After 9/11 and before the invasion of Iraq, I had the opportunity to talk to several Muslim convenience store owners in Fresno and Madera, owners I had the privilege of knowing and working with for several years.
In our conversations regarding the imminent invasion, they explained to me the consequence of this action: Iraq would fall into an all-out civil war as a result of sectarian and other differences between the Kurds, Shiite and Sunni populations. They explained how Saddam Hussein and previous Iraqi dictators had managed to viciously, and necessarily, control Iraq, a country that otherwise would be in chaos. Under Saddam's rule, although ruthless, the factions managed to live together in relative peace, integrate into each others' neighborhoods and even intermarry.
To bad President Bush did not have the opportunity to talk to Fresno Muslims and listen to their assessment; then again, that would not have worked. He wouldn't and still doesn't listen to and value the opinions and knowledge of anyone who does not agree with him, anyone with common sense, reason and a perspective on history.
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