On this day, a year ago, the Daily Telegraph had a leader discussing the popular uprising that President Bush had determined must overthrow Saddam. The paper explains the role of the Iraqi people in the war:
bq. it is vital that the Iraqi opposition plays an important public role in this campaign. There is a natural prejudice in the militaries of great powers to do the whole thing themselves and not to have to worry about the complicating factor of stitching local (irregular) allies into the plan of battle.
But such an approach would be short-sighted. Just as French self-esteem after the nightmare of Nazi occupation and Vichy collaboration was restored by the participation of the Free French in the liberation of their country, so the stability of a post-Saddam Iraq would be enormously enhanced if the Iraqi National Congress (INC), and others, can pull their weight. The more such forces do, the greater their prestige and the less exposed they will be to charges of being Western stooges. …
The last thing Iraq needs is another Shah of Iran-type figure, imposed by the CIA and MI6 through covert action. Instead, what is needed is a programme of overt training of INC cadres. The first requirement is for instruction in air-to-ground liaison in directing the US Air Force and the RAF to their targets.
The second is for training with light anti-tank weapons: the psychological effects of local forces competing with Saddam’s armour, even on half-way equal terms, would be enormous. Nothing would surely be more symbolic of the forthcoming empowerment of the Iraqi people.
Well, they got one thing right. The post-Saddam Iraqi government was not been imposed by any sort of covert Western action.