"I think they'll only go into Baghdad as a last resort. The advantage in that scenario lies with the Iraqis. Most recently we saw this with the Russians in Chechnya. The first battalion went in with 1,000 troops. Eight hundred became casualties. There was speculation at the very beginning of the bombing campaign that the Americans would use the E-bomb, a microwave bomb that completely fries all the electrical systems and radar. But that puts the hospitals (in Baghdad) into a spot and makes it more difficult for the civilian population. With international public opinion running so strongly against this war, the last thing the Americans want is large numbers of civilian casualties."
BILL TWATIO, senior editor, Esprit De Corps
"What I find surprising is that the Americans and their allies could so quickly seize the oil fields. These are so important politically, economically and symbolically. A lot of these wells were mined by the Iraqis and meant to be blown up. It's clear they were trying to do what they did in Kuwait to cause chaos in the oil markets. Oil prices would have gone up to $60 or $80 a barrel. This would have put an enormous amount of pressure on the U.S. from European states who've been hurting economically. The coalition has obviously managed to intimidate or communicate with local commanders who did not follow Saddam Hussein's orders to set these oil fields on fire. The involvement of the Russians is particularly interesting. (The U.S. alleges the Russians have sold the Iraqis advanced communications equipment and night-vision goggles.) Putin has a very warm personal relationship with Bush but is under a lot of pressure from supporters of former prime minister Yevgeny Primakov, who is very anti-Western and with the French in opposing the idea of a global American hyper-power."
AUREL BRAUN, department of political science, University of Toronto
"There's been a lot of talk from various people about the possibility of American retaliation against us for the position we've taken on Iraq. Frankly, when it comes to the economy, I just think that's scare talk. In a number of areas where we have problems with the U.S., like softwood lumber, they haven't been doing us any favours anyway. I hear (the American ambassador to Canada) Paul Cellucci say in a whining way that Americans are very disappointed with Canada, that if Canada were facing some threat there would be no debate and the U.S. would immediately come to our assistance. I would like someone to find for me one example in the past 200 years when the U.S., when not acting in its own immediate interest, ever came to the assistance of Canada. The argument that the U.S. has been a great neighbour to us when we have been threatened is just total nonsense. The Americans have pushed for the advantage in every single dispute they've ever had with us."
JAMES LAXER, professor of political science, U.S.-Canada relations
"For the U.S., the political, the cultural, even the historical sense of Iraq has disappeared entirely. This is very worrisome because it shows the military's fascination with solving human problems with technology alone. The (Americans) are like the Israelis -- they never see or know anything about the suffering they cause. This is extremely common when you talk only about yourself and don't know how to listen to anyone else. The effort to promote the idea that the U.S. is going to be welcomed by the people of Iraq doesn't take into account the history of an outside military force intruding on what is deeply regarded as Arab land. The people are not Saddam Hussein supporters, but they're not yielding to this kind of invasion force. This sounds like a hundred years of colonial history revisited. It's all reflective of the naive American faith that the U.S. stands for liberty and freedom and that God gave it the mission."
JOHN SIGLER, professor emeritus, political science, Carlton University, former strategic analyst in the Eisenhower administration
"Richard Perle and other proponents of this war told us it would be a cakewalk. They've made a huge miscalculation. They've underestimated Iraqi nationalism. You have unwilling conscripts fighting to the death because their own survival is tied to the survival of the regime -- and we haven't even got to the elite forces yet. We could see Iraqi civilian casualties like we did not see in 1991. Basra has no electricity. That means no sanitation. No water. The margin of survival is very small. We know from internal UN documents that 1.26 million children are at risk of death from malnutrition because of this crisis. Those are the numbers we're looking at. We're talking about a population that is extremely vulnerable. As a soldier, I am not necessarily against war, but I am against war when it is unnecessary."
ERIK GUSTAFSON, 1991 Gulf War veteran, Education for Peace in Iraq Center