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Thursday, 19 February 2009

Salam Pax back in Baghdad? After two years away from his native soil, the famed Baghdad blogger finds life is returning to normal. We've been aware of this for some time. It's been a while since we've seen TV vision of weddings being bombed, or crowded marketplaces.

The recent appearance of the blogger (The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February) constitutes a signal that normality is within reach. But the pundits are silent. As Guantanamo returns to centre stage as a point of contention between the left intelligentsia and the US government, Baghdad's new-found peace is no longer deemed relevant. And it's a shame. Never let it be said that the US incursion had a beneficial effect!

Not that I'm an apologist for the incursion, far from it. Nevertheless, the decision to focus on organising a local constabulary and a local army seem, looking at the blogger's piece, to have been right on the money.

He used to carry two ID cards: one with a Sunni surname and one with a Shiite surname, in an effort to second-guess the men at roadblocks positioned around his native city. Now that a local army is manning these places, it's no longer necessary to fret in advance of stopping, trying to decide which ID to produce. Now all you need to do is remember not to talk on your mobile, since these devices can be used to trigger explosive devices.

Pax' bemusement and relief is palpable in the article published today. No more mass killings. Look! There's a family eating ice cream at 8pm! Amazing!

Two years of exile have turned the blogger who brought to us daily updates on a dire situation into an unwitting apologist for the US backed incursion: there's peace in them thar streets...

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