What Peace Can Look Like in Iraq

CoRev sends me an e-mail:


One test of truthiness of the change in Iraq is the left’s question whether there is any place in Iraq where a western foreigner can go without armor? Well, we have this from Martin Fletcher, an embedded London Times reporter in of all places Ramadi, Iraq, until recently the most dangerous city in the world — for westerners.

In Ramadi last weekend I did things unthinkable almost anywhere else in this violent country. I walked through the main souk without body armour, talking to ordinary Iraqis. Late one evening I strolled into the brightly lit Jamiah district of the city with Lieutenant-Colonel Roger Turner, the tobacco-chewing US marine in charge of central Ramadi, to buy kebabs from an outdoor restaurant – “It’s safer than London or New York,” Colonel Turner assured me.

Read the rest here.

It is a good memorial to an American hero.


Cactus here. Normally, I’d put my response in comments. But I guess this is in response to my comment the other day about reporters not being able to walk around unarmed and unescorted in Iraq, so I figure its OK if I put my 2 cents in given its a direct challenge. Its certainly a step toward proving me wrong… the reporter said he walked around with no body armor, and we can assume he was unarmed. Unescorted… not so much.

But let us say that this next step is achieved. So what we have in Ramadi is the Sunnis have now allied themselves with the US against Al Qaeda… but are there any Shia left in the city? Has the US allied itself with the folks who completely and totally ethnically cleansed their town, and who now see no need to stand with Al Qaeda because there are no Shia left to wipe out?

And perhaps we can achieve some semblance of peace in other areas by walling them off and denying entry to anyone who doesn’t pass biometric tests.

If the violence finally ebbs when most of Iraq has been turned into ethnically pure enclaves, do we really want to be in the position, a little way down the road, of being the enforcers of the conditions of this type of peace? Note that maintaining this sort of peace means keeping refugees and other survivors of ethnic cleansing from returning to their homes. It may be realpolitik, but I’m not sure I like the idea of American lives and treasure being spent protecting ethnic cleansers from the ethnic cleansees. I don’t remember that being one of the reasons GW gave for this little exercise in the first place.