Iraqi Insurgency Versus the Al Aqsa Intifada
Jim Henley observes that, “during the Al Aqsa Intifada in 2002-2003, there were bombings from every few days to a couple of times a month. I don’t recall the ‘good news’ crowd urging us not to overemphasize the violence then, even though surely there were new-painted schools somewhere in Israel and people went to work every day.” He correctly notes that, “the fact of urban guerrilla war across ethnic and sectarian lines, with frequent attacks on civilians, was what mattered at that time, not the fact that ‘life went on.’”
No argument there. Obviously, the murder of dozens of people a week deserves coverage and speaks volumes about what’s going on in Iraq.
Here’s the difference, though: During the Al Aqsa Intifada, few serious people were arguing that Israel was in a civil war, that it had been a mistake for Truman to recognize Israel, or that the experiment with democracy in Israel had failed. (Except me. But I was kidding.) We argue for perspective now because it is sorely needed.
None of that is to say, I hasten to add, that the current Iraqi government is as stable as the Israeli government was then or that the long term success of Iraqi democracy is as likely now as Israel’s was then. That’s decidedly not the case. But constant talk of defeat can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.