February 28, 2006
Iraqi People Continue to Disappoint the Pessimists
Press reported Monday that Sunni Arabs in Iraq are prepared
to end their boycott of talks to form a national unity government,
thus disappointing yet again those journalists who've been telling
us for two years civil war is imminent.
last Wednesday as if the pessimists might finally be right after
terrorists destroyed the Golden Mosque in Samarra, one of the
holiest sites in Shia Islam. Shia militias attacked more than
a dozen Sunni mosques in retaliation. An unprecedented three day
curfew was imposed in Baghdad in order to curb sectarian violence
in which more than 100 people were killed.
of violence convinced conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr.
the U.S. mission in Iraq has failed.
mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable
by an invading army of 130,000 Americans," Mr. Buckley wrote
in National Review. "The great human reserves that
call for civil life haven't proved strong enough."
is of the "realist" school of foreign policy, which
believes, in essence, that "freedom and democracy are for
me, but not for thee." The lesser breeds without the Law,
like Iraq's Arabs, aren't ready for it now, and probably won't
be ever. Buckley noted with apparent approval the view of an anonymous
soldier quoted in the New York Times who said he can
understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the Sunnis and
Shiites from each other's throats.
pessimism may be premature. Both Sunni and Shia religious leaders
have called for calm. The Moqtada al Sadr, whose militia was in
the forefront of the retaliatory attacks on Sunni mosques, prayed
publicly Saturday with the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars.
Thousands of ordinary Sunnis and Shias joined together in half
a dozen Iraqi cities to demonstrate for peace.
have much more evidence of a strong national unity movement in
Iraq," said Iraqi Web logger Haider Ajina of the weekend
demonstrations. "This attack was supposed to plunge Iraq
into sectarian mayhem and senseless massive killing. This did
demonstrations for peace drew little attention from a news media
that is eager to report on a civil war, even if it isn't happening.
every Iraq story is inaccurate," wrote Ben Connable, a Marine
major stationed in Fallujah, in an email to a friend. "The
numbers are inflated, the damage exaggerated, the estimates are
misleading, and the predictions are based on pure conjecture,
often by people far removed from the problem."
Iraqi military and police forces have held together and they are
doing their jobs," Maj. Connable said. "In 2004, the
Iraqi military and police all but collapsed. The fact that Shia
soldiers who make up the vast majority of the troops have stayed
at their posts, held back the Shia militiamen, and prevented an
increase in violence is remarkable. This should be one of the
feature stories on the nightly news, but it barely received mention."
Iraqis. They continue to disappoint by failing to be disappointing.
Could it be that most of them value freedom, democracy and peace
as much as white Christians do?
not to say there isn't plenty of sectarian tension. Things could
go south fast if negotiations for a national unity government
fail. But things could get better if those who attacked the Golden
Mosque are caught.
which is as eager to start a sectarian civil war as the New
York Times is to report on it, is the principal suspect.
Golden Mosque bombing will turn out to be another major defeat
for the terrorists, if for no other reason than it got the two
major Shia factions, the Badr and Sadr groups, to stop fighting
each other," predicted StrategyPage.
Sunnis are claiming the real culprit is Iran, acting through the
Moqtada al Sadr's militia.
some evidence to support the Sunni claim. Col. Austin Bay's friend
"Sapper," a former combat engineer, says it would take
several hours to place the roughly 200 lbs of explosives needed
to drop the dome, suggesting an inside job. Guards were handcuffed
and put in a safe place rather than killed, solicitude al Qaida
has not shown to Shias in the past.
move by al Qaida, or the Iraqi equivalent of the Reichstag fire?