Glimmer in the Rubble

It doesn't seem possible there's any good news from Iraq, especially if you watch the news.

I haven't been to Iraq, so I'm not as schooled in the nuance of life and politics there, but I could swear I detected what seemed to me to be one shiny nugget in the rubble Monday.

It was an Associated Press story in which firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr lashed out at the enemy of the Iraqi people. And for once it wasn't the Untied States.

In the aftermath of a car bombing that killed and maimed so many innocent people that it actually qualified as news again, al-Sadr pointed a finger of blame at — get this — Al Qaeda.

As The Associated Press put it, al-Sadr sought to blunt rage against Iraq's minority Sunni Muslim community to prevent civil war, and he called for calm.

This falls in line with stories I've been noticing for a few weeks that Iraqis have begun to go after the so-called foreign fighters living in their midst.

I've also noticed stories in the papers of 20, sometimes 30 bodies turning up with hands cuffed behind the back and one bullet in the back of the head.

One hopes this is evidence that someone, presumably Iraqis, is going after the foreigners who are hiding in their midst and causing trouble.

It could be evidence of sectarian reprisals, but one lives in hope. Better it were the Al Qaedas.

There is still the tiresome news of a stalemate politically among the Iraqi Shia and the Iraqi Sunnis and the Kurds, mostly on the sidelines. We certainly do hope these guys get it together and learn to play parliament together.

But if firebrand clerics get it that Al Qaeda is bad for the neighborhood, it shows that not all of Iraq's problems are Bush's fault and even the Iraqis think so. Some of the bad things are clearly Al Qaeda's fault, and Mr. al-Sadr has at long last said so publicly.

I realize it's not a lot, but it is a glimmer in the rubble. And you have to take those where you can find them.

That's My Word.

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