian Defense Corp which will provide internal security to Iraq, Associated Press, October 20, 2003

“We are exporting 1 million barrels [of oil] a day, and it will be double that by the end of the second quarter of next year. It will be 6 million barrels a day by the end of the decade. We have the human resources in Iraq to achieve that, and the international investment will also be there.”
-- Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, Iraqi oil minister, The Houston Chronicle, October 19, 2003

“This city in southern Iraq [Nasiriyah] saw some of the fiercest fighting of the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein. Yet today the most visible uniform here is not military, but the bright blue overalls of new municipal workers on an urban beautification project. Life, residents say, is getting better.”
-- Tyler Marshall and John Daniszewski, The Los Angeles Times, October 19, 2003

“Nearly everywhere, Iraqis said delivery of essential services such as electricity, potable water and emergency health care is gradually improving. Gas station lines have shortened, more members of the coalition-trained Iraqi police are on the streets, courts have begun operating, and schools have reopened – many refurbished and newly equipped. Fledgling media have sprouted in many communities, and local and provincial governing councils have started work.”
-- Tyler Marshall and John Daniszewski, The Los Angeles Times, October 19, 2003

“I hope women will have a good future in Iraq. They are tired, they are sad, they are trapped in the house . . . We have a lot of women who are educated, active, who quit college because society was so repressive. Now they are coming back.”
-- Munther Gorbas Hussein, 45, who attended a meeting of the League of Iraqi Women, a women’s rights group, with his wife, The Miami Herald, October 19, 2003

“When they say it's an occupation, I say, and why wasn't Saddam? I get frustrated with that. Every day without Saddam is a blessing. I think I can speak for Iraqis on that. Impatience is going to do us injustice.”
-- Ban Saraf, Iraqi-American who is teaching Iraqis about town hall democracy, Christian Science Monitor, October 8, 2003

“We have a circulation of 50,000 in Baghdad, another 15,000 in Basra, each edition carrying 12 pages of foreign and Arab news and eight of local news. It's good to feel like a real journalist at last.”
-- Saad al-Bazaz, editorial supervisor of the Baghdad newspaper Az-Zaman, The Independent (London) October 7, 2003

“From our perspective, we are so excited the United States went in and are trying to help the Iraqi people. The majority of Iraqis are very happy that Saddam Hussein is out of there.”
-- Basila Sulaka Graham, Iraqi Chaldean American who immigrated to the United States at the age of seven, Desert News (Salt Lake City, Utah), October 7, 2003

“Until now, we were denied mobile phones. Iraqis will welcome the chance to use mobile phones to talk to their families, friends and for business.”
-- Haider Jawad al-Aubadi, Iraqi Communication Minister, after contracts were award to cellular phone providers, Associated Press, October 6, 2003

“Praises be to God, it's finally safe to come out again.”
-- Haider Saffa, Iraqi tool salesman who is now free to speak his mind at a Baghdad café without fear of Saddam informers, Christian Science Monitor, October 6, 2003

“They've got more Iraqis out on the streets as police now, and that's making a difference. We've got to return to a normal life.”
-- Haider Saffa, Iraqi tool salesman, who now stays out until the extended midnight curfew in Baghdad, Christian Science Monitor, October 6, 2003

“Whatever bad thing you heard [about life under Hussein] multiply it by 10. Those of you who lived outside cannot possibly fathom what we went through living under his rule.”
-- Yaser, Iraqi tourism agent, Washington Post, October 5, 2003

“Before the war, the main [race horse] track in Baghdad was run as a private club by a group of Saddam's cronies. Today, the crowd is much more eclectic, some Iraqis said, with Arabs in traditional robes, Shias in Iraqi dress and men dressed like American racetrack touts milling about. One group was missing. There were no American soldiers who had been providing security at the track until recent days. Now, Iraqi policemen were watching.”
-- Micheal Hedges, The Houston Cronicle, October 5, 2003

“The streets of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul bustle with commerce. Restaurants are filled late into the night as the heat of summer abates along with the fear of crime. Schools, many refurbished with the help of Americans, reopened last week. New textbooks, cleansed of Saddam Hussein's image, are being printed. The curfew has been extended an hour, until midnight.”
--Patrick Tyler, New York Times, October 5, 2003

“Now we are savouring freedom.”
-- Rajaa al-Khuzai, member of Iraqi Governing Council, Agence France Presse, October 2, 2003

“Before we write as they tell us, now we write what we believe. I feel I am happier now. I am now really a journalist. For 27 years I was working, but now it’s very different.”
-- Nada Shawket, writer at Azaman Newspaper, FOX News, October 1, 2003

“Things are getting better day by day.”
-- Chato Mohammed, manager of Victory Theater in Baghdad, Associated Press, October 1, 2003

“She was supposed to draw a line through a photograph of Saddam to show the printer what to remove. But when she put her pen at the corner of the picture she couldn't bring herself to make the line. I said, ‘Don't be afraid, bring the line down.’ She went halfway and stopped. I ordered her again, and finally she made it all the way. She looked up and said, ‘I can't believe I was able to do that.’”
-- Fuad Hussein, an advisor to the Ministry of Education helping Iraqi teachers edit textbooks for the new school year, New York Times, October 1, 2003

“We used to teach our kids and our students to have a double face policy. That is to say that when we whisper to each other we talk the truth, but when we talk, we talk something different.”
-- Iraqi, FOX News, October 1, 2003

“I will seek the presidency of the republic and there is nothing that can deny me this.”
-- Emmanuel Baba Dano, better known as “Ammo Baba” (Uncle Baba), a famous Iraqi soccer player and coach, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, October 1, 2003

“Suffocated by years of military dictatorship and UN sanctions, Iraq's movie industry is staging its first post-war come back with a feature film shot amid the rubble of Baghdad and the US-led occupation.”
-- Rouba Kabbara, Agence France Presse, October 1, 2003

“The future, I think, is brighter,”
-- Jaber Bustan, an English teacher who’s salary rose from $13 a month to $180 after the fall of Saddam, Associated Press, October 1, 2003.

