Saturday, December 29, 2007

Good Walls Make Good Neighbors

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Baghdad's wall-building surge makes reconciliation less likely
By Rosa Brooks
Article Launched: 12/28/2007 01:38:19 AM PST

From Baghdad to Tall Afar, our military has been busily constructing walls between and around Iraqi neighborhoods. In Baghdad, 12-foot-high walls now separate Sunni and Shiite communities. Broken by narrow checkpoints, the walls turn Baghdad into dozens of replica "green zones," dividing neighbor from neighbor and choking off normal commerce and communications.

The military isn't building walls as a training exercise, of course. The walls are meant to make it harder for militias, insurgents and death squads to coordinate and reach their intended victims. With enough troops and enough concrete, the theory goes, you can keep the bad guys from operating effectively and gradually reduce the sectarian violence that has been tearing Iraq apart.

So far, it looks as if the wall-building strategy is paying dividends. Civilian deaths in Iraq are down significantly. And although 2007 has been the deadliest year of the war for U.S. troops, attacks on them have dropped sharply in recent months. After so many years of escalating violence, it's almost eeri

This is a form of ethnic cleansing and, as the article points out, effectively separates Sunni's and Shia so it's harder for them to kill each other. Is this the face of success in Iraq, or just a temporary solution? What happens when we draw down our forces? These are questions war supporters don't want asked and surely don't want to answer. Republicans are playing a tragic and desperate game of willful ignorance to the reality that is Iraq. They have staked there parties future on achieving "victory" in Iraq and are using America's blood and treasure to feed their great neocon experiment in nation building. They can't rationally explain what "victory" even looks like. It's a day by day kicking the can down the road for a democratic President to have to take the steps necessary to extricate ourselves from a 1400 year civil war. What kind of victory has the capital city of Iraq partioned with 12 foot high walls so it's residents won't kill each other en masse. I hope and believe the American people see through this cynical charade. We will see, come November 2008.

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