Thursday, April 08, 2004

Moment of Truth

In addition to this ghastly development, any number of horror stories and nightmares are playing themselves out in Iraq. We haven't had much to say about this and perhaps with good reason. My guarded optimism is growing decidedly more defensive.

I'd be lying if I said I couldn't hear my knees knocking together but, as Andrew Sullivan said, "the reality is so opaque and events so fluid that it's hard to know what to say." The only reaction I feel confident in expressing at the moment is that we cannot escape our problems: we must face them. It may sting now, but not half so much as it will if we withdraw. The priceless Shia Pundit comments: "There is a point at which we will unambiguously have fallen from the grace of our own self-interest, let alone Iraq's (however the two are bound). Muqtada Sadr has taken refuge in Najaf today and he will do his utmost to try and make us cross that line."

Keep your fingers crossed for the Arba'in on Sunday: let's hope it's less bloody than the Ashura. Remember Democracy, Whisky, Sexy? Seems far off now. Spencer Ackerman quotes the LA Times as having reported the following:
Some Najaf residents expressed disgust at Sadr's battle with the U.S. "We can hardly believe that we finally got rid of Saddam after 35 years and could start a new life, and now with this new crisis of Moqtada, everything that we have tried to build is collapsing," said Abu Mustapha, an agricultural engineer.
If you're looking for some good news, that dear soul AYS tells us that
some districts here in Basra came to a great idea, the Sheiks of many tribes held a meeting and decided to sign on papers promising that any person dares to breach the peace in their areas will be arrested or killed immediately and no one will protect him even if he was one of their tribes.. this meeting relieved the people so much…