Thursday, November 15, 2007

Treasure of Baghdad: Deny, Deny, Deny!

One cannot help but laugh at Treasure of Baghdad's latest blog entry -- "What's the Difference?" -- where he argues that today's Iraq is the same as Saddam's tyranny. One needs to note that Treasure of Baghdad wrote that entry from Philadelphia, where he is currently attending graduate school. Think about that for a minute. He is sitting and typing his denials of any difference between pre- and post-Saddam Iraq from an apartment in Philadelphia, a situation that would only have been possible before Operation Iraqi Freedom if he had risked his life trying to escape from Saddam's national prison. If that doesn't elicit a derisive chuckle from you, nothing will.

As evidence that nothing has changed in Iraq, Treasure of Baghdad remarks that the universities, which were once run by Saddam's Baath party enforcers and from whose clutches he had to flee on more than one occasion, are now similarly run by the Mahdi militia, citing a single Newsweek article as his source. Do the Mahdi militia force students in all of Iraq's universities to celebrate Shiite festivals, as BT writes? I have serious doubts about that. Anyway, as usual with BT, he fails to acknowldedge the millions of Kurds and Shia Arabs whose lives have hope now that Saddam's regime has been toppled. While BT is quick to accuse other Iraqis of being "sectarian," it seems that, for him, the only Iraqis of real importance are the Sunna he knows.

Like Zeyad and Omar (24 Steps) (both of whom are also currently studying in the United States), Treasure of Baghdad is unable to accept that Iraq has become much safer over the last few months. None of them have commented positively on the Anbar Awakening. Why? In a previous blog entry, I myself wondered why this should be. Part of the answer must lie in the fact that these three Iraqis have invested so much of themselves in the master-narrative of Iraq Chaos-Bush's fault, that they cannot even begin to admit that Petraeus's surge strategy along with the Anbar Awakening and its ripple effects through the rest of the country have made a huge difference in the lives of Iraqis today.

BT's only response so far has been to argue that the decline in violence is only because Shia and Sunni Iraqis now live separately from each other and thus they no longer feel the need to kill each other. This is a very cynical, not to say slanderous, view of the typical behavior of Iraqis, I might add. I thought that BT used to argue that Iraqis never knew the words "Shia" and "Sunni" before the fall of Saddam? I have learned over the last four years to watch out for the wild twisting of emotion and reason is BT's thinking. One day Iraqis are all "brothers" who don't know what sectarianism is and the next day they are so impassioned to kill one another that they must erect fences around their neighborhoods to keep their hands from committing murder. In BT's muddled, conflicted mind, both are equally true, depending upon the time of day, his mood, or the news article he has just read.

And yet I'm sure that in Baghdad there is some grain of truth to the claim that the separation of Sunni and Shia inside Baghdad itself has contributed to the reduction of violence there. But the decline in violence is not just inside Baghdad but across the country and the separation of Shia and Sunna into different neighborhoods in Baghdad is surely just one of a handful of factors. BT discounts the other reasons because they might suggest that Americans and Iraqis are working TOGETHER to help build a safer country. Why are these three amigos so opposed to Iraqis and Americans working together? Hadn't both BT and Omar (24 Steps) worked together with Americans at the Washington Post? Do they only believe in working with Americans who hate Bush? If they oppose Americans and Iraqis working together, then what in God's name are they doing studying at our universities? How long can Zeyad and 24 Steps and Treasure of Baghdad continue to deny the obvious?

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UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson echoes some of the same observations that we at Iraqi Bloggers Central have made over the last month or so about how subdued the MSM has become now that the violence in Iraq has started to decline and the hope for security there is seen as possible.

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