Will there ever be a united Iraq, or is this a dream that the West should give up on before there is even more loss of life? After the breakup of the Soviet Union, many of the countries they ruled with an iron fist divided into smaller, ethnically similar areas and seem to be very happy with that solution. We’re a country with many different races and religions, but that’s because this country was originally made up of immigrants. We may not be able to force our model of democracy onto the Iraqis.
In the Independent, Patrick Cockburn reports on the British point of view, which makes our media look like government-sponsored propaganda. He says, “A frustrating aspect of writing about Iraq since the invasion is that the worse the situation becomes, the easier it is for Tony Blair or George Bush to pretend it is improving. That is because as Baghdad and Iraq, aside from the three Kurdish provinces, become the stalking ground for death squads and assassins, it is impossible to report the collapse of security without being killed doing so.”
In other words, everything looks fine if you stay in the Green Zone?which is where all journalists stay and where military commanders lie low when they’re not out commanding troops. This would be like reporting on the state of the US without ever leaving Washington, D.C.
Cockburn writes: “In the two parliamentary elections and a referendum on the constitution in 2005, Iraqis voted along strictly sectarian or ethnic lines. The Shia and Sunnireligious parties and the Kurdish coalition triumphed; secular and nationalist candidates performed dismally?The government has become a sort of bureaucratic feudalism with each ministry presided over by an independent chieftain. So divided is the new government that each ministry becomes the fief of the party that holds it. The ministries are, in practice, patronage machines employing only party loyalists. They are milked for money, jobs and contracts. Ministers cannot be dismissed for incompetence or corruption, however gross, because it would lead to the deal between the parties and communities unraveling.”
UPDATE: Reporters have been urged to get out into the action more and as a result of this, two CBS reporters, soundman James Brolan and cameraman Paul Douglas, died and a third reporter, Kimberly Dozier, lies in a hospital in critical condition?all victims of a roadside bomb. As Maureen Dowd says in her column in the May 31st New York Times, “The administration and some right-wing commentators have blamed the press for not reporting positive news in Iraq. The radio host Laura Ingraham has suggested that the press is ?invested in American’s defeat’ and has mocked TV journalists for ‘reporting from hotel balconies.'” She quotes the president of NBC News, Steve Capus, as saying, “One thing I don’t want to hear anymore is people like Laura Ingraham spewing about us not leaving our balconies in the Green zone to cover what’s really happening in Iraq.”
UPDATE: We may soon have even more soldiers fighting in Iraq. On February 14, 2006, Congressman Charles Rangel (NY) introduced a bill to establish the Universal National Service Act that would draft men and women ages 18 to 42 into the military for a minimum of 2 years “to provide for the common defense by requiring all persons in the United States, including women, between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.”The House will reconvene on June 6 to debate and possibly adopt this bill.
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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