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Monday, Mar 03, 2003

future sounds

"No one knows what will happen when Saddam Hussein's death grip on his country is finally broken. Prediction is a dangerous business in politics generally, but in the case of Iraq, where since 1968 the only political activity that won't get you killed is unambiguous loyalty to the Baath Party, the future is especially opaque. For the past several months the country has been crawling with foreign journalists, yet the security apparatus is so extensive and terror so deeply internalized that most of what we know about Iraqis' unofficial thoughts is confined to facial expressions and buried meanings. When Makiya and two other Iraqis were invited to the Oval Office in January, he told President Bush that invading American troops would be greeted with ''sweets and flowers.'' More fancifully, Prof. Fouad Ajami, a Middle East scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, predicts ''kites and boom boxes.'"