The Washington Post has a story today, on page 14, about the results from nineteen focus groups—conducted for the U.S. military—that were held throughout Iraq last month. According to a military analysis of the results, there is good news: Iraqis from every sectarian and ethnic group share many beliefs in common.
And what are those beliefs?
According to the summary report obtained by the Post, “virtually all Iraqis” believe that the U.S. invasion is primarily responsible for the sectarian violence in Iraq, and that the departure of the U.S. military is the key to national reconciliation.
In other words: Yankee go home!
The web version of the article doesn’t include a sidebar that contains a number of additional beliefs shared by virtually all Iraqis, so I’ll list them here:
- Until the March 2003 “U.S. occupation,” Sunnis and Shiites coexisted peacefully.
- The discord of the past five years has been brought on entirely by entities outside of Iraq—the United States and neighboring countries—and not by Iraqis themselves.
- Insurgent groups operating inside Iraq are creating chaos to further their own political or religious agendas (many are thought to be controlled by neighboring countries—predominantly Iran, Syria, and Turkey) and must be stopped.
- Before national reconciliation can occur, all displaced war refugees must return home and be compensated for the loss of their homes or other property.
- War criminals, terrorists, those who supported terrorists and those who killed “fellow Muslims” since 2003 must be brought to justice.
- Dividing Iraq into three states would hinder national reconciliation. (Only the Kurds did not reject this option.)
- After the United States leaves Iraq, national reconciliation will happen “naturally.”
- A future unity government in Iraq would be nonsectarian, secular, based strictly on the rule of law and accountable to all Iraqis. Few Iraqis use the word “democracy.”