NWI Insights - Support for the war in Iraq
When the coalition forces talked about an invasion of Iraq, they spoke of a short decisive attack, one that would quickly liberate the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein's dictatorship of several decades. The first Gulf War campaign lasted only a few days and had a minimal number of casualties. Many were led to believe that a new war would be of a similar length and casualty level. However as CBC's Brian Stewart reports, the war has not been as straightforward and brief as predicted. This asserts Stewart, is likely to lead to the loss of both public and political support especially if the war becomes a lengthy offensive and one that creates large numbers of casualties.
Stewart acknowledges that there has been greater than expected resistance from the Iraqi forces and civilians, and that maintaining a crucial supply line to the troops has been more difficult than anticipated. By any military clock, the progress has been impressive contends Stewart but there are also other international political parties to answer to who expected quick and resolute results. In this forum, the war is not moving fast enough.
For example says Stewart, southern Iraq is still not secured and troops have had to be stationed at various points in this region of Iraq to deal with the counter-insurgency attacks from resisting Iraqi personnel. The troops have had to undertake constant searches and assume everyone is a suspect which has slowed down the coalition's progress to Baghdad, explains Stewart.
On the official level all is said to be going according to plan but embedded reporters present a harsher reality, asserts Stewart. CNN's Martin Savidge, a journalist travelling with the coalition forces, states that maintaining the supply lines which provide essential goods to the troops from band aids to bullets, has been proving a difficult task. There have been guerrilla-style attacks to the extent where much needed troops are being left to ensure that supplies remain secure and are able to reach the advancing troops.
Stewart reports that if the war stretches on for weeks and even months, the support of the American public may begin to dwindle. The greater the number of civilian casualties, he says, the lower the approval ratings are likely to fall.
Stewart interviews Edward Walker head of the Middle East Institute and former Ambassador to several countries, who states that Arab allies of the US are horrified by the war which has not delivered the quick resolution as promised. The more the war drags on the harder it will be to convince them of the coalition's plight. Walker furthers his concerns over the current situation, mentioning the Vietnam war where there were similar ploys of white flags, guerrilla warfare and worse. He questions why there appears to be surprise at the Iraqi's tactics and wonders if any lessons were actually learnt from Vietmam? Walker says its a war, what did the Americans expect?
Stewart reminds viewers of the interview earlier in the year between Peter Mansbridge of the CBC and Tariq Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, where Aziz literally spelt out the type of response that the invaders could expect. Aziz said that if a regime change was desired then forces would have to fight the Iraqi army, the Iraqi people, on the ground in the cities, on the streets of Basra, Baghdad, Al Mawsil and in each and every Iraqi city.
It seems, asserts Stewart, that this threat was not taken seriously, and that the first mistake of this war was underestimating the enemy.
This extract forms part of just one of the many insightful news features presented on the 24 hour news network Newsworld International (NWI). If you would like further information or are interested in subscribing to NWI, visit their website at www.nwitv.com or telephone their subscription service on .