June 14, 2003


It was next the turn of the Taleban in Kabul to prolong this tale of folly. In December 2001, the Taleban chief, Mullah Muhammad Omar, breaking his silence, told a radio interviewer that the US attack on Afghanistan would mark “the destruction of America.” Need one recall what happened?

Next, it was the turn of Saddam Hussein to make heroic noises. “Iraq is not Afghanistan,” he told his Revolutionary Command Council in January 2003. The television channel owned by Uday, Saddam’s son, showed his “fedayeen”, some with beer bellies, toting Kalashnikovs and promising to “annihilate the Americans.” Again, the Americans did attack, and Saddam, Uday and other members of the Baath gang were the first to run for cover.

In every case, unpopular leaders, blinded by hubris took their wishes for reality. From Cedras to Saddam, and passing by Mladic, Milosevic and Mullah Omar, they had promised to create “another Vietnam” for the Americans. But none became another Vietnam.

And yet it seems there are people who have not learned a lesson. Some of the mullas ruling in Tehran are repeating the same hubris-inspired nonsense that came from Cedras, Mladic, Milosevic, Omar, and Saddam. “Iran is not Iraq,” says Hassan Rouhani, a junior mulla who acts as secretary-general of the High Council of National Defense in Tehran. “Our heroes will fight to the last drop of their blood. The Americans will have another Vietnam.” Similar commends have come from other Khomeinists, unable to see what has happened to their east in Afghanistan and to their west in Iraq.

It seems that the lessons that those evil neocons wished to impart to the Arab world are starting to sink in. Too bad that so many Western pundits still think the Vietnam analogies fit. But maybe they'll catch up with The Arab News eventually.