The Rage, the Pride and the Doubt BY ORIANA FALLACI NEW YORK -- To avoid the dilemma of whether this war should take place or not, to overcome the reservations and the reluctance and the doubts that still lacerate me, I often say to myself: "How good if the Iraqis would get free of Saddam Hussein by themselves. How good if they would execute him and hang up his body by the feet as in 1945 we Italians did with Mussolini." But it does not help. Or it helps in one way only. The Italians, in fact, could get free of Mussolini because in 1945 the Allies had conquered almost four-fifths of Italy. In other words, because the Second World War had taken place. A war without which we would have kept Mussolini (and Hitler) forever. A war during which the allies had pitilessly bombed us and we had died like mosquitoes. The Allies, too. At Salerno, at Anzio, at Cassino. Along the road from Rome to Florence, then on the terrible Gothic Line. In less than two years, 45,806 dead among the Americans and 17,500 among the English, the Canadians, the Australians, the New Zealanders, the South Africans, the Indians, the Brazilians. And also the French who had chosen De Gaulle, also the Italians who had chosen the Fifth or the Eighth Army. (Can anybody guess how many cemeteries of Allied soldiers there are in Italy? More than sixty. And the largest, the most crowded, are the American ones. At Nettuno, 10,950 graves. At Falciani, near Florence, 5,811. Each time I pass in front of it and see that lake of crosses, I shiver with grief and gratitude.) There was also a National Liberation Front in Italy. A Resistance that the Allies supplied with weapons and ammunition. As in spite of my tender age (14), I was involved in the matter, I remember well the American plane that, braving anti-aircraft fire, parachuted those supplies to Tuscany. To be exact, onto Mount Giovi where one night they air-dropped commandos with the task of activating a short-wave network named Radio Cora. Ten smiling Americans who spoke very good Italian and who three months later were captured by the SS, tortured, and executed with a Florentine partisan girl: Anna Maria Enriquez-Agnoletti. Thus, the dilemma remains. It remains for the reasons I will try to state. And the first one is that, contrary to the pacifists who never yell against Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden and only yell against George W. Bush and Tony Blair, (but in their Rome march they also yelled against me and raised posters wishing that I'd blow up with the next shuttle, I'm told), I know war very well. I know what it means to live in terror, to run under air strikes and cannonades, to see people killed and houses destroyed, to starve and dream of a piece of bread, to miss even a glass of drinking water. And (which is worse) to be or to feel responsible for someone else's death. I know it because I belong to the Second World War generation and because, as a member of the Resistance, I was myself a soldier. I also know it because for a good deal of my life I have been a war correspondent. Beginning with Vietnam, I have experienced horrors that those who see war only through TV or the movies where blood is tomato ketchup don't even imagine. As a consequence, I hate it as the pacifists in bad or good faith never will. I loathe it. Every book I have written overflows with that loathing, and I cannot bear the sight of guns. At the same time, however, I don't accept the principle, or should I say the slogan, that "All wars are unjust, illegitimate." The war against Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito was just, was legitimate. The Risorgimento wars that my ancestors fought against the invaders of Italy were just, were legitimate. And so was the war of independence that Americans fought against Britain. So are the wars (or revolutions) which happen to regain dignity, freedom. I do not believe in vile acquittals, phony appeasements, easy forgiveness. Even less, in the exploitation or the blackmail of the word Peace. When peace stands for surrender, fear, loss of dignity and freedom, it is no longer peace. It's suicide. * * * The second reason is that this war should not happen now. If just as I wish, legitimate as I hope, it should have happened one year ago. That is, when the ruins of the Towers were still smoking and the whole civilized world felt American. Had it happened then, the pacifists who never yell against Saddam or bin Laden would not today fill the squares to anathematize the United States. Hollywood stars would not play the role of Messiahs, and ambiguous Turkey would not cynically deny passage to the Marines who have to reach the Northern front. Despite the Europeans who added their voice to the voice of the Palestinians howling "Americans-got-it-good," one year ago nobody questioned that another Pearl Harbor had been inflicted on the U.S. and that the U.S. had all the right to respond. As a matter of fact, it should have happened before. I mean when Bill Clinton was president, and small Pearl Harbors were bursting abroad. In Somalia, in Kenya, in Yemen. As I shall never tire of repeating, we did not need September 11 to see that the cancer was there. September 11 was the excruciating confirmation of a reality which had been burning for decades, the indisputable diagnosis of a doctor who waves an X-ray and brutally snaps: "My dear Sir, you have cancer." Had Mr. Clinton spent less time with voluptuous girls, had he made smarter use of the Oval Office, maybe September 11 would not have occurred. And, needless to say, even less would it have occurred if the first George Bush had removed Saddam with the Gulf War. ...in 1991 the Iraqi army deflated like a pricked balloon. It disintegrated so quickly, so easily, that even I captured four of its soldiers. I was behind a dune in the Saudi desert, all alone. Four skeletal creatures in ragged uniforms came toward me with arms raised, and whispered: "Bush, Bush." Meaning: "Please take me prisoner. I am so thirsty, so hungry." So I took them prisoner. I delivered them to the Marine in charge, and instead of congratulating me he grumbled: "Dammit! Some more?!?" Yet the Americans did not get to Baghdad, did not remove Saddam. And, to thank them, Saddam tried to kill their president. The same president who had left him in power. In fact, at times I wonder if this war isn't also a long-awaited retaliation, a filial revenge, a promise made by the son to the father. Like in a Shakespearean tragedy. Better, a Greek one.