“We want the exercise to teach students and teachers that the days of fear are finished.”
-- Fuad Hussein, an adviser to the Ministry of Education, who has been supervising the de-Baathication of textbooks, New York Times, October 1, 2003

“The lessons would be so boring and stupid, but we had no choice. Anyone who laughed would be punished.”
-- Rand Amir, a fifth grade student in Iraq whose classmates celebrated Saddam’s fall by ripping out pictures of Saddam from their textbooks and throwing them out the window, New York Times, October 1, 2003

“When we taught about bacteria in biology class, we explained that Saddam brought antibacterial soap and drugs into Iraq. Whenever his name was mentioned, it had [to] be followed with ‘God protect him and keep him our president.’”
-- Nada al-Jalili, an elementary-school teacher at the Tigris School for Girls in Baghdad, New York Times, October 1, 2003

“We are beginning all over again with the athletes, with the youth. We are doing our best to rebuild sports in Iraq, and it will take time. But you will see.”
-- Ah Hassan, Iraqi Olympic track and field coach, Newsday, October 1, 2003

“Iraqis are very eager to read and express themselves and it is very good for Iraqis to have more than one newspaper to express what they want to say.”
-- Iraqi newspaper employee, FOX News, October 1, 2003

“No one else helped us, only the Americans. I want to say thank you to so many people across an ocean. We shall take good care of this school.”
-- Mahmud Al-Jaburi, Iraqi police General, Associated Press, October 1, 2003.

“It is not ideal, but then it was not ideal in Saddam’s time. Psychologically, we are much better today.”
-- Mahdi Jasim Moosa, hospital director in Al-Yarmuk, Time, October 1, 2003

"I used to think that if a boy didn't come to class day after day I should just have him expelled. But maybe there's a reason he is not coming that I should look into, like his parents making him work."
-- Khaled Hinaidi, a young teacher from Diwaniyah, Iraq, after attending American seminar on new instructional methods, Christian Science Monitor, September 29, 2003

"When we were in prison we could only think of survival. But now Saddam has gone, we have democracy in place of dictatorship and I am proud to be playing my part. Like a new school term, it's a fresh start for all of us."
-- Khairiya Hatim, Iraqi town councilor who was imprisoned at the age of six because her family belonged to a banned opposition party, Sunday Telegraph (London), September 28, 2003

"For the sake of my father and all the others whom Saddam killed, we are trying to make a better Iraq. After 35 years of tyranny, it is not easy and there are many problems, but I think the future will be bright."
-- Kahiriya Hatim, Iraqi town councilor, Sunday Telegraph (London), September 28, 2003

"At the age of six, Khairiya Hatim became one of Saddam Hussein's youngest political prisoners, jailed with her whole family for four years in a desert camp for their allegiance to a banned opposition party. Twenty-one years later, she is one of the faces of the new Iraq, a town councillor in a country where unmarried young women normally play little part in public life."
-- Philip Sherwell, Sunday Telegraph (London) September 28, 2003

"The cascade of bad news from Iraq leaves a returning visitor unprepared for a small surprise here: Compared to six months ago when the war ended, the Iraqi capital is cleaner and more orderly.… Electricity in the city remains spotty, but it is now on more than off. There are still lines at gas stations, but they are shorter. Stores are stocked with goods, and restaurants that used to close at dusk for fear of bandits now stay open until 9. … The U.S. military is less visible than six months ago. There are occasional army patrols, and there is a huge military presence out of sight at the airport and in other encampments. But this looks less like a city under occupation."
-- Mary Beth Sheridan, The Washington Post, September 28, 2003

"The U.S.-led coalition has rushed to introduce changes in the education system, with the idea that it will help create democracy in post-war Iraq. Teachers’ salaries were increased almost immediately after the war to about $160 a month – a small fortune for those used to earning $15 a month, plus daily tips from students looking for higher grades."
-- Vivienne Walt, The Toronto Star, September 28, 2003

"The U.S. Army for the first time Saturday gave Iraq's provisional government responsibility for patrolling a stretch of the country's borders – a sensitive, 210-mile region of forbidding desert frontier between Iraq and Iran. The transfer was significant … the border is a popular crossing point for illegal Iranian pilgrims en route to Shiite holy sites, raising fears that al-Qaida or other terrorists could sneak through in disguise."
-- Patrick Quinn, Associated Press, September 27, 2003

"Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic city of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Assyrians that is 150 miles north of the capital, may be the U.S. military's greatest Iraq success story. Attacks on soldiers are rare, violent crime rates are low and Iraqis have worked with Americans to restore basic services to pre-war levels."
--Knight Ridder Newspapers, September 26, 2003

"We love the Americans here. They have done many good things. Kirkuk [Iraq] is a stable city."
--Mustafa Adna, 18, a Turkmen fruit vendor, Knight Ridder Newspapers, September 26, 2003

"They [American forces] are dealing with people in a good way."
--Fatah Mohammed, 47, Knight Ridder Newspapers, September 26, 2003

"Evidence is emerging that Iraqis are beginning to profit from the lifting of sanctions after the US-led war by discovering the pleasures of health and beauty products and activities which until recently were prohibited."
-- The Daily Telegraph, September 25, 2003

"Now we make the decisions. Before the war, Saddam Hussein's relatives were untouchable."
--1st Lt. Basel Misfer, Iraqi police, Christian Science Monitor, September 24, 2003

"We [are] happy ... because when we switch on the television you never see Saddam Hussein. That's a big happy for the Iraqi people."
--Talib, an Iraqi who works for the state tobacco company, FoxNews, September 24, 2003

