Friday, August 26, 2005

Forecast: Partly Sunni to Mostly Cloudy

Perhaps the continual squabbling among the Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis over the new Iraq constitution will make the Bush administration - and the pollyanna neo-conservatives - realize that a united and democratic Iraq is far from a realistic goal. If they believe that hundreds of years of tribal warfare and cultural disagreement can be overcome in a couple of years or so, then they need to go back to school for some remedial history instruction.

It will be a minor miracle if the three ethnic groups are able to co-exist peacefully as one nation. There is far too much distrust and disagreement - not to mention hatred - for them to create and administer a functional government for any significant period of time. The only reason the country survived without civil war under Saddam Hussein was because he ruled with an iron fist, really about the only way to "manage" such inter-cultural animosity. Add in the fact that Hussein, a member of the Sunni secularist Baath party, exerted his power and control over the majority Shiites, and it's no wonder that the hate and distrust is palpable.

Kind of makes the ethnic discord in the United States look like squabbling 10-year-old Little Leaguers compared to the steroid-laden sluggers of Major League Baseball. The Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis are the professionals of ethnic discord.

Yet, somehow, our esteemed Republican leadership believes all of this can be solved with an election and a constitution, bringing everyone together in sweet harmony to live happily ever after. Cats and dogs living together. Then the alarm goes off - or was it a suicide bomb - and the dream implodes in the stifling heat and omnipresent dust of reality.

Get ready, America. Our troops will be in Iraq - or whatever becomes of it - for many, many years to come. While Saddam Hussein was a narcicistic megalomaniac - not to mention a brutal dictator in the terrifying mold of Josef Stalin - he was able to forcibly contain the powderkeg of inter-cultural hate in Iraq. Now that the bonds of this keg have been cut loose, it's anybody's guess how this volatile situation will unfold. Just be prepared for years - maybe decades - of troubling news from Mesopotamia. It's gonna get a whole lot worse before it ever gets better.

The storm clouds are gathering. The Bush administration's sunny forecast isn't looking so "Sunni" anymore.


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