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DETROIT FREE PRESS

Nobody Roots For Goliath, So We're The Bully

By Mitch Albom

America is the big guy. Iraq is the small guy. Because of that, no matter what we do, certain perceptions will never change.

So even though America, the big guy, has an army of volunteers, while Iraq, the small guy, pulls men from their homes and threatens to kill their loved ones if they don't fight -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

And even though America, the big guy, wears army uniforms and rides in army tanks, while Iraq, the small guy, wears civilian clothes and drives Toyotas and blends in, waiting for an ambush -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

And even though America, the big guy, doesn't fight with chemical or biological weapons, while Iraq, the little guy, has used them before, on its own people, and will use them again if given the chance -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

And even though America, the big guy, drops leaflets saying we don't want to hurt you, here's what to do so you don't get shot, while Iraq, the small guy, allegedly shoots anyone who is found with those leaflets -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

You notice a pattern?

Pretending to be civilians

Even though America, the big guy, tries to aid surrendering civilians, while Iraq, the small guy, has its soldiers pretend to be those civilians, who then pull out weapons and attack us -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

And even though America, the big guy, tries to clear a port to bring in humanitarian supplies, while Iraq, the small guy, lays mines in that very water -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

And even though America, the big guy, provides food and medical attention to any captured prisoner, while Iraq, the small guy, fires guns into a river hoping to kill a downed American pilot -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

And even though America, the big guy, sees its own citizens protesting, blocking traffic, disagreeing with the war, and tolerates it because it is part of who we are, while Iraq, the small guy, cuts out a man's tongue and lets him bleed to death in the street -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

And even though America, the big guy, has an open press, hundreds of embedded reporters, and nightly criticism of our efforts, while Iraq has a government-run TV station that plays pro-Saddam videos and urges Iraqi's to
"slit the enemy's throats" -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

And even though America, the big guy, prays for the liberation of Iraq, while Iraq, the little guy, prays for the destruction of America -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

What's wrong with this picture?

Shooting behind women, children

Even though America, the big guy, spends billions for bombs that will spare civilians, while Iraq, the small guy, shoots from behind women and children in schools and hospitals -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

And even though America, the big guy, when confronted with a soldier who allegedly threw grenades at his own men, handcuffs that soldier and takes him to be tried, in a court, with a lawyer, while Iraq, the small guy, reportedly shoots its own reluctant soldiers in the head, no trial, no questions asked -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

And even though America, the big guy, is assailed by the Arab world for endangering its "brethren," while that same Arab world never rose to help Iraqi "brethren" when they were being slaughtered by their own leader -- we, the big guy, are the bully.

This is how it is. We are the big guy. They are the small guy. Which means parts of the world will always call us the bully, because, as Wilt Chamberlain once said, "Nobody roots for Goliath."

And what these critics keep missing, what is clear and plain and on brutal display every day and night, is one screamingly obvious fact: The biggest bully of all is running the small guy's battle.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. Catch "The Mitch Albom Show" 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760). Also catch "Monday Sports Albom" 7-8 p.m. Mondays on WJR. To read Albom's most recent columns, go to www.freep.com/index/albom.htm.