By Chris | November 24, 2007
I haven’t blogged for the last few days because I was out of state visiting relatives for Thanksgiving. While there, I read this Newsweek story by Rod Nordland on the improving situation in Iraq:
The capital’s neighborhoods have calmed in large measure because each is now dominated by one sect or another, with tens of thousands of U.S. troops temporarily holding them together (or keeping them apart, as the case may be). “We cannot sustain the surge,” says Miska—and once we go, the two sides could well turn on each other with renewed fury.
Meanwhile, though, I can contemplate activities that were once unthinkable: like going out to dinner. Baghdad’s famous mazghouf restaurants, selling barbecued river carp on the banks of the Tigris, have come back to life. At one of them, called the Karrada Sports Club, owner Mundar al Haidar recently checked the big circular pools of live carp, and watched as his workers splayed the fish on staves to grill them over a bonfire made of lemontree wood. They were preparing for the evening rush, when these days the restaurant fills to capacity. “You go out now and you feel safe,” he says. “The only explosions are far away. I myself left here at midnight last night.” Haidar even invited me to lunch at his home, something both of us would have considered foolhardy, even suicidal, only last summer. If insurgents didn’t kill me before I left, they would have killed him after.
I am amazed at the ability of local entrepreneurs to thrive in the calm amidst the storm of instability. While I don’t pretend to understand the complexities of the situation in Iraq, Ron Paul’s proposal to leave Iraq immediately has a higher opportunity cost now that thing have improved in Iraq.