January 17, 2005

Sadr City of all places...

Arthur Chrenkoff's latest round-up of good news from Iraq is up, and as always is a useful counterbalance to the pro-terrorist press. (And, as always, he emphasizes that he is not denying that there are problems and violence in Iraq. Just giving us the part of the news that you won't see on TV.

One tidbit really surprised me:

...Now a U.S. officer, Brig. Gen. Jeffery Hammond of the 1st Cavalry Division, says Sadr City is the safest place in or around Baghdad...[link].

Astonishing! Sadr City, violent and impoverished home of Al Sadr's rebellion.

...About 18,000 people have reconstruction jobs, he says, earning about $6 a day. "Sadr City is what the future of Iraq can look like," he says.Those who were once taking up arms are now talking democracy.

"Before, the men were buying black cloth for their (martyrs') banners. Now for the election, we are buying white cloths" for posters, says candidate Fatah al-Sheikh.

Al-Sheikh, 37, rounds up a camera crew and a couple of reporters and heads out for a bit of campaigning. He presses the flesh — both cheeks and hands — and points to the failings of the current, American-backed administration, including high fuel prices and frequent power outages. "This is what will bring the people to vote for us," he says, pointing to trash and sewage along al-Falah Street, a main drag. "This kind of collapse of the services will make the people vote for us and not for the government."...

I'd say that's an answer to the people who claim that democracy is a long-term project that will do nothing right now to combat terrorism. Iraqi democracy is likely to be very flawed in the short run, but will still be a powerfully transformative, drawing people's energy into lawful contests...

Posted by John Weidner at January 17, 2005 9:36 AM
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