Ahmed, who has a Shiite father and a Sunni mother, considers himself a secular Shiite, and, in his view, the religious militias want to force people like him out of Baghdad. “Americans are the safe house for the whole situation in Iraq,” he said. “Once they say they are going to withdraw, the whole country will become a hell.” He went on, “I imagine that no Sunnis will be in Baghdad at all. Baghdad will be only for the Shiite man with the long beard and black imama—the turban. The Americans are representing the taboos, just like ‘Lord of the Flies.’ I imagine the Shiites will be just like that if the Americans have to withdraw. Who can fight will fight, who must leave will leave.” He added, “Those who are weak, who are trying to avoid the savagery, those who are at the edge of being eaten by the Shiite specifically—that will be the end point, that will be their doomsday. The plan, as we hear it, is to make Baghdad empty of Sunnis.”Planning for Defeat: How should we withdraw from Iraq? (The New Yorker, September 17, 2007)
This week, Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad, and General David Petraeus, the commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, will give their assessment of the surge to Congress—an event that, in Washington, has taken on the aura of a make-or-break moment for the Administration’s policy. But their testimony is likely to be unremarkable. Administration officials, military officers, and members of Congress described their expectations of it in strikingly similar terms, and a few said that they could write it in advance: military progress, a political stalemate among Iraqis, more time needed.
The Petraeus-Crocker testimony is the kind of short-lived event on which the Administration has relied to shore up support for the war: the “Mission Accomplished” declaration, the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam’s capture, the transfer of sovereignty, the three rounds of voting, the Plan for Victory, the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Every new milestone, however illusory, allows the Administration to avoid thinking ahead, to the years when the mistakes of Iraq will continue to haunt the U.S.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson