Fifteen days after the start of the war, the one single dominant fact that emerges is that America and its allies, England and France, have lost face.
They have failed to liberate Kuwait in one day, demolish Iraq in three. All their build-up of marines and war-machines, planes over the desert, ships in the Gulf, satellites in space, have been brought to nought. For two weeks, little Iraq faced their combined might, absorbed their carpet bombing, which has now accumulated into several tens of thousands of sorties, and, at the end of it, instead of the Americans retrieving Kuwait, have themselves taken over a small piece of Saudi Arabia.
For Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, the sheikhdoms, it has not been a loss of face. Because, whatever face they had, they lost a long time ago when they called in the Americans to fight for them. At the end of the first fortnight of the war, the one fact that stands out is that machines do not win wars, men do. And not men in designer uniforms, backed by women soldiers, air-conditioned tents, rest-and-recreation ships, but little half-starved men in ill-fitting uniforms, with the name of Saddam Hussein and Allah on their lips (in that order).
Not five-star generals in baseball caps, who at press briefings talk as if they are reading from a Hollywood war movie script, but a commander-in-chief who launches his troops into a mother of war.
And it is not the Pentagon which charts out the campaign on large maps with multi-coloured flags pinned on them, sitting in the war room with the service chiefs chomping on their cigars (or the British versions, puffing on their pipes), it is Saddam Hussein who plans out the war entirely in his own devious mind.
I feel sorry for the innocent victims of this war. First and foremost the Israelis, who have been carpet-missiled and yet have no authority to retaliate. Do the Jews have to suffer in every war, meekly and humbly!
And I feel sorry for the American soldiers themselves, and their Western allies. In the past they have established themselves to be great and bold-hearted soldiers, when they have fought for the liberty of their own country, the British particularly in the last war. But what are they fighting and dying for now! To pay pence or cents less on a gallon of petrol!
It is not their war. It is a war that is as much forced on them as Saddam Hussein has forced a war on his people. At the end of the war there should be two war trials: one for the President of Iraq and other for the President of the US.