Sunday, October 17, 2004

Academics flee Iraq

The AP's Omar Sinen penneed this cheerful piece about the breakdown of law and order in Iraq.

Selected quote:

``Assassins are targeting Iraqi university professors in a coordinated, liquidation process to force well-known scholars to leave the country and thus hinder the country's reconstruction,'' said Issam al-Rawi, a geologist at Baghdad University and head of the Association of University Lecturers.

Mohammed Abdullah, Baghdad University's slain dean, was shot in the forehead at his clinic by a person pretending to be ill. The former Baathist had been held in high regard as a doctor.

``Why did they kill him? He was loved by all the people around him,'' said his brother, Alaa Abdullah.

Speculation about who's behind the attacks is wide ranging, with some even blaming the United States and Israel, while others say neighboring countries like Kuwait and Iran desire a weak Iraq, sapped of its brain power.

Americans are frequently blamed for violence clearly carried out by insurgents and others on the theory that the current lawlessness has resulted only because the United States invaded and occupied the country.

Like Iraqis from all walks of life, academics are also taken hostage by ransom-seeking criminal gangs.

I'm not a pacifist. Sometimes force is the only appropriate response in my opinion. But I've studied war enough to realize that wars have many unintended consequences.

That is why I feel the best policy is that war should be employed only when absolutely unavoidable.

I am not persuaded that Bush did everything he could to prevent the invasion of Iraq. I am persuaded by Richard Clarke's account in Against All Enemies that Bush came into office intending to invade Iraq.

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