There’s an old Arab saying that pretty much sums up their attitude towards outsiders: “My brother and I against our cousin. My brother, my cousin and I against a stranger.” There’s also another one about ninjas or something that’s pretty cool but I can’t remember it.

For about six years we were the strangers in Iraq. And everyone’s brother, cousin, sister, nephew, uncle, father and mother was shooting at us. I guess in that sense we unified the people of Iraq like nothing else ever has.

Of course now we’re leaving Iraq like hippies leaving Woodstock: a total mess with no plumbing. There is no stranger to focus all that ethnic hatred and animosity on anymore. Consequently they can hardly even form a government now that the bulk of our military forces have left their country.

“In Iraq’s March 7 election, the Iraqiya list, led by the former prime minister, Iyad Allawi, won two more seats than al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition, but neither side won a majority, leading to eight months of political deadlock.

But just hours after leaders cemented the power-sharing agreement that seemed to smooth over lingering ethno-sectarian tensions, politicians belonging to Iraqiya left parliament.

A walkout was staged after al-Nujaifi declined a request to vote on removing three parliament members’ names from a list of those associated with deposed president Saddam Hussein’s Baath party.” – Al Jazeera

See, for nearly 40 years the Ba’ath Party was Iraq’s only political party. They ran everything. Likewise, one had to be a party member to get any kind of higher education or be allowed into the military leadership. When we came along and broke the place in 2003 we banned any former member of the Ba’ath Party from working in government or the military.

This, understandably, made finding people who knew how to run a country very difficult. And, as you can see, this law that we made them enact is part of the problem. Well, thousands of years of sectarian hatred, killing and torture are playing a role too I guess. Oil as well. At any rate, it’s all a rich tapestry.

We certainly didn’t teach them anything about political compromise. That’s for sure. But, now that we have another awesome war in Afghanistan to go fight we can’t stick around and make sure that people don’t start blowing things up and killing each other. Al Jazeera goes on to say:

“Despite receding Shia-Sunni violence, the long parliamentary deadlock has fuelled tension as US forces prepare to withdraw in 2011.

The backing of Iraqiya was seen as vital to preventing a resurgence of violence. A series of attacks on Christian targets across Baghdad on Wednesday stirred renewed fear in the minority community.

The bomb and mortar blasts occurred just 10 days after a bloody siege at a Catholic cathedral in the capital that killed 52 people.”

I guess you really can’t make a Democracy Omelette without blowing up a few chicken coops. And cathedrals. Which does make me wonder what in the hell Catholics are doing building cathedrals in Iraq to begin with. At the risk of sounding like the prosecutor in THE ACCUSED, you were kind of asking for it.



  1. November 19, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    My favorite was always LEE HARVEY ODDBALL.

  2. 2 illliterature
    November 18, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    I miss the Ba’ath Tub.

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