Frank Smyth is a freelance journalist who has written on Iraq for The Economist, Jane's Intelligence Review, and The Washington Post. In 1998 and 1999, he debated U.S.-Iraqi policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Three years ago, the influential journal Foreign Affairs published an article on Iraq entitled "The Rollback Fantasy." It was a typically long and sober piece, challenging the thinking of those who were arguing for a United States role in toppling Iraq's ruler, Saddam Hussein. But unfortunately, the article contained its own odd piece of fantasy: In referring to "Iraq's Sunni majority," it managed to get one of the most basic pieces of demographic information about Iraq exactly backward. There is no Sunni majority. In proclaiming that the United States should back this alleged majority in a post-Saddam Iraq, while opposing either "Kurdish or Shiite bids for hegemony over the Sunnis," the magazine garbled its analysis.