Opinion Leaders Turn Cautious, Public Looks Homeward
: Pew poll reveals long term trends. Most striking: " Fully 42% of Americans say the United States should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own." This is on par with the percentage expressing that view during the mid-1970s, following the Vietnam War, and in the 1990s after the Cold War ended. " Note the least isolation occured after the Iran hostage crisis in 1979 and 9/11. Many other interesting findings, e.g. "Pluralities in every group of influentials as well as the public attribute the fact that there has not been a terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11 to luck. Just a third of the public and no more than a third in any elite group says it is because the government has done a good job in protecting the country." 5:00:15 PM
Shattering Iraq: Review of civil war histories related to Iraq. "By just about every meaningful standard that can be applied -- the reference points of history, the research criteria of political science, the contemporaneous reporting of on-the-ground observers, the grim roll of civilian and combatant casualties -- Iraq is now well into the bloody sequence of civil war. Dispense with the tentative locution "on the verge of." An active, if not full-boil, civil war is already a reality."
A Council on Foreign Relations report adds evidence that the Iraqi national army is not really national: "There is a growing chorus of complaints from Sunni Arab leaders that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) has been infiltrated by Shiite militias that engage in torture, kidnappings, and, in some cases, deaths squads against Sunnis. .. The ISF is not a true national force but rather a carved-up conglomeration of militias, says Kenneth Katzman, senior Middle East analyst with the Congressional Research Service."
Also from Peter Galbraith, who welcomes the consitution's minimal central state in What Are We Holding Together?: "There is no reason to mourn the passing of the unified Iraqi state. For Iraq's 80-year history, Sunni Arab dictators held the country together -- and kept themselves in power -- with brutal force that culminated in Hussein's genocide against the Kurds and mass killings of Shiites. As a moral matter, Iraq's Kurds are no less entitled to independence than are Lithuanians, Croatians or Palestinians. And if Iraq's Shiites want to run their own affairs, or even have their own state, on what democratic principle should they be denied? If the price of a unified Iraq is another dictatorship, it is too high a price to pay." 4:52:19 PM