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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The war on Iraq: what people say

The war on Iraq: what people say

With the media swamped by reports on the war in Iraq, Post publisher Michael

Hayes decided to chat with a few folks around town to get a random pulse on what

Cambodians thought about it. Excerpts follow:

ï "I don't know what's

going on in Iraq. I just try to keep Sambo from getting angry with tourists.

[But] I like to watch the war [on TV]. I was a soldier for 12 years."

- Reun,

the mahout who tends Sambo the elephant at Wat Phnom, and who was wounded twice

between 1981 and 1993.

ï "We are very far away but it seems all

political. We heard about it but I don't want to know more. I don't want war.

There is no discussion on this as the Prime Minister said to be calm. In our

feeling we are not happy. We know that this war is not a religious one, but a

political one, because nobody wants a religious war."

- Mohammad Hassan, Imam

at Jamaiya Dubai Mosque near Boeung Kak lake.

ï"I don't like Saddam

Hussein [because] he has a moustache and a big stomach."

- 22-year-old

waitress.

ï "[Saddam Hussein] should be ousted. They are a communist

regime and a dictatorship and they have been using chemical weapons that can

harm our health. We support the US."

- Student at the National Institute of

Management.

ï "We are not really talking about the war in Iraq as we are

focused on our studies."

- A second NIM student.

ï "[The purpose of

the war is] to bring peace to the world. The US gave Saddam time to leave the

country, but he didn't so he is a bad leader."

- Woman coffee-stall owner in

Psar Thmei.

ï "The war in Iraq is led by George W Bush. I'm afraid of the

missiles because they are coming down like rain. I don't know why [the Americans

are fighting in Iraq]. Leaders of many countries support the war but their

people don't."

- Psar Thmei coffee stall owner's 17-year-old son.

ï "I

don't know [why there is war in Iraq]. I think the leadership is not good,

that's why there is fighting. I support the Americans."

- TV seller in Psar

Thmei.

ï [Saddam Hussein] is a dictator. He practices nepotism,

corruption; he's preparing his two sons to take power. We've seen this here. I

hate dictators. If chemical and biological weapons are found, okay. If not,

never mind. This is a positive signal for Hun Sen and not only other countries.

You can't avoid [civilian casualties] in a noble cause."

- Government

official.

ï "I don't know what is going on in Iraq because I'm not

following it."

- Jewelry seller in Psar Thmei.

ï "No, I don't like

[Saddam Hussein]. He kills people. I've seen it on TV."

- 26-year-old

waitress.

ï "This is an economic war. The war between the US and Iraq,

why? There are many factors. Normally it's 120 percent sure the US must win the

war, but after the war it will not be finished. If there is a pro-US government

after [the war], I will support it. There could be a regime anti-Saddam Hussein

... that is normal. But the people who are pro-Saddam Hussein, they won't rest

quietly and the war won't be finished.

"The US has no reason to invade

Iraq. Bush, he wants to do it for the US economy. For the Americans, [Bush] is

not crazy. He has reasons. One, because of bin Laden. Two, it is because of the

petroleum. Three, the US is a great country that makes weapons.

"He must

make war to use weapons and to support arms factories. Four, the [next]

presidential elections and those who supported him. He needs money to finance

[his campaign]. He must repay [his supporters]. It's an exchange. Five, the US

wants to be president of the world, the first country, the most important, the

one who controls all."

- Sar Kirivoine Jacky, restaurant owner.

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