I had earlier asked my Democratic friends for what their priorities were, and almost universally they were for the immediate termination of our presence in Iraq. Most called it an unmitigated disaster that created more terrorism than it controlled. While their answers were helpful, I don't necessarily believe that they are right. The article in the above link shows another perspective on what is happening in Iraq that should give us hope.
Why isn't this sort of information being reported with wider dissemination? One theory could be that it is isolated and anecdotal, and another is that it does not comport with our preconceived notions of what is happening. In any event, it is still interesting. It kind of reminds me of the Summer of 2001 when the news was filled with shark attack stories. Not that there were more actual attacks by sharks than before, but the news media grabbed ahold of story, and it was blown out of proportion. Popular belief in the immediacy of the reported problem swamped common sense, and everyone was freaking out, at least until 9-11.
While I don't agree with some posters on Matt's site Left in the West who believe that we are the worst country in the world for our treatment of people, I am still an optimist who believes that we are capable and are doing good. The only problems that I think we suffer from is our desire for quick and/or immediate solutions, and our lack of patience. That, and our lack of perspective about the rest of the world.
I remember in our local free paper, someone once commented that we are the most racist, sexist and homophobic country on earth. I was thinking at the time that the commenter should get out in the world beyond Canada. Most of the world is messy, but I have never found a place where you can get more opportunities than here.
But back to the reason for this post. The attitudes of the Iraqis are pleasantly surprising. They are starting to take responsibility for their lives, which is no small achievement. After April of 2003, the Iraqis looked to us to solve all of their problems, while we were standing there waiting for them to step up to the plate. This mismatch of perceptions was probably the greatest cause of resentment on both sides.
Now, the Iraqis are actually taking control of their country. There is always something inspiring when you see someone do something that they did not believe that they could do before. Their sense of pride in their accomplishments can be overblown, but it is always better than waiting passively for someone else to change their lives. We are witnessing this change, but we should be aware that we are on a timetable to get the job done.
In the Fall elections, I fully believe that the Democrats will retake one or possible both houses of Congress. Should that happen, I don't doubt that their first order of business will be to terminate our involvement in Iraq. If the Iraqis are not stable enough, this could be a disaster for the Iraqis and us. I do think that the Iraqis are making remarkable progress though, and even if we are prematurely pulled out, give them a 50-50 chance of making a go of it.
We will have to wait and see.