12:25 PM, Nov 30, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Noah Shachtman has some good follow-up at the Danger Room to his latest piece on Iraq for Wired. I noted the piece earlier this week, particularly the efforts of one Sergeant Joe Colabuno and his psy-ops campaign in Fallujah. Here's some of what Shachtman writes today, picking up on a problem he first noted when he got back from Iraq--or at least what he believes is a problem:
Shachtman worries, "How can the U.S. encourage country-wide reconciliation -- while riding a wave of sectarian hate?" Fair enough, but as I noted the first time Shachtman brought this up, in the words of Billy Joel, 'we didn't start the fire.' "Sectarian hate" predated the American invasion of Iraq, and we'd be foolish not to exploit it, when possible, to further our own ends. This is how empires effectively managed unruly provinces for centuries. Noah's not all wrong, it's certainly a dangerous game. But it seems that the strategy, for now, is showing obvious signs of success. Down the road it may cause problems, but back in January, everyone expected down the road to be all out civil war--so this seems like a good problem to have.