Something Is Rotten in the State of Iraq

Sunni vs. Shia. Kurd vs. Arab. Nationalist vs. Islamist. Iraq circa 2011 is looking an awful lot like Iraq circa 2004. The country is headed back to the anarchic depths from which it ever-so-briefly emerged.

Issue: Sept-Oct 2011

WHEN I think of Iraq, I think of fire. First there is the obvious. With summer, the country becomes an inferno. The heat muscles its way past doors and windows, scoffs at fans, overpowers air conditioners and beats everyone senseless.

Then there is the fire inside. Most Iraqis seem sleepy on first impression. They amble around sluggishly, leaden from the heat. But just mention politics, and suddenly they come to life. For Iraqis, politics is a blood sport played in a white-hot furnace. There are no half-held opinions. Every opponent is a lethal conspirator. Every conspiracy, a lethal threat. Every threat must be met with total force.

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