"Our Iraqi people continue in their life because the life not stop because the war."
--Anham, bride who no longer needs Baath party approval to get married, FoxNews, September 24, 2003

"If it wasn't for the American Army, Iraq would be very bad. The strong would eat the weak."
--Rakad Mijbil Rakad, staff sergeant in the new Iraqi Army, Christian Science Monitor, September 23, 2003

"Since Baghdad collapsed you see so many young men out playing soccer. When Saddam Hussein was in power, the young men were forced into the army or into other state things. He imposed himself on even the tiniest things in our lives. He's gone and we have more space in our lives, and the boys find freedom to play what they love."
--Ibrahim Khalil, an Iraqi soccer coach, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2003

"It's all changed since the war. We play with full freedom now."
--Mohammed Haider, youth soccer player, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2003

"For security and peace, I want the coalition army to stay. There will be even more chaos if they leave."
--Tahsin Sady, artist and factory worker, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2003

"I tried to play soccer under Saddam's regime. But if you didn't have the right relatives or friends you were kicked out of the soccer clubs. That’s how it worked."
--Mohammed Abdul Amir, youth soccer player, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2003

"This is one of my happiest days. Now we have a government of ministers. We do not have to fear."
--Muhyi K. Alkateeb, Governing Council Secretary, September 4, 2003

"The Americans did us the biggest favor of our lives, so we can say nothing against them. I gave them flowers when they entered the city."
--Qais Abbas Hassan, Iraqi ironsmith, The Washington Post, August 28, 2003

"Iraqis are these days pursuing Saddam to revenge themselves on him and on his gruesome deeds. They want to avenge their dignity, which Saddam and his henchmen wanted to deny indefinitely."
--Al Watan (Iraq) newspaper editorial, August 26, 2003

"Iraq used to be a developed country, and it will be again. It's a very rich country."
-- Sami Thami, acting director of Islam Bank in Baghdad, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2003

"Before the war people were nervous. They didn't know the future. Now they feel it's time to buy."
-- Noel Jonan, manager of an appliance store in Baghdad, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2003

"I was quite afraid. Now we can offer much more, and so people buy more."
-- Mohammed Kassim, who now sells once-banned movies and CDs at his Baghdad shop, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2003

"I'm satisfied that Iraq will change into a free economic market."
-- Humam Shamaa, a Baghdad University economics professor, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2003

"We have no experience in this, governing a democracy. It's a little like raising a child. But we can do it."
-- Nasir Chaderchi, member of the Iraqi Governing Council, The New York Times, August 12, 2003

"Saddam is gone. His prisons and palaces are gone. Look at all the happy faces of the people."
-- Song sung by Iraqis greeting relatives returning from exile, The New York Times, August 11, 2003

"Now we have freedom in all ways. But the freedom has its own limits."
-- Abdul Rahman al-Murshidi, a comic actor in Iraq, The New York Times, August 10, 2003

"The day they buried Uday Hussein was the day Iraqi football rose again. High in the mountains of southern Saudi Arabia the nation whose players had been tortured for years by Saddam's psychotic son have rediscovered their pride, dignity and ability not only to win again but also to play without fear."
-- The Independent (London), August 10, 2003

"It is as if a great weight has been lifted from us. No more terror in our players' eyes. No more returning home to pain and humiliation if our boys are defeated. Now we are free to play the game all Iraqis love as we would wish."
-- Ali Riyah, an Iraqi sports journalist and former torture victim, The Independent (London), August 10, 2003

"Under Uday we lost all contact with the football world. He did not allow courses for referees or coaches, no books to help us. Now we are free again and must look to the future."
-- Najah Hryib, president of the new Iraqi Football Federation, The Independent (London), August 10, 2003

"We have not yet decided on the day, but it will probably be at the beginning of October. We will start by mid-October for sure."
-- Hatim Attila al-Rubayi, deputy president of Baghdad University, on resuming classes, Al-Bawaba, August 10, 2003

"Me, I love the Americans."
-- Atheer al-Ani, who runs a video store in Baghdad, The New York Times, August 8, 2003

"Sometimes I think the only reason I survived was to tell people what happened. It has been a long time, but I think now I can be happy. Saddam is in the dustbin of history, and the black cloud has gone from the Iraqi sky."
-- Wais Abdel Qadr, survivor of the chemical attacks on Halabja, The Washington Post, August 7, 2003

"Saddam wanted to kill us all, but now he's gone and the Americans have come to bring us law and democracy."
-- Jamil Azad, owner of a tea shop in Halabja, The Washington Post, August 7, 2003

"Halabja was once a beautiful and historic place. We had famous poets, and we took many heroic stands. When Saddam fell, everyone here fired shots in the air."
-- Jamil Abdulrahman Mohammed, mayor of Halabja, The Washington Post, August 7, 2003

"We can't just fight the US because they are American; the people must give them a chance. Before the war, we couldn't have the internet, satellite TV or sat phones. There is all this technology in the world that we have been denied."
-- Mohammed Suphi, an Iraqi interpreter for the Americans, The Age (Melbourne), August 7, 2003

"In the 35 years that he ruled, Saddam poisoned Iraqis about the US. The Americans have been here for only four months ... The Kuwaitis worked with the US for 13 years to fix their war damage ... so we have to be patient."
-- Omar al-Captain, an Iraqi interpreter for the Americans, The Age (Melbourne), August 7, 2003

"Sometimes, when they [neighbors] see me, they think I am a ghost. They look and say, 'You live!'"
-- Dr. Ibrahim al-Basri, Saddam's former physician who was imprisoned for 13 years after refusing to join the parliament, The Boston Globe, August 7, 2003

"I am fighting for democracy. I am going to do my best. I am not afraid of any person. The only one I'm afraid of is God."
-- Ibrahim al-Jaafari, first president of the Governing Council, Chicago Tribune, August 7, 2003

