Monday, July 30, 2007 at 10:06 AM

Instead of democracy, perhaps all Iraq needs is a good national soccer team…

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Sports have always been the continuation of politics by other means – as everyone from the ancient Greeks to Adolf Hitler (and even US President Jimmy Carter) demonstrated.

Therefore, instead of resorting to the Clausewitzian paradigm of using war to further his democratic agenda for the Middle East, perhaps US President George W Bush should have tried sports. And nothing dramatized this missed opportunity more than the way victory in a soccer match yesterday had Shias, Kurds and Sunnis all dancing in the streets – despite the ubiquitous danger of suicide bombings.

The victory of our Iraqi soccer team is a wonderful gift to Iraqis who have been suffering from the killing, car bombs, abductions and other violent acts. [Falah Ibrahim, a Shia]

Meanwhile, there seems no way now that any victory in battle against the insurgents can ever evoke expressions of such national pride and joy amongst Iraqis – notwithstanding VP Dick Cheney’s predictions to the contrary.

We are celebrating because this team represents all Iraqi sects. [Awas Khalid, a Kurd]

Nevertheless, here’s to Iraq’s national soccer team for winning the AFC Asian Cup 2007 tournament in Jakarta. And, since it’s far more likely that they’ll win the even more prestigious World Cup before the Americans win their war, let’s hope that there are many more moments in sports to imbue Iraqis with the elusive sense of national unity they experienced yesterday.

…We don’t want anything to spoil the day’s joy for the people of Iraq. [Salim Abdullah, a Sunni]

Related Articles:
The World Cup
Bemoaning the sacrifices to no avail in Iraq

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