diet coke for breakfast

Monday, June 02, 2003

Posted by Jake
A Tale of Two Baghdads (

This article asks a lot of people how many Iraqis they think like the Americans and how many they think don't. Sufficeth to say, they find that the real value is somewhere between all of them for and all of them against. The result is an understanding of the Iraqi public that is about as correct as surveys of the American public.

For people who are feverishly looking for validation of their views on the Iraq war -- whether for or against -- in the minds of the Iraqis this is somewhat unsatisfying. The Iraqi people are sort of like the American people in a couple of ways.

1.) Like the Americans, some Iraqis were against the war and some were for. Some people will benefit from the war, some will not; and this will color their views.
2.) Like the Americans, my suspicion is that the Iraqis don't really know what they want. The jubilation in the streets quickly gave way to a grab bag of Utopian views for the new Iraqi society, not of them the same and few very realistic.
3.) Like the Americans, the Iraqis have unreasonable expections about how quickly the government can solve their problems, if at all.

The point is that ambivalence among the Iraqi public should not distract us from what we have to do. We can't leave until there is a reasonable government, even if a good number of the Iraqis want us to. We won't appoint an interim government until there is some assurance that it will be balanced.

Unfortunately for those who wanted a quick answer to whether this was a good idea -- for how history will judge us -- the conclusion of this whole deal is neither going to be quick, nor clear.


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