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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Spot The Hawk; Find The Dove

Today we have front page stories on the mood inside Baghdad from both the NY Times and the Washington Post. From the Times:

In one family today, among professional, middle-class people who have long yearned for a freer Iraq unburdened by sanctions and repression, there was one obsessive concern....

... Today, with the invaders more than 300 miles closer to Baghdad, the question was the same: How long would America take to close its account with Mr. Hussein?

...Only a week ago, two of the three grown men in the family were eager for the United States to act against Mr. Hussein. The third, still a university student, hoped for a free Iraq, but leaned toward rejecting the Faustian deal, as he saw it, that Iraqis would be making in taking their liberty from America...

...they feared what might befall Iraqis like themselves if, faced with continued stiff resistance by Mr. Hussein's troops, Mr. Bush did what his father did at the end of the Persian Gulf war in 1991, and decided that a settlement was preferable to a long and grisly campaign to topple Mr. Hussein.

"That is our nightmare," one of the men said, "and we ask, `What will Mr. Bush do to help us then?' "

And the ostensibly more hawkish WaPo:

"You can't surrender easily; we should fight," said Ahmed, the man at the barber shop. "Our religion says we should fight for our honor. We fear God. We're more afraid of God than we're afraid of the Americans."

The Times writer focuses on one educated Iraqi family, perhaps to show solidarity with the NY Times readership. The author is John F. Burns, who may be Western. The WaPo article is by Anthony Shadid, who may not be of Western appearance, and interviews many Iraqis.

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