… I don't know whether it's to the advantage of the United States and Britain to invade Iraq, but I am convinced that most Iraqis, Saddam Hussein's victims for 24 years, will breathe a sigh of relief when the British and U.S. troops liberate Baghdad and put an end to the nightmare of torture, repression, arbitrariness and multiple abuses.
It won't be the first time that something similar occurs. The U.S. invasion of Panama in December 1989 was devised to remove narco-dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega from that country and deliver him to U.S. justice. The rest of the world rose to condemn the American intervention. Everywhere, pacifists shouted insults at Yankee imperialism — everywhere, except Panama, where the people welcomed the invaders and revealed to them where the dictatorship's thugs were hiding.
Years later, Panamanian President Ernesto Pérez Balladares confessed to me softly what was already evident: Without the U.S. invasion, Panamanians couldn't have rid themselves of the den of thieves and murderers that the army had become...
It is odd that today's European demonstrators — who fill the public squares with their anti-American slogans, Che Guevara posters, and alleged love of humanity — care so little for the fate of the Iraqis. But we must acknowledge that that petty attitude is not the same throughout the Old Continent.
In the former Eastern bloc, where people suffered the tyranny of communism until recently, the reaction is different. … The Romanians — who suffered the insane fury of Nicolae Ceaucescu and dreamed of somehow breaking those chains — feel solidarity with Hussein's victims and view with sympathy, not horror, the possibility that someone may come to relieve that awful pain.