Larry Elder

"Those living in Iraq, the common, regular people, are in a living

nightmare. From the terror that would come across the faces of my family at an unknown visitor, telephone call, knock at the door, I began to realize the horror they lived with every day.

"Over and over I questioned them 'Why could you want war?'

"I wept with family members as I shared their pain, and with great difficulty and deep soul searching began little by little to understand their desire for war to finally rid them of the nightmare they were living in.

"Over and over again I would be told 'We would be killed for speaking like this' and finding out that they would only speak in a private home or where they were absolutely sure, through the introduction of another Iraqi, that I was not being attended by a minder.

" . . . When allowed to speak freely, the message was the same -- 'Please bring on the war. We are ready. We have suffered long enough. We may lose our lives but some of us will survive and for our children's sake please, please end our misery.'

"But what of their feelings towards the United States and Britain? Those feelings are clearly mixed. They have no love for the British or the Americans but they trust them. 'We are not afraid of the American bombing. They will bomb carefully and not purposely target the people. What we are afraid of is Saddam Hussein and what he and the Baath Party will do when the war begins. But even then we want the war. It is the only way to escape our hell.'"

Mr. Clancy left Iraq because, as he put it, he "ran out of money."

Mr. Joseph left Iraq to smuggle out tapes of interviews with Iraqis and to tell the world of their plight.

So, a tale of two antiwar activists who traveled to Iraq. Whom to believe?

Assuming the allied-led war continues to proceed successfully, expect the truth to emerge soon enough.

My money's on Mr. Joseph.

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit