This morning, New York Times columnist David Brooks joined a small chorus including Washington Post columnists Charles Krauthammer and Jackson Diehl, and Michael O’Hanlon in giving up on listening to what Iraqis think. Instead, Brooks wrote that the U.S. mission in Iraq is to partition Iraq:
What we’re really trying to build, in other words, is a road to partition. We’re trying to build a pathway to separation that involves the sort of low-intensity civil war that Iraq is enduring right now. We’re trying to prevent a pathway that is even worse — a high-intensity genocide.
This week’s ABC News/BBC/NHK survey of 2,000 Iraqis found the following:
Nearly every Iraqi — a whopping 98 percent — said the separation of people on sectarian lines is a bad thing for Iraq;
A majority of Iraqis — 62 percent — support one unified Iraq with a central government in Baghdad. Even though this figure has declined 8 points since 2005, overall support for a unified Iraq remains strong.
The surge of U.S. troops has seen the number of Iraqis pushed out of their homes double. As widespread sectarian cleansing in Baghdad occurs in the presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops, extremist gangs and militias may push the silent majority of Iraqis closer to some partition scenario. But that doesn’t mean Americans should support the agendas shared by those Iraqi extremists who are murdering others in Iraq’s civil war.
This raises another tough question more Americans should ask: Is publicly advocating partition actually encouraging Iraqis who are conducting sectarian cleansing to accelerate their vicious campaigns?