America's Newspapers: Document Display

Original article in full. Read it if you still have any doubts the Bushies want genocide, now that things are not going well... And note the irony: Friedman accuses Sunis of ethnic cleansing! -- law

The Endgame in Iraq
New York Times, The (NY)
September 28, 2005
Estimated printed pages: 3

Even a brief visit to this southern Iraq port leaves me convinced that we are entering the endgame here. The coming Iraqi votes, in October over the new constitution and in December over a new Parliament, are going to tell America whether it is worth staying here or not for much longer.

Despite all the shameful blunders of Donald Rumsfeld, Iraq, at the end of the day, was always going to be what the Iraqis decided to make of it. And those in the Iraqi majority -- the Shiites and Kurds who make up roughly 80 percent of this country -- have spoken. They want an Iraq that will be decentralized and will allow each of their communities to run its own affairs and culture -- without fear of ever again being dominated and brutalized by an oil-backed Sunni minority regime in Baghdad.

Equally important, both the Kurds and the Shiites have made it clear that they have no interest in telling the Sunnis how to live, and will cut them a slice of Iraq's oil revenue and maintain Iraq's basic Arab identity.

So now we know what kind of majority the Kurds and Shiites want to be, the question is what kind of minority the Iraqi Sunnis want to be. Do they want to be the Palestinians and spend the next 100 years trying to mobilize the Arab-Muslim world to reverse history and restore their "right" to rule Iraq as a minority -- a move that would destroy them and Iraq?...

Or do they want to embrace the future? I know the Sunnis are terrified by Iran's influence in this southern region, but, as the Brits who run the Basra area, which includes Umm Qasr, will tell you, the Iraqi Arab Shiites here are obsessed with not being dominated by Iran. Despite growing cultural and commercial ties with Iran, they are Iraqis first...

Do the Iraqi Sunnis understand their own interests, and does the Sunni world have any moral center? Up to now the Sunni Arab world has stood mute while the Sunni Baathists and jihadists in Iraq have engaged in what can only be called "ethnic cleansing": murdering Shiite civilians in large numbers purely because they are Shiites in hopes of restoring a Sunni-dominated order in Iraq that is un-restorable...

So, folks, we are faltering in Iraq today in part because of the Bush team's incompetence, but also because of the moral vacuum in the Sunni Arab world, where the worst are engaged in murderous ethnic cleansing -- and trying to stifle any prospect of democracy here -- and the rest are too afraid, too weak, too lost or too anti-Shiite to do anything about it.

Maybe the cynical Europeans were right. Maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation. That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won't, then we are wasting our time. We should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind. We must not throw more good American lives after good American lives for people who hate others more than they love their own children...

America's Newspapers: Document Display


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