Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Iraq Again

Blogs practically make a point of offering big-picture views of important issues, either indirectly by aggregating other good sources or directly by posting clear, opinionated summaries like Juan Cole's "Top Ten Myths about Iraq in 2005", a must-read post on his usually-must-read blog. As another wave of bombings washes over Iraq, it's worth seeing what an expert like Cole thinks is going on, and through his views which events are crucial:

1. The guerrilla war is being waged only in four provinces.
2. Iraqi Sunnis voting in the December 15 election is a sign that they are being drawn into the political process and might give up the armed insurgency
3. The guerrillas are winning the war against US forces.
4. Iraqis are grateful for the US presence and want US forces there to help them build their country.
5. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, born in Iran in 1930, is close to the Iranian regime in Tehran
6. There is a silent majority of middle class, secular-minded Iraqis who reject religious fundamentalism.
7. The new Iraqi constitution is a victory for Western, liberal values in the Middle East.
8. Iraq is already in a civil war, so it does not matter if the US simply withdraws precipitately, since the situation is as bad as it can get.
9. The US can buy off the Iraqis now supporting guerrilla action against US troops.
10. The Bush administration wanted free elections in Iraq.