Iraq: September 24, 2004


Iraqis Sunni Arabs, who were never very popular with the majority of their fellow Iraqis in the first place, are trying really, really hard to become major villains.  Not just to the Shia Arab and Kurdish Iraqis they have been tormenting for centuries, but also to the foreigners who have been trying to help repair the damage done to the economy by decades of Sunni Arab mismanagement and theft. The Sunni Arab terrorism is barbaric in the extreme, just as it was when it served to keep Saddam in power. People are kidnapped, body parts cut off and whole towns and neighborhoods terrified by gangs of Sunni Arab thugs reliving the good old days under Saddam. Most parts of Iraq are sufficiently armed and organized to keep the Sunni gangs out. But in the Sunni Arab, and mixed areas, the Sunni thugs have places to hide from American troops. Here, the Sunni thugs are often strong enough to defeat, or chase away, Iraqi police.  To add insult to injury, the Sunni Arabs are considered heroes in  most Arab media, as well as by  anti-American partisans around the world. The Sunni Arab terror is portrayed as the struggle of valiant Iraqi nationalists against evil foreign aggressors.  This portrayal largely ignores the attitudes, or history, of the majority of Iraqi population (the Shia Arabs and Kurds). These people are at peace (except for a few Shia Arabs fighting to establish a Shia religious dictatorship), and suffering from the continued attacks from Sunni Arabs. This willful ignorance of Iraqi history, and of what is actually going on in Iraq, is a tragedy that is rarely covered. Inside Iraq, most Iraqis, and foreigners (troops, and civilians working on reconstruction), are perplexed at this media coverage, and say so in emails, and face-to-face when they get back. On the plus side, this will give writers plenty of good material when it comes time to do revisionist books  on the "War in Iraq." But in the meantime, the bad guys are heroes and their victims don't exist. 


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