Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The NY Times Editorial Board Instructs Iraq's Politicians

My goodness, it's so simple, according to the NYT editorial: Iraq's Shii politicians must make sure that Iraq's new government will be inclusive, with proper Sunni representation - and the Kurds must hold off on endorsing Nuri al-Maliki and use their "clout" to ensure the emergence of the afore-mentioned inclusive government.  Meanwhile, the US must press all sides to make a deal.

Is this the Rodney King school of editorializing?  As in, "Why can't we all just get along together?"

In a perfect world, peopled with love-filled, selfless, angelic beings, such an injunction might be all it would take.  But the Times does its readers a disservice by offering only the most succinct of hints about the long history of mistrust and violence that has created the fault lines within Iraqi society and politics.  At times throughout that history (including, ironically, the early years of the government dominated by the now much-reviled Baath party), those fault lines could be scabbed over.  But consistently during that history, it has also taken very little picking at that scab to reopen the wounds.

The NYT's stance here is one that I've seen consistently among my many provincially American students over the years: why can't those people just get along?  If Americans can do it (well, at least after 1865 - a date the significance of which deplorably few Americans, especially young ones, understand anymore), why can't everybody?

Nice sentiments, NYT.  But don't make it sound so simple.

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