"We suffered 35 years. Now the best job is done, there is no more Saddam Hussein and his regime."
-- Yonadam Kanna, leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and member of the Governing Council, Christian Science Monitor, August 7, 2003

"I did not think this day would come. It is a great thing."
-- Sadiq Al Mosawy, an exile returning to Iraq from Australia, Herald Sun (Melbourne), August 6, 2003

"Baghdadis now freely surf the Internet and send e-mail without a government official pacing behind them."
-- The New York Times, August 5, 2003

"Iraqis are very thirsty to learn what is happening outside of Iraq."
-- Abbas Darwish, owner of a Baghdad shop that sells newspapers, The New York Times, August 5, 2003

"Recruitment for Iraq's post-Saddam army started on July 19, and this week, a two-month basic training course gets underway to produce its first 1,000-strong light-armoured mechanised infantry battalion."
-- Agence France-Presse, August 5, 2003

"I can put my head on the pillow and sleep deeply. I can rest now."
-- Ayad Hosni, a barber in Baghdad, Knight Ridder, August 5, 2003

"But neighborhoods in and around Baghdad, staggering from uneven electrical power and water supply, also buzz with normal summer delights. Ice-cream stands are jammed, soccer fields swirl with the dust of matches and bookstores down from the Shabandar [cafe] are open all hours and selling posters of imams and politicians once-reviled by the ousted regime. Booksellers grin when asked about their new reality."
-- Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2003

"You never knew who was sitting next to you. In the past no one would dare to just speak out. Now everybody is talking. About federalism, about a monarchy. ... I think our aims are just one, to eliminate persecution for anyone ever again."
-- Jafar Adel Amr, a tool salesman in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2003

"I can't be optimistic or pessimistic. I don't want to say we can do it or we'll do it well. But the way we've suffered in the past 30 years, we will try to create a new way."
-- Jafar Adel Amr, at the Shabandar cafe in Baghdad, Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2003

"Iraq without its marshes is like the United States without the Grand Canyon. One of the communities that suffered the most under Saddam is the marsh Iraqis. If we're ever going to see justice done in Iraq, part of that justice is restoring these peoples' way of life. This is a matter that goes beyond the environment."
-- Azzam Alwash, an Iraqi exile who has returned to Iraq to restore the wetlands, Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2003

"Iraq is now free and the hawza [or religious school] in Najaf enjoys a free environment like never before, where we can discuss anything and new ideas will certainly flourish."
-- Ayatollah Seyed Hassan Khomeini, grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, The Wall Street Journey, August 4, 2003

"He's a bad guy who has been suppressing his people for 35 years. He needed to go."
-- Nizar A. Zhaiya, who recently returned to his native Iraq, Associated Press, August 4, 2003

"I used to serve sick people, but when I discovered my country was sick I came to politics. I hope to see my country treated, so I can return to a hospital and put my stethoscope back on."
-- Ibrahim al-Jafari, current president of the Iraqi Governing Council, Associated Press, August 4, 2003

"If Saddam had stayed in his seat, we would have gone to a third or fourth war. He made us go from war to war."
-- Omar Hussein al-Azawi, an Iraqi soldier who lost his legs in the invasion of Kuwait, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 3, 2003

"For the first summer in several years, Iraqis ages 12 to 14 are not attending military-style boot camps that Saddam Hussein used as indoctrination into his oppressive machine."
-- Chicago Tribune, August 3, 2003

"We have to be ashamed that we allowed children to go through that [Saddam's summer camps]. But we had no choice, only to go along."
-- Zayneb Waleed Babab, a teacher at an Iraqi orphanage, Chicago Tribune, August 3, 2003

"The only way for me to leave was to escape the country. If I had just quite and gone home, I was afraid that the people who worked for him [Uday] would have stalked me and killed me."
-- Uday's former bodyguard, Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2003

"Freedom is much sweeter. I can get up in the morning and decide whether I want to shave or not; if someone in my family is sick, I can stay home with them. I don't need to ask permission."
-- Salim Kasim, one of Uday's chief mechanics, Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2003

"It brings us to the future, this train."
-- Mohsin al Naif, watching the first train pull into Rabiyah in over a year, Associated Press, July 31, 2003

"Their textbooks were filled with Hussein's regime as well: Math texts substituted S and H for the variables X and Y, reading comprehension paragraphs discussed 'Zionist aggression' and using oil as a political weapon, and other exercises promoted joining the Popular Army as an everyday activity such as buying a music cassette or acting in a play. ... That is changing, as Iraqi teachers and parents team up with U.S. and international organizations to root the former Iraqi dictator out of textbooks and replace militaristic rote learning in Iraqi classrooms."
-- Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2003

"We didn't believe these things, but we had to say them. Saddam was there in all the books, even the math books."
-- Ghada Jassen, a fifth grade teacher in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2003

"We don't want patriotic education anymore. Nothing about war. We want flowers and springtime in the texts, not rifles and tanks."
-- Dunia Nabel, a teacher in Baghdad, Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2003

"Long live great Iraq!"
-- Iraqi students, who are no longer required to salute Saddam at the beginning of class, shouting their new salute, Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2003

"We want to have a real education, to be a progressive country. Education is very important to the reconstruction of our society. If you want to civilize society, you must care about education."
-- Al Sa'ad Majid al Musowi, a businessman on Baghdad's city council, Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2003

"This is where all the money went-all our money went. I am astonished and angry."
-- Salih Fadhil, viewing Saddam's palace in Tikrit, The Daily Telegraph (London), July 31, 2003

"It just reminded me of how powerful Saddam was."
-- Mudhfar Awad, after seeing Saddam's palace in Tikrit, The Daily Telegraph (London), July 31, 2003

"Water is returning to the Mesopotamian marshlands, turned into salt-encrusted desert by Saddam Hussein."
-- The Christian Science Monitor, July 31, 2003

"The return of water had an immediate effect on the people [the Marsh Arabs in Iraq] whom the war had freed. They are fishing again from boats that had not floated for years. Water seems to hold the promise of reviving an old way of life."
-- The Christian Science Monitor, July 31, 2003

"We have full freedom to print anything we want. The coalition doesn't interfere in our work but, of course, we have our own red lines.

