The Unquiet Americans

As the U.S. Military Footprint Grows, So Does Jordanian Anger

A'eda Odeh hasn't heard about the American helicopter. Over coffee in her brother's home in the city of Zarqa, 15 minutes northeast of Amman, she said that the idea that Jordan was working closely with the U.S. made her "very angry."

"I don't like Saddam Hussein at all," said Odeh, whose husband is a Jordanian policeman. "But because his soldiers are resisting the Americans, I've started to like him." She says she takes no pleasure from the reports of killed and captured American soldiers, and says the Iraqis should be left in peace. "They need to start a war to get of rid of Saddam?" she asks. "This is the most powerful country in the world we're talking about. I think they could have found another way." She says it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Bush administration has bigger plans than liberating Iraqis.

The rumors from the Iraqi border have reached the streets of Amman. A falafel vendor asked whether the stories about the U.S. troops are true; and if they're true, what can the government be thinking? "I know Jordan needs the money, but these are fellow Arabs," he says, shaking his head in disgust. "I think, in the long run, this collaboration will end up costing us more than we can afford."

Back in the Zarqa living room, A'eda's brother tells her the story of the Iraqi farmers, and she listens intently, her face expressionless, till she can no longer contain her glee. "I don't favor war," she says, and takes a last sip of her tea. "But bravo to those farmers."

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