OpinionJournal - Extra: "Meanwhile reconciliation, which will never be complete, is happening. We saw, with the huge success of the two 2005 elections and the week-long nationwide celebrations attending the soccer victory this July, that deep unities have survived the 35-year Baath nightmare. The Kurds and Shiites can be forgiven for not wanting to reward the Sunnis immediately for the destructive insurgency that followed those 35 years of apartheid and genocide.
But from the local level to the national, the huge majority of Iraqis are showing enormous tolerance. Federal money is being pumped into Anbar, and in Baghdad this year over 30 Sunni mosques have been reopened by the government, mostly in the mainly Shiite east of the city. Today the Mahdi Army and the Sunni tribes in the Death Triangle are negotiating a modus vivendi. Sheikh Fawaz al Gerba, a Sunni sheikh and former general, is doing the same around Mosul. And Shiekh Harith al Dari, as head of the Association of Islamic Scholars, the leading Sunni group, which many Iraqis used to call the Association of Islamic Kidnappers, is doing it with Shiites in various parts of the country.
The biggest unifier of all currently might be the most predictable one. Help from foreigners is welcome in Iraq. The country's elected prime minister, possessing after Iraq's heroic elections more popular legitimacy than almost almost any leader in the world, often points out that the Coalition is there as invited guests. When the U.S. Senate passed its disingenuous "plan" for extreme federalism in Iraq last week, the uproar in the country crossed the sectarian divide. Iraq already has a constitution. It was written by freely elected Iraqis and ratified overwhelmingly by the public in a brave vote two years ago.
Thousands of Americans and their allies have died helping to give Iraqis this opportunity. We have shown enormous skill and bravery in helping them fight their enemies, and immeasurable goodwill in sending our young men to protect Iraqi schools, mosques and polling booths. The reason we and Iraqis are winning this war together is that its purpose is to give Iraqis what they want."
1 hour ago