Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What's going on in Iraq?

Here is another topic with political implications, but it's important enough as a problem of historical analysis that I bring it up anyway.

I remember the cheerleaders for the Vietnam War clearly enough that today's "optimists" -- if indeed there are any left -- get no credit with me. Yet one does wonder, if the casualty rate is so high in Iraq and the disorder so severe as is reported by credible sources, why the place hasn't completely collapsed? How can people live?

In today's TomDispatch, Michael Schwartz, a sociologist expert in global studies presents a picture that makes sense to me. He calls it "Seven Facts You Might Not Know About the Iraq War." Students in my History of Islamic Civilization course might consider comparing the realities that unfold between now and April to the analysis that Schwartz puts forward.

The ambitious might consider comparing Iraq's situation with Lebanon's since civil war broke out there in the 1970s.


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