As the civil war rages on, my mind turns more and more to thoughts of Iraq. Of late, I've taken more of an interest in educating myself about the conflict.

I pride myself on having opposed the invasion and occupation from the beginning, not from some sense of political expediency, but for moral reasons. As is well known by any student of history or veteran of combat--and of course the Bush administration has a dearth of both--war is hell and should be avoided when at all possible. Death, destruction, and suffering on a massive scale are all but guaranteed in war; if we resort to it, we'd better do so for a damn good reason and in a way that minimizes its negative results.

Two recent articles, one from the NY Review of Books and the other from the Boston Review, are excellent resources for understanding the current situation and its development. They complement each other quite nicely, since the former shows the massive ineptitude in managing the occupation from the US side, while the latter is an excellent account of what Iraqis have experienced in the transition from standing united against the American occupation to pandemic sectarian strife.

Both are quite long, but well worth the time spent. It's sad that there's so little that we as individuals can do to end this thing; it seems like the only person who has the power to do so (at least in terms of US involvement) wouldn't change his mind even if Jesus Christ himself descended from the heavens and slapped him upside the head.

Nevertheless, one thing we can do as citizens is inform ourselves and try to learn how we got into this mess. This is especially important since a number of those still in power want to go for the threepeat of failed US interventions in the middle east by targeting Iran. We must do everything in our power to prevent such recklessness--what better way to start than through knowledge?

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