The Iraqi Nation

This is the sort of post that gets me takfir-email and accusations of secret Zionist sympathies (as opposed to the other sort of post where I am accused of blood libel). But I believe across all axes of my identity as a muslim, a liberal, and an American, I have a genuine self-interest in seeing the great Iraq experiment succeed. For good or ill, we are upon this path, so let us pray that it is not for ill.

And via Pejman at Red State comes the kind of news from Iraq that (unlike painted schools) actually has relevance to the outcome of where Iraq is ultimately headed: Iraqi Sunnis Battle To Defend Shiites.

Rising up against insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, Iraqi Sunni Muslims in Ramadi fought with grenade launchers and automatic weapons Saturday to defend their Shiite neighbors against a bid to drive them from the western city, Sunni leaders and Shiite residents said. The fighting came as the U.S. military announced the deaths of six American soldiers.

Dozens of Sunni members of the Dulaimi tribe established cordons around Shiite homes, and Sunni men battled followers of Zarqawi, a Jordanian, for an hour Saturday morning. The clashes killed five of Zarqawi's guerrillas and two tribal fighters, residents and hospital workers said. Zarqawi loyalists pulled out of two contested neighborhoods in pickup trucks stripped of license plates, witnesses said.

The leaders of four of Iraq's Sunni tribes had rallied their fighters in response to warnings posted in mosques by followers of Zarqawi. The postings ordered Ramadi's roughly 3,000 Shiites to leave the city of more than 200,000 in the area called the Sunni Triangle. The order to leave within 48 hours came in retaliation for alleged expulsions by Shiite militias of Sunnis living in predominantly Shiite southern Iraq.

"We have had enough of his nonsense," said Sheik Ahmad Khanjar, leader of the Albu Ali clan, referring to Zarqawi. "We don't accept that a non-Iraqi should try to enforce his control over Iraqis, regardless of their sect -- whether Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs or Kurds.''

Note that this particular Good News is being reported by the dreaded Mainstream Media. Now why do you suppose that is, if the MSM is dedicated to seeing America fail?

Of course, there is bad news - while the Iraqi people rise to the occassion, the Administration's commitment to liberty in fact (rather than mere rhetorical lip service) is further discredited:

The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

I guess that's the kind of Bad News which all the MSM critics like to point to as evidence of the 5th column. Or sixth, after you include the liberals, or maybe we are up to seven by now.

So, Iraqis rise, the Administration weasels, and who shall we blame if it all goes wrong in the end?


Dean Esmay said...

I'm not sure I see what's weaselly about the administration's statements, given the continued violence and continued pounding they take every day because Iraq hasn't turned into Philadelphia overnight (and as if they are responsible for what fascist "insurgents" do).

Most people I know thought the situation could well be much worse than it is today, but hoped for better. I don't have a problem with people who say they're disappointed but will keep working. We could have done as we did in Japan--simply impose a military dictator on them (a REAL one, which Bremer wasn't) and shoved a Constitution down their throats. We didn't. We probably should have gotten Iraqis involved in national elections sooner--we got them involved in local elections right from the beginning but didn't move fast enough to bring in national elected bodies. Woulda shoulda coulda, how to move forward now?

The "bring the troops home now" people are insane, and the "Bush Bush Bush Bush" people are just a distraction. What should we be doing? We can onl move forward from where we are.

Aziz Poonawalla said...

agreed, I am not into the woulda shoulda coulda game. But in response to "what should we be ding now?" at least one answer is "stop undermining the positive rhetoric about liberty with cover-your-ass political wankery". Which is all this is.

I am an optimist about Iraq, and the future of human liberty. I am a pessimist about the Bush Administration's agenda in advance of 2006. This looks and smells like CYA to me, especially since there has been plenty of noise about a planned early withdrawal.

Add "stop trying to lay groundwork for a cut and run" to the list of what should be done.

Thomas Nephew said...

The Bush administration is hoist by its own "rose petals" petard here, Dean; it's not insane to demand "bring the boys home now" if you suspect they never had a plan beyond rose petals and permanent bases, and if you suspect the American presence is creating more insurgents than it's deterring or killing.

I wanted and want Iraq to turn out OK, and I didn't and don't demand Philadelphia overnight. But I do demand competence and honesty, and I've been getting neither one -- just an half-stupid, half-immoral "we're fighting them there so we don't fight them here" attitude. Under those circumstances, my energies may be best spent in direct opposition to our continued bloodletting there than in partial, wavering agreement.