Only three oil wells are burning so far? While there might be more we don’t know of — although an oil well fire is hard to miss on a thermal-imaging satellite — so far, it’s not as bad as I feared.
I addressed the issue of a possible Iraqi Gotterdammerung way back in December:
Believe it or not, most Iraqi Army officers are probably patriots. And Saddam won’t be running around, personally firing off chemical weapons, spraying smallpox aerosols, or dynamiting electrical power stations. He gives the orders, but who will carry them out — some colonel who can read the writing on the wall, and knows his salvation lies in American magnanimity, and tolerance tomorrow from people he helped oppress yesterday?
It is the last act of a madman to poison his own soil with chemical weapons. It is the dying wish of a psychopath that his countrymen share his fate. It is the final ego trip of a megalomaniac to be remembered, if nothing else, but for the ruin he has caused.
Fortunately, most Iraqi officers don’t share Saddam’s psychoses.
That’s not to say he won’t try, or hasn’t tried. It also doesn’t mean that, like today’s three fires, he won’t have some small successes. But I don’t expect a full-blown scorched-earth retreat, either.