" Ishtar el Yassiri, editor of the new satirical Iraqi newspaper Habez Bouz."
-- Financial Times (London), July 31, 2003

"Volleys of Kalashnikov gunfire erupted above the dusty village of Haush al- Jinoub in southern Iraq. Children and weeping women thronged around the bus as it drew to a halt. Out stepped Thabed Mansour, frail and weary after 12 years of exile, for an overwhelmingly emotional reunion with his wife and family. Mr. Mansour was one of 244 men who returned to their native country yesterday in the first formal repatriation of Iraqi refugees since the war ended."
-- The Times (London), July 31, 2003

"It is like the soul coming back to the body."
-- Ibrahim Abdullah, a refugee returning to Iraq, The Times (London), July 31, 2003

"Since Iraq's liberation, the dominant theme of Western news reporting has been the guerrilla attacks against U.S. troops. The focus obscures a larger truth: Life is returning to normal in Iraq-better than normal, actually, because this 'normal' is Saddam-free. All of the country's universities and health clinics have reopened, as have 90 percent of schools. Iraq is now producing 3.4 gigawatts of electric power-85 percent of the pre-war level."
-- National Post (Canada) commentary, July 29, 2003

"The tension is reducing every day. We are seeing a change. People are starting to realize that the soldiers are not here to occupy Fallujah forever-they're here to help us rebuild."
-- Taha Bedawi, mayor of Fallujah, The Washington Post, July 29, 2003

"It's a chance to defend our country for our people. It's good to work with the American soldiers. They give us new training and a mutual respect."
-- Omar Abdullah, a recruit for Mosul's newly formed joint security group, Associated Press, July 29, 2003

"I want to serve a new Iraq."
-- Shevin Majid, a former Kurdish fighter who is now a recruit in the Mosul joint security force, Associated Press, July 29, 2003

"We're happy, we're rid of Saddam Hussein; the torture and executions of 35 years are over. We should wait to see what the Americans will do."
-- Ahmed Abdel-Sahib, in Najaf, The Washington Post, July 28, 2003

"Most Iraqis aren't worried we'll stay too long; they're petrified we'll leave too soon."
-- Paul Gigot, The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2003

"There is a certain harmony. But you can not rebuild a city or country-a country destroyed by war-in one month."
-- Mohammed Tahar al-Abid Rabu, a member of the Mosul city council, Agence France-Presse, July 28, 2003

"More and more businessmen are coming to Iraq. It is a rich country and the Iraqi market is enormous. All the world wants to come and do business here."
-- Captain Adel Khalaf, director of the port at Umm Qasr, Agence France-Presse, July 27, 2003

"For the first time I feel really free."
-- Latif Yahia, Uday's former double, after hearing of Uday's death, Agence France-Presse, July 26, 2003

"The Iraqi people have got rid of two of the biggest criminals in history. Their victims and the sons of their victims, who lived for 35 years under oppression, are feeling proud and happy."
-- Muwaffak al-Rubaiei, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, Agence France-Presse and Reuters, July 25, 2003

"We are more free nowadays. My father gave me the full freedom to marry whom I choose."
-- Raina Nuri, a woman in Baghdad, Christian Science Monitor, July 25, 2003

"We heard about Uday and Qusay being killed and, frankly, we are happy."
-- Fadil Abbas, in the Sadr City suburb of Baghdad, Associated Press, July 24, 2003

"We felt better after the regime fell, now we are really happy-we have been freed from our nightmare."
-- Alaa' Kathem, an Iraqi soccer player who had been punished for losing games, Financial Times (London), July 24, 2003

"If it's really him, we will be so very happy. We will be able to start a new regime of Olympic sport in Iraq. OK, he's gone. We start a new life."
-- Jaffer al-Muthafer, an Iraqi soccer player, Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2003

"Iraq is now free from torture. Free from Uday."
-- Amu Baba, a legendary soccer star in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2003

"We feel safer now because we used to hear lots of stories about girls. We were so afraid to go out in case Uday saw us."
-- Farrah, a 15-year-old Iraqi girl, Newsday (New York), July 24, 2003

"My father died because of Saddam. I don't want to speak about the reasons. But I was so happy. I was at home when I saw it on the TV. I woke up my aunts and told them the good news. I used to hate those guys so much and so I felt so at ease in my heart."
-- Osama Zaid, a distant cousin of Uday, after learning of Uday's death, Newsday (New York), July 24, 2003

"On July 4, some shops and private homes in various parts of Iraq, including the Kurdish areas and cities in the Shiite heartland, put up the star-spangled flag as a show of gratitude to the United States."
-- National Post (Canada), July 22, 2003

"Mobile phones rang Tuesday morning, ushering in the cellular era for Iraqis long deprived of the latest in information technology during their isolation under the fallen strongman Saddam Hussein."
-- Agence France-Presse, July 22, 2003

"Thanks to them [the U.S. army] the security is good. Without them, people would be killing each other."
-- Abdul Wahed Mohsen, in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2003

"Even the blind can see what Saddam Hussein did, taking Iraq into so many wars and doing little even for this town, no sports club, no decent hotels."
-- Wail al-Ali, Tikrit's new mayor, The Guardian, July 22, 2003

"Also, some 85 percent of primary and secondary schools and all but two of the nation's universities have reopened with a full turnout of pupils and teachers. The difference is that there no longer are any mukahebrat (secret police) agents roaming the campuses and sitting at the back of classrooms to make sure lecturers and students do not discuss forbidden topics. Nor are the students required to start every day with a solemn oath of allegiance to the dictator."
-- National Post (Canada), July 22, 2003

