Friday, July 11, 2008

Good news from Iraq (honest!)

Fewer gunmen and bribes as Iraqi students take finals
By Sam Dagher
Wed Jul 9, 2008
Christian Science Monitor
BAGHDAD - A group of anxious-looking Iraqi mothers huddled behind concrete barriers and concertina wire in the shadow of two Iraqi police pickup trucks. In the distance, US military vehicles could be seen patrolling the neighborhood.
This was the scene Monday outside a school in Baghdad's Baiyaa neighborhood, where hundreds of Iraqi teenage girls took a chemistry exam as part of the standardized national exams for high school diplomas held this time each year. The exams, which started on June 26, will end on Wednesday.

Last year's tests were marred by unprecedented incidents of mass cheating, bribe-taking, and sheer lawlessness. In many places, militiamen and insurgents strolled casually into exam centers and forced officials, often at gunpoint, to allow cheating. But this year, aided by the fact that most Baghdad neighborhoods have been turned into walled compounds protected by US and Iraqi troops, authorities took often draconian measures to avoid a repetition of such scenes.

[emphasis added]

This does in fact seem to be a sign of progress.
High school students can take graduation exams without fear.

Could this happen next year without American troops present? I don't know.

This and similar stories present me with a dilemma.
Can the Iraqis achieve a stable, civil society without our presence?

On the other hand... what can we afford? Is this too crude, too primitive, a yardstick?

As stated previously, I wish all the best for ordinary Iraqi citizens.
I'm just not convinced I'm willing to pay for their reintegration at the expense of the U.S.
We're spending more than $100Bn/year on Iraq, and borrowing to pay for it.

Still... I believe disengaging from Iraq is the best of many none-too-wonderful alternatives, and that our continued presence both exacerbates the problem, and maintains the Iraqis in a dependent, subservient position.

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem."

No comments:

Post a Comment