Friends and Coups

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Nadezhda suggests an oft-neglected point in this post, which I’m taking slightly out of context. Right now, in Iraq at least, the operating assumption is that the Sunnis are our bitter foes, and Salafist groups like al-Qaeda pose an existential threat to the United States, while the Shiites are our friends and natural allies. That may turn out to be true: the Shiites could indeed spearhead a “reformist” element within Islam. On the other hand, no one can predict the future, and ten years down the line, it could be Shiites—perhaps backed by, oh I don’t know, Iran and our erstewhile allies in Iraq—that are attacking U.S. interests, the Sunnis our natural allies, and the CIA could be kicking itself for arming and training Shiite militias in Iraq. Who knows? It’s one of the reasons why arming one group to fight another always seems like a short-sighted and potentially disastrous idea. And that’s exactly why the neoconservatives opposed that sort of strategy. But then engaged in it anyway. Oh, whatever.

On a slightly different note, the Times is carrying this story about a Shiite coup in Baghdad today—SCIRI, one of the Shiite parties running the new government, ousted the mayor and installed one of its own militiamen. It’s a situation in which it’s hard to claim that the ousted mayor, installed as he was by coalition forces, somehow has more legitimacy than the thugs who ousted him; but, on the other hand, no one wants this sort of thing to become a regular feature of life in Iraq. On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that U.S. intervention in the matter would prove none too popular.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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