"A stroll in the open-air book markets of the Rashid Street reveals that thousands of books, blacklisted and banned under Saddam Hussein, are now available for sale. Among the banned authors were almost all of Iraq's best writers and poets whom many young Iraqis are discovering for the first time. Stalls, offering video and audiotapes for sale, are appearing in Baghdad and other major cities, again giving Iraqis access to a forbidden cultural universe."
-- National Post (Canada), July 22, 2003

"We don't know who are those people who say that. They are outlaws. They just want to make problems."
-- Abdul Wahed Mohsen, on anti-U.S. sloganeering in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2003

"The Americans are giving the Iraqis the space to get our affairs in order."
-- Sheikh Khalid Al-Nuami, a representative on the Najaf ruling council, Agence France-Presse July 21, 2003

"We are flying with happiness since Saddam is gone."
-- Zahar Hassan, in Iraq, Agence France-Presse, July 21, 2003

"There's more opportunity, more chances to earn money."
-- Um Khalid, on life in post-Saddam Baghdad, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2003

"There is a lack of security, but psychologically, things are better, because freedom is nice."
-- Ali Shaban, in Iraq, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2003

"Let the Americans stay, they protect us. I don't see them hurting anyone."
-- A mother living in Baghdad, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2003

"Before it was all about Saddam and his followers. Now there are different topics."
-- Hassan Ali, on the Iraqi newspapers, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2003

"He [Uday] was a sick man, and he kept lions and tigers just to show his manhood, to show everyone that he cared more about animals than people. But he amputated their claws, and he took away their freedom, just like the people."
-- Alaa Karim, a Baghdad zoo employee, The Washington Post, July 21, 2003

"[Uday] was a bad man, and he used to beat the soccer players if they lost a game. I think he used to treat the lions better than the people."
-- Mussab Ismas, a 13-year old boy, viewing Uday's lions at the Baghdad zoo, The Washington Post, July 21, 2003

"But the shock for a first time visitor to Iraq is that the destruction committed by Saddam's tyranny is so much worse than advertised. ... The most horrible damage on Iraqis was inflicted by Saddam himself. The Americans who are giving their lives to stop his Middle East Stalinism will end up saving many more lives."
-- Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2003

"I can see that the American soldiers are free. In our old army, we were always under pressure and strict military orders. There was tough punishment."
-- Raad Mamoud, a former Iraqi soldier, USA Today, July 21, 2003

"Before, I would not even say hello to them [Iraqi army officers]. We are all equal now. This is justice."
-- Husham Berkal, an enlisted soldier in the former Iraqi army, USA Today, July 21, 2003

"When I heard on the radio that the Baathists had seized power I was not surprised. I was hoping it would make the situation better but, well, you can see. I have hope that things will get better now, that the new government can get rid of all the problems."
-- Abdul Karim al-Qaissi, a pharmacist in Baghdad, on the anniversary of the Baath Party's seizing power, Agence France-Presse, July 17, 2003

"But I blame the Baath [for problems with security and infrastructure]. It's not the Americans' fault. I like the Americans."
-- Nuri Mansour, in Baghdad, Agence France-Presse, July 17, 2003

"Iraqis were living a good life. We had security, jobs, people were getting paid. People used to get on and would help each other..."
-- Nuri Mansour, reflecting life before the Baath Party overthrew the Iraqi government in 1968, Agence France-Presse, July 17, 2003

"During the Baath Party's time we didn't see 1,000th of Iraq's wealth come to us."
-- Yasua, an Iraqi man in Baghdad, Agence France-Presse, July 17, 2003

"I hope Iraq comes back strong. I am in favor of the new government."
-- Uday Kadhu, a Baghdad car salesman on the Iraqi archery team, Agence France-Presse, July 16, 2003

"The residents of glorious Fallujah suffered from the confiscation of freedom and the absence of justice under the dictatorial regime."
-- A statement released by the

"League of Fallujah Residents,

" Agence France-Presse, July 16, 2003

"The Governing Council is a step towards building a free, democratic Iraq."
-- Iraqi newspaper Al-Zawra, July 15, 2003

"In our opinion, the most significant thing about the formation of the transitional Governing Council is that it includes important personalities that are known to the masses and that represent the different political, national, democratic and progressive forces, as well as independent political organizations and religious denominations."
-- Iraqi newspaper Al-Manar, July 15, 2003

"I felt that we had gone back to the year 1930. I feel that Iraq has started back from zero. We have wasted 75 years waiting to taste freedom."
-- Hadid al-Gailani, after the Governing Council announced the abolition of Baathist holidays, The Boston Globe, July 14, 2003

"I helped deliver thousands of Iraqi babies, and now I am taking part in the birth of a new country and a new rule based on women's rights, humanity, unity and freedom."
-- Raja Habib al-Khaza'i, the director of an Iraqi maternity hospital and a member of the Governing Council, Associated Press, July 13, 2003

"The formation of this council which represents all sectors of Iraqi society is the birth of democracy in the country. It is better than Saddam's government of destruction and dictatorship."
-- Razzak Abdul-Zahra, a 35-year-old engineer in Baghdad, Associated Press, July 13, 2003

"The establishment of this council represents the Iraqi national will after the collapse of the dictatorial regime."
-- Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, a Shiite cleric on the Governing Council, Associated Press, July 13, 2003

"This is a great day. It's unbelievable."
-- Yonadam Kanna, an Assyrian Christian on the Iraqi Governing Council, Associated Press, July 13, 2003

"It's a hard situation. But now that Saddam has fallen, it's OK. We can wait for the future now."
-- Muhammed Abdul al Sudani, the night watchman at a school in Baghdad, Baltimore Sun, July 13, 2003

"Iraqis are looking forward to this day. They have been dreaming for so many years to have a government run by not only one man."
-- Sherwan Dizayee, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2003

