"Some Iraqis recall having false identification papers to avoid persecution during Saddam’s rule, but the practice was rare until recently because the former regime kept tight control over its subjects.
"Under Saddam it used to be shameful, but now everybody’s doing it," the bookseller said.
A newspaper commentator mockingly suggested Iraqis should turn to the Bible instead of Islam to find names for their children.
"According to the present sectarian concepts, fathers should choose ‘neutral names’ such as Jesus, Adam, or Abraham that have nothing to do with the two sectarian camps," Sabah al-Lami wrote in the independent al-Mashriq newspaper."
Seattle Post Intelligencer
I think this is it. This weekend we crossed over a divide into territory where reprisal is its own reward and death is the automatic price of ancient group enmity in Iraq. It appears to me that random executions based on the mere PROBABILITY that a name indicates communal membership have now become the norm in "sectarian violence". Further reprisals will follow, amd then further reprisals and then further reprisals. It will go "all the way down" as Friedman said of the civil war in Lebanon. (That was before the world became flat) It is fortunate that we are not facing actual civil war in Iraq. (irony) We insisted in our vision of a "brave new world" to come in the Middle East that such outmoded distinctions as group identity would lose effectiveness and would quickly die out in a universal joy brought on by an abundance of individual rights. (you can almost hear the "Ode to Joy" in the background.
Now we are at the place in Iraq in which religion as philosophy and hope of salvation no longer matters. What matters now is religion as SECT, religion as GROUP identity. Iraq is going to bleed like a river and howl like a hyena, and it is our government’s fault.
In the midst of this emerging chaos we will have the US armed forces still dutifully trying to comprehend, still trying to do its duty, still agonizing over unspeakable crimes done by its children.
It will become increasingly hard to focus on that as we watch this Juggernaut role down the slope.
Who is going to pay for this folly? Who?