Monday, March 28, 2005

Spring Break and Iraq updates

Jon and I have been on our spring break for the past ten days. It was great to get away from classes and what always ends up being the monotony of our everyday lives. I spent a couple days in beautiful San Sebastian, came back to Barcelona for two days, and then spent the rest of Holy Week in Rome with friends from home. Really a joy to experience Easter in Rome.

A couple of stories I noticed recently. First, on Iraq, from Rich Lowry in NRO's The Corner and the Washington Times.

Lowry (this was from 17 March, but because Blogger was awfully slow for awhile two weeks ago, I couldn't link to it) posts the heavily-circulated email from Army 1st Calvary Division Major Gen. Peter Chiarelli's report upon his return to the States from Iraq. A couple of points that stood out to me:

"6. Said that not tending to a dead body in the Muslim culture never happens. On election day, after suicide bombers blew themselves up trying to take out polling places, voters would step up to the body lying there, spit on it, and move up in the line to vote.

"
7. Pointed out that we all heard from the media about the 100 Iraqis killed as they were lined up to enlist in the police and security service. What the media didn't point out was that the next day there 300 lined up in the same place.

"8. Said bin Laden and Zarqawi made a HUGE mistake when bin laden went public with naming Zarqawi the 'prince' of al Qaeda in Iraq. Said that what the Iraqis saw and heard was a Saudi telling a Jordanian that his job was to kill Iraqis. HUGE mistake. It was one of the biggest factors in getting Iraqis who were on the 'fence' to jump off on the side of the coalition and the new gov't.

"9. Said the MSM was making a big, and wrong, deal out of the religious sects. Said Iraqis are incredibly nationalistic. They are Iraqis first and then say they are Muslim but the Shi'a - Sunni thing is just not that big a deal to them."

Be sure to read all of it.

Rowan Scarborough, echoing Gen. Chiarelli's assessment, reports:

"In the privacy of their E-ring offices, senior Pentagon officials have begun to entertain thoughts that were unimaginable a year ago: Iraq is turning the corner.

"Military officials and analysts say the clearing out of enemy-infested Fallujah in November, the Jan. 30 elections and the increasing willingness of Iraqis to fight and die for a democratic country are contributing to the momentum."

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