Tuesday, November 25, 2003
"As soon as they leave, I'm taking off my hat," he said, tipping his red baseball cap emblazoned with the corps' emblem, "and putting on a yashmak," the head scarf sometimes worn by resistance fighters.And then there's this:
Awad, 25, gaunt like the others, shook his head. It was a gesture at once confused and despairing. "We can quit working with the Americans. Fine," he said. "But will the clergy give us salaries?" Mohammed grinned at the idea. "They pay us," he said, "and we'll stop working with the Americans."Andrew Sullivan thinks that we need to be in Iraq with considerable numbers for around a decade, and I totally agree. There are places in Iraq where the locals can, and should, assume greater responsibility. These places, in the Sunni heartland, are far from that state.
One might argue that the current Iraqification fever is mostly focused on political reform, not military consideration. But these people are not likely to feel any allegiance to a new Iraqi government, and the security situation will only worsen if we are hoping for goodwill to replace cash and guns as the deciding factor in their loyalty.I feel sorry for these people: imagine living in a place where your religion and your ethnicity, the two characteristics that defines you most, both telling you to shun the first true helping hand to reach your way for decades, and you are defined so much by these things that you don't even realize that you're working to cut off your lifeline.