Writers Look For Meaning In War

The Early Show, Thomas Friedman
CBS/The Early Show
Bush administration officials insist that the war in Iraq is a continuation of the war on terrorism that began after the terrorist attack of Sept. 11.

In a documentary called "Searching For The Roots Of 9/11," Thomas Friedman,
foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times, probes the seeds of hatred that led to the worst terror attack on U.S. soil.

Friedman tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, there are three main sources of hatred, which he calls "rivers of rage" that are explained in the documentary which airs Wednesday on the Discovery channel.

"One is how much these people hate the United States and Israel: the United States, for supporting Israel and for supporting dictatorial regimes, and Israel obviously for its war with the Palestinians. That's the most obvious source of their anger.

"But there's two other rivers that get less attention. One is a deep sense of humiliation., what I call the poverty of dignity, that their world is deeply falling behind the rest of the world.

"And the third thing is how much they hate their own governments that have kept them voiceless and powerless. And in some ways, all of these emotions swirl together and, as I say, really nourish the roots of 9/11," Friedman said. He also said it is not unusual to find that the Iraqis hate their own dictator and the foreign occupier at the same time.

Referring to reports of Iraqis in Jordan who want to go back to Iraq, not to fight Saddam Hussein but the Americans, Friedman added, "Those are not two conflicting thoughts for people in many post-colonial countries. And clearly that is something that's being tapped into here. And obviously underestimated."

Retired Army Col. David Hackworth, one of America's most decorated officers, compares this war to a fight between Mike Tyson and Woody Allen.

"Woody Allen's got brass knuckles. It's going to be over with by round five. When round five is, who knows. My guess is sometime in April," Hackworth told Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler.

Author of the book ""Steel My Soldiers' Hearts," Hackworth suggests questions one must ask to determine how the war is progressing.

"Well, obviously, have we taken control of Baghdad? Because you can't really begin to rebuild Iraq into a more decent accountable government 'till you control the capital," he said of the number one question to ask.

"Has Saddam Hussein been removed, eliminated? Because until he is, you're really not going to know what Iraqis feel because his hand will still be on the country.

"Do we see the emergence of a authentic legitimate Iraqi leadership that is not going to be viewed in the region as American quislings? Iraqis who are, on the one hand, nationalists,...and at the same time are not going to have much tolerance for any long American occupation of Iraq."

Col. Hackworth, who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and writes a syndicated column about the military, said mission, weather, terrain and enemy are the four things that control a war.

The mission in this case is to liberate Iraq, he said, and the weather is "acting up."

As for the casualties we the coalition has had, Col. Hackworth said, "Wars are about advances and reverses. So we'll have our reverses. We're having them now." Coalition forces recently have changed their strategy turning their attention south to clear Saddam's militia.

"Bottom line is they're readjusting the plan. They're putting elements to secure that long artery that feeds the forward troops. Fine. We'll work. It was a slight error on the part of the generals. I'm not apologizing for them because generals are famous for making mistakes," he said.

Gen. Barry McCafrey said there are not enough troops on the ground and the U.S. would suffer some serious casualties in and around Baghdad. Col. Hackworth agreed, noting when Gen. McCafrey speaks, he listens.

"I agree with him," he said. "There are not sufficient forces on the ground. We're talking about fighting forces. We went in too late. Blame Rumsfeld for that. Will it change the overall effect of the war? No."