"The building of a new Iraq shall remain among the first priorities of the good Iraqi people. It will require the participation of all Iraqis from all political and social strands who are willing to help accomplish this historic task."
-- Mohammed Barhul Uloom, an 80-year-old Shiite who has returned to Iraq to serve on the new Governing Council, AFX News, July 13, 2003

"Saddam is gone, he's history, he's never coming back."
-- Mohammed Barhul Uloom, at the first meeting of the new Iraqi Governing Council, Agence France-Presse, July 13, 2003

"In our view, political life must not be based on ethnic, religious or sectarian considerations."
-- Adnan Pachachi, former Iraqi foreign minister and current member of the Governing Council, Agence France-Presse, July 13, 2003

"Farther down the block [in Baghdad], a new Internet cafe just opened three weeks ago-$3 an hour buys you a satellite link on a computer that runs Windows, and a shortcut to Yahoo! E-mail is already on the desktop."
-- Winston-Salem Journal, July 12, 2003

"He [Saddam] occupied Iraq for 25 years. It's not important that the Americans are here. What is important is that they got rid of Saddam Hussein. Now I feel free."
-- Fadil Emara, a shopkeeper in Baghdad, Agence France-Presse, July 12, 2003

"My optimism grows ten-fold every day. We've got a wonderful and brilliant future in front of us."
-- Fadil Emara, a shopkeeper in Baghdad, Agence France-Presse, July 12, 2003

"In Saddam's time, the mere act of pointing at something-a building, a person-risked attracting the attention of a secret policeman. Now people freely jab their index fingers on the streets. To a visitor returning, it's something of a shock."
-- Associated Press, July 12, 2003

"It's a dream for me to participate."
-- Afrah Abas, an Iraqi archer competing in the 42nd World Archery Championships, Associated Press, July 12, 2003

"We have been celebrating the Iraqi revolution and the fall of the kingdom every year. Today we combined the celebration with the fall of the second monarchy-the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein."
-- Aladdin Sabih, an Iraqi living in the Czech Republic, Czech News Agency, July 12, 2003

"Cutting through all the barriers of religion, culture, war and economics are stores filled with hundreds of pairs of high-heel pumps, clunky platforms and spiked heels in scores of styles. Other stores with similar numbers-but fewer styles-of men's and children's shoes are open for business."
-- Winston-Salem Journal, July 12, 2003

"I want to help my country to make a new life, to get human rights, and also to get modern life, especially because we are a rich country."
-- An Iraqi translator for the Allied forces, The New York Times, July 8, 2003

"In Baghdad, Shiite Muslim tribes from central and southern Iraq met for the first time to discuss how they, as the country's religious majority, could help create a united Iraqi nation."
-- The New York Times, July 8, 2003

"We will be happy to get rid of Saddam's face and this useless money."
-- Hillal Sultan, an Iraqi moneychanger, Agence France-Presse, July 8, 2003

"We can't train staff fast enough. People are desperate here for a neutral free press after 30 years of a totalitarian state."
-- Saad al-Bazzaz, editor of the Azzaman Daily in Baghdad, The Independent (London), July 8, 2003

"This guy [Uday] had nothing to do with journalism but he saw it as a powerful way of trying to control the minds of the Iraqi people. He knew very well that most journalists were not supportive of his father. By day they did their jobs quietly. ... By night many worked against the regime."
-- Saad al-Bazzaz, former head of Iraqi state television and current editor of the Azzaman Daily, The Independent (London), July 8, 2003

"The Americans did a very good thing when they crushed Saddam for the Iraqis."
-- Khither Jaafar, a member of a Shiite party outlawed by Saddam, Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2003

"We as a council were chosen by the people. God willing we will work to achieve the hopes and wishes of the people."
-- Mohammed al-Assadi, a representative on the new Najaf City Council, Associated Press, July 7, 2003

"During the days of the old regime, only members of the Baath used to benefit and got what they wanted. This council has nothing to do with any regime because all of them are intellectuals and chosen by the people."
-- Angham Fakher, a hospital employee in Najaf, speaking about the new City Council Associated Press, July 7, 2003

"We were like a tightly covered pot which no one knew what it contained. Now that the cover has been removed, you can't imagine what you will discover."
-- Majed al-Ghazali, who now dreams of setting up a children's music school in Iraq, Associated Press, July 7, 2003

"U.S.-U.K., Liberators of Iraq from Saddam's Terror."
-- A banner hanging outside the entrance to central Suleimaniyah in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2003

"We feel liberated. We're very very happy."
-- Dana Mohammed, manager of a fast food restaurant in Suleimaniyah, Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2003

"I've been like a blind man during Saddam's time. Look at my hair. It's already turning gray, and I don't even know how to get on a plane at the airport yet. I haven't done anything. Now the future is very different. I'm free. I can travel, and no one will follow or arrest me."
-- Dana Mohammed, a 19-year-old Iraqi, Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2003

"I can feel it inside. All Iraqis are feeling freedom. This is a good start of a new Iraq."
-- Saniya al-Raheem, a 56-year-old housewife in Baghdad, Agence France-Presse, July 3, 2003

"It was a cruel system. We were living under terror and we all suffered from it. It was for our own survival not to talk about politics. We could not even discuss our personal problems openly."
-- Balkis Al-Shamary, a clerk in an Iraqi shop, Agence France-Presse, July 3, 2003

"I like free discussions. I talk about these issues with my families and friends. This could never happen during the Saddam years."
-- Maha Abrahim, owner of a wedding dress shop in Baghdad, Agence France-Presse, July 3, 2003

"During the Saddam years, we did not even have hopes. We were living only to survive. Now I have lots of dreams and hopes."
-- Hansam Hassan, a pediatrician at Bagh

Emily - 11/11/2003

Well now from that stupid comment do you feel better? Obivously we have some people in this world that don't have a brain.

