Via Attytood, this is not to be linked to by Glenn Reynolds...
As pilgrims marched by our Baghdad bureau on their way to Karbala, I could hear them chant: "Kul yom Ashura! Kul ard Karbala!" or "Every day is Ashura! All land is Karbala!" Simply put, they were saying, everyday and everywhere in Iraq, Shi'ites are reliving Hussein's battles in Karbala. There was no talk of democracy or the Ba'ath Party, Saddam Hussein or the U.S. troop "surge," or other subjects that dominate the Iraq debate in the United States. Instead, it is apparent that many of Iraq's Shi'ites believe they are fighting a different war from the one many in the United States see their troops engaged in here, and for different reasons.
Many Sunni groups in Iraq are also fighting a war that seems to have little in common with the official U.S. and Iraqi characterization of the conflict. Al-Qaeda in Iraq and its allies recently formed an umbrella group they call Dowlit al-Islam, or the Islamic State in Iraq. After the group claimed responsibility for bombing the Iraqi parliament building in Baghdad's Green Zone in April, the group issued an Internet statement explaining its motivation. The group said the suicide bomber who attacked parliament's cafeteria and killed one lawmaker was motivated to kill "the traitors and collaborators" who had sold out to a "Zionist-Persian" conspiracy to control Iraq. From what they wrote, they seem to believe they are fighting Israel, Iran and their agents, not the U.S. mission to bring democracy to Iraq...
U.S. politicians and military commanders often complain that the Iraqi government "won't step up and do its job." The impression they give is that Iraqi officials are sitting around smoking hooka pipes and refusing to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, while U.S. troops are fighting and dying to "get the job done." Perhaps the question should be, "Which job?" American soldiers often ask me when the Iraqis will "step up and fight for their own country." They are already fighting for their country. Iraqi officials, religious leaders, militia groups, Syria, Iran and al-Qaeda are struggling and dying to get a "job done" in Iraq, though it does not appear to be the job the White House would like them to be doing.
It isn't that the Iraqis are cowards, it is that most of them want something different than what we want. We removed Saddam, but we cannot impose our will at all places for all times within that nation. It is their country, what they want -- or rather what the strongest group wants (undoubtedly some form of Shiia amalgamation) is going to come to pass. We cannot prevent it, we can only have Americans die and the nation go broke while delaying its eventuality.
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