Day by Day

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Feeling Good About Iraq

You don't have to feel bad. You can feel good. You just have to hunt down the good stuff.

Not only was the war itself vastly less bloody and difficult than some predicted, but its aftermath has also been quieter. We were told by prewar prognosticators to expect a refugee flood, a food crisis, destruction of the oil fields, and public-health disasters. We were warned that Iraq's multifarious ethnic and religious groups would be at one another's throats. Environmental catastrophes, chemical poisonings, and dam breaks were predicted. It was said Turkey might occupy the north, that Israel could strike from the south, that the Arab "street" was likely to resist.

None of these things happened. Nor have other predicted troubles materialized. When 300,000 mourners gathered for the funeral of assassinated Shiite spiritual leader Bakr al Hakim, they didn't rampage, or call for vengeance against Sunnis, or lash out against the US authorities. They and their leaders showed the political maturity to let the official investigation into the leader's murder proceed.

Whatever the setbacks, we must remember that much of this war has been a case of the dog that didn't bark.
Progress exceeds prognostication in Iraq

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