Monday, January 02, 2012

Leslie Gelb's misdiagnosis

War Cheerleader Leslie Gelb is back with another ahistorical column in which he hears Iraq sneeze and diagnoses cancer. "How To Save Iraq" brags the headline of Gelb's column, no doubt reminding many of how Leslie's last attempt to 'save' Iraq was to cheerlead the impending illegal war.

He wants to insist, "Today federalism remains Iraq's only hope for peace." Really? Only?

There's nothing else in a wealth of choices that could provide peace. Just that. Just federalism. There's only one true path? Is this a political solution or a religion?

Gelb's so focused on selling federalism that he's not too worried about how he comes off. For example, he writes, "Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds have been at each other's throats for centuries." He doesn't see how insulting and, yes, xenophobic that sounds?

Apparently so.

And Iraq's problems is not that Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds cannot get along. The problem is that the US installed Shi'ite exiles into leadership. While some of the exiles have managed to let go of their baggage, others have nothing else to hold onto.

That's the problem. Iraq's a young country population wise. War has seen to that. The US as a common enemy could bind the country closer. But not as long as exiles like Nouri, still nursing some grievence from the seventies, are in charge.

Saddam Hussein is dead. He's been toppled and executed. You'd think the Nouris would finally be happy. What they were always too chicken s**t today they got the United States to do and, on top of that, they were allowed to cut in front of Iraqis who actually remained in the country and become leaders.

But like the angry spoiled children the Nouris are, nothing pleases them. And they nurse their hatred and stroke it and wallow in it. That's the problem today, not the Iraqi people or an inability for groups of people to get along.

Typical Leslie Gelb, he'd rather blame the people than the leaders. He's been a suck up all of his life, it's not going to change now.

Meanwhile AFP reports the Iraq Body Count says approximately 162,000 Iraqis were killed in the war. You can read IBC's report in full here. A Lancet study found over a million dead several years ago and Iraq Body Count has come under criticism for undercounting the dead. It is also true that, unlike Reuters, AP, et al, they actually keep track of reported deaths and don't just blindly repeat the 'official' figures from the Iraqi government (figures that have been wrong month after month -- the government undercounts the dead). Worst reaction to the results thus far? Eric Engleman (Bloomberg News) uses it to insist that "more than 114,000 civilians have died" -- they just can't handle big numbers, they will always undercount the dead.

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