Monday, December 11, 2006

"Their attachment was ardent, their hatred invincible"

David Rothkopf, in the Washington Post, made an allusion this weekend to the Thirty Years War as a historical comparison for Iraq. James Baker, in recent interviews, has stated that the United States will be in the Middle East for some time.

In future history books, this war may be known as the Second Gulf War, or perhaps this period will be remembered as the era of The Gulf Wars. Just as today we look back on extended and episodic conflicts such as the Thirty Years' War or the Hundred Years' War, historians may regard today's clash as only another battle in a much longer war. U.S. actions in this Gulf war have dramatically increased the likelihood of future conflicts. We have inflamed tensions in the Middle East, undercut our regional influence and eroded the nation's political will to remain actively engaged in this critical part of the world.
Frederich Schiller:
It is only immediate advantages or immediate evils that set the people in action, and for these a sound policy cannot wait. Ill then would it have fared with these princes, if by good fortune another effectual motive had not offered itself, which roused the passions of the people, and kindled in them an enthusiasm which might be directed against the political danger, as having with it a common cause of alarm.

This motive was their avowed hatred of the religion which Austria protected, and their enthusiastic attachment to a doctrine which that House was endeavouring to extirpate by fire and sword. Their attachment was ardent, their hatred invincible. Religious fanaticism anticipates even the remotest dangers. Enthusiasm never calculates its sacrifices. What the most pressing danger of the state could not gain from the citizens, was effected by religious zeal.
Sudarsan Raghavan in today's Washington Post:
According to neighbors, "Wanted" refers to the former owner, who fled after crossing paths with the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia of firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The gunmen accused the owner of killing four of their own at a checkpoint. Then they took over his house.

To the door's left, the words: "This is vengeance for the other day."

Farouk, a Sunni Muslim, fears his home might be targeted next. In the past two months, Shiite militiamen have tightened their grip on his central Baghdad neighborhood of Tobji, purging dozens of Sunni families, by fear and by threats. His world has become even more precarious since a barrage of car bombs, mortar shells and missiles killed more than 200 on Nov. 23 in Sadr City, the Baghdad slum that is home to many of Sadr's loyalists.


Blogger Publia said...

I just don't think we can understand this whole thing. How can the mideast feature a religion of peace? It doesn't make sense.

What I found most troubling is that much Democrat rhetoric at election time mirrored precisely the mideast viewpoint. That is scary in light of the Mideast's extreme antisemitism, and the fact that Jewish voters seemed to buy the argument hook, line and sinker. Any thoughts on that?

2:19 PM  

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