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Friday, August 24, 2007


Everyone should reflect about displacement. In other words, we should think frequently and honestly about what it would feel like to be forced out of a familiar home environment and forced into a survival situation which is alien, chaotic, defective and frightening.

Photo: Marko Georgiev for The New York Times

How many Iraqis have been driven out of their neighborhoods and homes since the United States invaded Iraq and completely destabilized the country through stupid incompetence? Many hundreds of thousands. Since the latest US military "surge" began in February 2007 the number of "internally displaced" Iraqis has approximately doubled. It is far too easy, when thinking about this awful fact, to relapse into some kind of strategic bird's-eye view: "Well, that will probably make partition of Iraq more likely" or some similar Olympian hogwash.

Let's keep it simple: how would you react if you and your family were told to leave your home quickly and also told in no uncertain terms that if you stayed or came back you would be shot on sight? Enough to get you mad? Enough to go looking for somebody to blame? What kind of sleep would you be getting at night? What do you tell your kids?

Photo: Marko Georgiev for The New York Times

I imagine that this is an anguish that could make ordinary, normal people insane. And cause them to strike out at their opponents - real and imagined - with murderous rage. This is what we are accomplishing in Iraq.

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