Christopher Hitchens at Slate:
A few weeks ago, in Britain's Prospect magazine, the paper's foreign editor, Bartle Bull, published a bold essay saying that the high tide of violence in Iraq was essentially behind us and that the ebb had disclosed some interesting things.Hitchens goes on to provide more of “this story” before he ends with:
First, the Iraqi people as a whole had looked into the abyss of civil war and had drawn back from the brink.
Second, the majority of Sunni Arabs had realized that their involvement with al-Qaida forces was not a patriotic "insurgency" but was instead a horrific mistake and had exposed their society to the most sadistic and degraded element in the entire Muslim world.
Third, the Shiite militias had also come to appreciate that they had overplayed their hand. There remained, according to Bull, an appalling level of criminal and antisocial violence, but essentially Iraq was agreed on a rough new dispensation whereby ethnic and social compromise would determine events and where subversive outside interference would not be welcomed.
I read the article and admired its nerve, but I didn't really choose to believe it. It didn't appear to me that things had yet bottomed out, and it didn't seem believable that the essential sectarianism of the Maliki regime, illustrated so graphically by its crude execution of Saddam Hussein, could be explained away.
Worst of all, the exodus of so many secular or qualified or educated Iraqis (perhaps as many as 2.5 million exiles living in Syria or Jordan or farther away) seemed to threaten a long period of social and cultural decline, a sort of Road Warrior situation in which only the parties of God would benefit.
Keeping all this in mind, it nonetheless does begin to look as if Iraqis may in fact have started to recover command over their own destiny, and also as if America may have helped them to do so. The surge is only a part of this story.
As I began by saying, I am not at all certain that any of this apparently good news is really genuine or will be really lasting.I have the same worry as Hitchens about the Democrats. What about you?
However, I am quite sure both that it could be true and that it would be wonderful if it were to be true.
What worries me about the reaction of liberals and Democrats is not the skepticism, which is pardonable, but the dank and sinister impression they give that the worse the tidings, the better they would be pleased. The latter mentality isn't pardonable and ought not to be pardoned, either.
I also agree with Hitchens about what ought not to be pardoned.
I hope you read Hitchens’ entire article which includes a link to Bartle Bull’s Prospect essay.
Hitchens and Bull have each produced "don't miss" articles.
Hitchens’ article is titled: "Something To Give Thanks For"
If things get better in Iraq, all decent Americans will give thanks.