Monday, December 12, 2005

A plausible summary of the state of Iraq

This feels plausible.
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Danger cannot dent Iraqi optimism

... So here, courtesy of the BBC poll, is a snapshot of Iraq today: a country whose people often seem close to civil war, yet feel overwhelmingly safe in their own neighbourhoods.

Iraqis are scathing about the performance of the American, British and other troops, yet believe it's too soon for them to leave.

People are so worried the country is falling apart that they want a strong government to take control, yet believe that in a few years' time things will be really good here.

These findings are only useful if you bear in mind how complex and varied Iraqi society is.

Often, when I write my online column about Iraq and try to explain about life in this country, someone will write in and say something like: 'My son is a soldier in Iraq and people there keep telling him what a wonderful job the US is doing', or alternatively: 'Iraqis just want to get rid of all foreign troops, period.'

Both things are true; it's just that different Iraqis are saying them. Unless you understand who they are - and why - it's impossible to make out what is happening in the country.

And in the meantime the one thing that everyone can agree with is that life is much more dangerous in Iraq than it was when our last opinion poll came out.

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