I thought I would take a moment to talk about a theme in my recent articles--that theme being that the acts of terror are not representative of the general sentiment in Iraq. For those who do not know me or my work, it might be good to know up front that I am not, nor have I ever been mistaken for, Little Mary Sunshine. Caustic and ascerbic are terms that friends have used to describe my literary inclinations. And whether I live up to those descriptives, my articles are generally aimed to shedding light and casting scorn on the failings of a theory or a candidate.
Why then, you may ask, the optimistic perspective in articles covering horrific acts? The answer is that it is something which has been foisted upon me by the people here. The Iraqis literally will seek you out to tell their stories, and they tell stories of hope for the future and rejection of the tyranny of the past. The soldiers, while at times more reluctant to talk to reporters, will tell you their stories, and they tell stories which reveal character and resolve. On some of the worst days in Iraq, I have been privy to some the best of humanity.
Why then, do other reporters not say the same? Here I can only speculate, but I think there are likely many reasons. First, I am fairly sure that some simply do not want to see it. I have written about this before, so I will not belabor the point. But for others, I think they do not report the good because it is difficult. It is difficult to recognize the good when you are in an area that is not safe, or when the events of the day show you the worst that human nature has to offer. It is easier then to side with the taxi drivers who decry that "Baghdad is lost" every time there is a street closing.
So for those of you who were worrying that I have lost my cynical edge--don’t fear, it is still there. It is just that the Iraqis and the men and women in uniform will not allow me to indulge it.