Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Inside Iraq

Post-election wisdom from Back to Iraq:
The insurgency is not over. The Sunnis and middle-class former Ba'athists are still resentful and suspicious. An old friend of mine who was a Ba'athist, but mainly so he could get a job, is bitter and morose, feeling that now there are two occupations. “One from the Americans and one from the Iranians,” he said. The Sunnis are terrified of their old enemy, and List 169, the Sistani-blessed list, does have a number of people on it with serious ties to Iran. The country is still a mess, with deteriorating services like water and electricity. This is not to say they can't be overcome, but this is not a time to declare victory.

Be sure and mention all this to the war-boosters, who are, dorkily, coating their fingers with blue ink as a sign of solidarity “with the Iraqi people.” Hm. I don't remember them doing that for Afghanistan... Why don't they just 'fess up and say they're giving the finger to us doubters? This is not solidarity; it's a taunt along the lines of, “We were right, nyah nyah!” instead of a celebration of democracy. Make no mistake: Sunday was not a validation of Bush's policies. Most Arab states would like to have democracy, yes, but not at the barrel of a gun, which is how it came here. If the choice is being invaded, occupied and force-fed controversial elections that might lead to civil war versus working at democratic reforms at their own pace and in their own way, I suspect most Arabs would choose the latter. And who could blame them? Iraq is not an example to emulate.

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