I imagine I’m
no different from the average Crikey reader. I was, until I arrived in
Iraq a month ago, of the view the U.S should pull its head in and get
out. That was before I moved into Kurdistan, one of “three Iraqs” of
which the locals speak. It’s easy to forget that it’s not (always)
Americans doing the killing.

The violence is almost entirely
between two factions, the Sunni and the Shia. The division is
essentially religious. It is patently obvious that the removal of
Saddam has created a power vacuum and anger to fill it. So while the US
has doubtless committed atrocities, an essentially “good” thing has
precipitated an essentially “bad” thing. The US should therefore not
be condemned for their activities but instead for not seeing the mess
coming. It was brave, stupid and utterly necessary – somehow in equal
measures.

Talking to Kurds in the street suggests to me that
no-one, not a soul, is the slightest bit surprised. But, even the
Kurds, for whom the Americans, first in 1991 and then again in 2003
represented “liberators”, are quickly getting a gutful. The trouble is
getting worse. More dead, more angry, more indiscriminate, more North,
East, South and West.

From Basra to Kirkuk the place remains a mess
with no end in sight. If they go, the situation will likely escalate
without the Global Yard Duty Monitors lurking around. If they stay, it
will likely escalate with their presence. The ultimate no-win situation.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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