Erica - 11/10/2003

Well that was a rational and well-thought up reply, wasn't it?

Waqar Jamil - 7/29/2003

I think the Buzzanco article on how the US and Iraq became enemies bears great significance because as pointed out by Levingston, this information is not at all common knowledge that is considered by media outlets. Furthermore, the issue I feel needs to be stressed is that of accountability. In light of accountability the King comment seems pointless. I think war is bad, and I’m not going to support a war because someone like King thinks it will help us win, or that its good for the morale or our soldiers. The point is that US military forces would not be in Iraq if the US government had not decided to support the evil dictator Saddam Hussein.
I also want to reply to the Mason comment. We should not attack Saddam Hussein because he is a “potential,” threat to us. Rather we should stop his attacks on human rights. Firstly, we gave him this “potential.” Secondly, we do not want to be attacked by another country simply because we have the potential to attack them.

Ward Levingston - 5/11/2003

I found Mr Buzzanco's essay to be a concise and informative history of the relationship between the US and Iraq. I'm honestly surprised by how infrequently this information is printed in the mainstream media. With the exception of Eduard Mark's comments on Glasbie and the US position on Saddam Hussein prior to the first Gulf War very few people ever make much effort to refute the claims of US subterfuge in the middle east. I'm glad to see a deeper exploration of the history of the situation with a forum for people to comment.
For those interested I've put together a critique of some US foreign policy decisions at
Good to have the opportunity to share an opinion with you.

reuben rosales - 4/16/2003

i am going over there to kill iraq

Reuben Rosales - 4/16/2003

i am going to go rape saddam and he is going to like it

reuben rosales - 4/16/2003

i am going over there to kill iraq

Tracy King - 12/30/2002

When a beast is made in such ways as the Iraqi regime has been; it does not matter how it is stopped. The only thing that matters is that it is stopped! Many people have likend this war to the Vietnam war when in all honesty, it deserves to be held in the light of WWII.
The Japanise Government Planned the attack on Pearl Harbor for two years. The reason why is simple, we stopped suppling them for their military needs(oil, steel, ect.). So, Yamamoto started (by order of the Emperor) planning the assault.
Now, our involvment in the Vietnam war was based on a (said to be bogus) attack on one of our destroyer class navy vessels in the gulf of Tonkin. The Vietnam conflict was initially supported by America at large and many young men were inlisting on their own accord. But, by the mid to late sixties the people were starting to protest the war which is a right given to the people. The thing is, the soldiers that went home on furlough saw this happening and were going back to the front with this on thier minds.
The best weapon that a soldier has is not his/her rifle; it's the people at home giving them moral support. The lack of this most needed weapon is devastating to those that are in harms way. If the support was given to the men and women in Vietnam I assure you the number of names on the KIA and MIA lists would be significantly lower than it is.
Being the son of a Vietnam veteran, my family has seen these types of protests before; mark my words they get violent.
My father had to wipe spit off his face before he came home from the airport. This being the case, I WILL NEVER PROTEST AGAINST OUR FIGHTING MEN AND WOMEN! If we are the ones that made Saddam what he is, we have to stop him.

Eduard Mark - 11/1/2002

Professor Buzzanco reflects a common misperception when he states that Ambassador Glaspie give Saddam a "green light" when she told him (not his "diplomats") that the United States took no position on the location of the border between Kuwait and Iraq. This is correct as far as it goes -- but there is a significant omission: Ambassador Glaspie also explained, according to her cable, that the United States very much cared how the dispute was resolved and was opposed to the use of force.
I have read the cable -- a colleague of mine in the Air Force's hisorical office obtained a copy while researching a monograph on the air campaign in the Gulf War -- and can state unequivocably that Ambassador Glaspie's remarks cannot be reasonably construed as even an unwitting invication to Saddam to invade Kuwait. The monograph, written by Dr. Richard G. Davis, has been declassified and will be published in the not distant future. It will contain the relevant portions of the cable.

Chris Long - 10/31/2002

'Who cares if we're justified in fighting them?'

How incredibly ignorant can you be?

Words cannot describe the abject stupidity contained within that simple statement.

Police: 'Who cares if we're justified in arresting Mason?'
Lawyers: 'Who cares if we're justified in prosecuting Mason?'
Jury: 'Who cares if we're justified in finding Mason guilty?'
Judge: 'Who cares if we're justified in imposing the death penalty?'
FBI: 'Who cares if we're justified in labelling his family as enemy combatants and incarcerating them forever?'

But that kind of scenario would just be silly, right?

China in 20 years when they are a power larger than America: 'Who cares if we're justified in fighting the USA? They have been extremely damaging to the world during their tenure as the lone super-power. They have broken more UN resolutions than any other country; they are in violation of at least a dozen treaties; they have used chemical and biological weapons; they are the only country to have ever used Nuclear weapons; they are a de-stabalizing entity and it's simply time to crush them.'

Yeah. I see your point. Justification is highly over-rated.

- Chris

Wait... can you go 'Baaa-aaa' for me once?

Mason - 10/31/2002

I think your article is fine. What is ridiculous is how you portray it as "news" and not "opinion." Plenty of evidence exists about Saddam's weapons program -- even if you haven't seen it. Who cares if we're justified in fighting them? They are a very severe threat to peace in the Middle East and security in the US. Plust they have completely ignored the post-92 war agreements. It's time to crush them, and Saddam.

Bill Henslee - 10/30/2002

One of the incidents that soured relations and has been almost forgotten is the attack on a U.S. ship in the Persian Gulf by an Iraqi pilot, using an exocet missile.

The official explanation: a "mistake" rang hollow at the time, but the incident was swept under the rug, much like the Israeli attack on the Liberty some years before. Some speculated that Saddam was testing our resolve to respond to an attack. Would you care to comment on this as an extension of your essay?