But Teach a People To Topple a Tyrant …

I have to say that I'm not really sure what to make of this apparent uprising. On the one hand, Iraqis feeling confident enough to take up arms against Saddam Hussein is a good sign. It shows that we didn't completely misjudge Iraqi public opinion -- and more importantly, it shows the rest of the world the same thing.

Further, home-brew regime change has a lot of advantages for what comes after. Even if they're just participating in the regime change that's coming anyway, the uprisers are participating. It's not quite bowling leagues, but it's a start.

(Of course, this technique is ideologically neutral. When the Chinese Communist revolution took over a peasant village, it would have the villagers collectively execute the richest landowner in the area. After this looking-glass version of a trust-building exercise, they were all in it together.)

But I'm also worried, because an uprising now seems awfully stupid. Is there, or is there not, a large foreign army already in Iraq with the declared goal of overthrowing Iraq's current government? Does this army not have overwhelming firepower and the most extensive support infrastructure in the world? Does anyone seriously think that this army is likely to be defeated -- and by a thin enough margin that popular uprisings would tip the balance in its favor?

What, after all, are we doing about this uprising? Apparently, keeping our distance and lobbing some artillery shells at the bad guys. A cynic would say that we sent an army around the world so that they could stand back and let someone else do some of the fighting. Someone else who is substantially less well-armed and well-organized, and who is therefore likely not just to do more of the fighting but also more of the dying. Isn't it the point of our modern army that it specializes -- in various quite ruthlessly effective ways -- in making the other guy die for his country (or in this case, his country's dictator)?

The subject is complicated, and I would welcome being better-educated on it. But now that the population of Basra is in open revolt, is it not our job to send in the ground troops as quickly as possible, lest we wind up with a mini-Warsaw? Is that what the British are doing already, and the news just hasn't gotten out yet?