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Social & Political

Iraq: Sinkhole for U.S. history

<![CDATA[The news out of Iraq just gets better and better: U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Nears Record. It is astonishing that the Administration fails to see it is, as Tom Friedman put it in The New York Times yesterday, “losing a public relations war in the Muslim world to people sawing the heads off other […]

<![CDATA[The news out of Iraq just gets better and better: U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Nears Record.
It is astonishing that the Administration fails to see it is, as Tom Friedman put it in The New York Times yesterday, “losing a public relations war in the Muslim world to people sawing the heads off other Muslims.”
Meanwhile the Defense Department’s news service argues there is no controversy at all, saying “Iraq’s interim government is committed to holding free and fair elections … as planned on Jan. 30 [2005]” even though this is very much an open question based on the fact that the Sunni minority—and a minority’s concerns need to be respected in a democracy—are calling for a delay to ensure that the election includes all regions. Just because the Shi’ite majority says the elections must go on does not mean it is a settled issue. The Shi’ite religious leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, may agree with the timetable, but that actually raises concerns that the current timetable will be perceived as creating an advantage for some parties. It all comes back to the PR war for Muslim hearts and minds—no solution will satisfy everyone in Iraq, so insisting the Bush Administration’s timetable is the right answer only exacerbates the perception that someone is getting the short end of the stick.]]>