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The Therapy Sessions
Friday, March 26, 2004

The second phase

In city seen as Iraqi success, extremists rise

BASRA, Iraq - Given the choice, Rana al-Asadi wouldn't wear a head scarf. But a few weeks ago, the 22-year-old English major at Basra University decided she didn't have that choice anymore.

Menacing groups of men have been stopping cars at the university gates and haranguing women whose heads are uncovered, accusing them of violating Islamic law. Male students have accosted them as they walked to class. As Asadi spoke to a reporter in a courtyard, a scruffy-looking man handed out flyers that likened uncovered women to prostitutes and murderers.

"I fear them," she said simply.

The Inquirer is starting the next phase of anti-Iraq war campaign.

So far this is play-by-play since last year.

Early March, 2003: Iraq is going to a bloodbath, with hundreds of thousands dead civilians and possibly ten thousand dead Americans! The Iraqis will fight us tooth and nail!Saddam Hussein will attack Americans and his own people with his chemical weapons!

Late April, 2003: After a quick and relatively antiseptic war, the US will be unable to keep a lid on Iraqi chaos! Iraqis are gald to have Saddam, but they are eager to fight Americans!

Late Summer, 2003: Iraq looks more stable, but the US faces a long war of attrition that will eventually force it to admit it needs the UN to stablize things!

Early winter, 2003: It's another Vietnam! We are backing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi police who helping us stabilize things, but they are hated by their countrymen!

January, 2004: OK, the US is beating the insurgency and the Iraqi police are taking care of crime, but American dreams of democracy for Iraq will turn the situation into a civil war that the US cannot control! The Iraqi people may not want us to leave, but the insurgency will intimidate them into hating the US!

Current: OK, Iraq looks like its on the way to a stable, sovereign, democratic Iraqi government. It looks like the Iraqis think the war was worth it, and they want America to stay until a good government is in place. But these people will never have a real democracy! They are lost in the Middle Ages and they treat their women badly! (This from a country that, for the majority of its existence, didn't even give women the right to vote. Iraqi women will have that right, by the way).

As everyone knows, the editors of the Philadelphia Inquirer are brilliant.

And the Bush Administration is a bunch of fools who can't comprehend the complexities of international relations.

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