Monday, November 22, 2004

BEYOND FALLUJAH: Arthur Chrenkoff's 15th roundup of the good news coming from Iraq:
In the fortnight that saw the massive assault by American and Iraqi troops on Fallujah, the flare-up of violence elsewhere in the Sunni Triangle and the murder of Margaret Hassan by her kidnappers, not to mention the controversy over a Marine shooting dead a wounded insurgent, it's hard to believe that anything positive might have also been happening in Iraq.

Yet neither Fallujah nor the Sunni Triangle is the whole of Iraq, just as violence and bloodshed are not the whole story of Iraq. Lt. Col. Victor Zillmer of Lindale, Texas, recently volunteered to return to Iraq as the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Baghdad. His impressions of the country today seems to be shared by many in Iraq outside the media:

As I expected, it was not a total war zone with massive explosions and burning vehicles everywhere as commonly portrayed in the press. It was typical Baghdad, only the traffic was even worse. The economy must be doing much better over here, for the streets are jammed with cars of every description, with many of them newer and better condition than when I left in May. As compared to 18 months ago when I first arrived, the traffic has increased a hundredfold.

As the old joke goes, sometimes a cigar is just cigar. In Iraq, contrary to the impression one can often get from watching the news, for most part a car is just car, not a car bomb, and, as Col. Zillmer says, there are a lot of them driving around. Here are some stories of Iraqis trying, often under difficult circumstance and against great odds, to make the journey toward a better and more normal life.
Once again, it's worth every minute you'll spend reading that.