THIS DOESN'T SOUND GOOD. Noah Shachtman of Danger Room has recently visited Iraq, and will be blogging in stages about his experiences there. In the course of a post on IED countermeasures, he mentioned the following:
Sunni political and tribal leaders are increasingly throwing in their lot with U.S. forces here against Al-Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent types. But, to get them to come over to our side, the American military has fed them a steady diet of anti-Shi'ite propaganda.
Arrests and killings of Shi’ite militants are announced from loudspeaker blasts; President Bush’s bellicose rhetoric towards Shi’a Iran is reported on friendly radio programs. But the majority of this country is Shi’ite. Are we setting ourselves up as the enemies of the majority here? Are we priming the pump for an all-in sectarian battle royale? It seems like a possibility.
Huh. That doesn't sound good; in fact, it sounds really, really bad. I've written before about how the Anbar alliance amounts to anti-state building, but I hadn't realized that the efforts to support and legitimize groups hostile to the central government was accompanied by an effort to make them even more hostile. In return for a brief truce and some talking points for Republican candidates, we're laying the groundwork for an even more devastating civil war than we could already have expected.