Noah Feldman's recent piece on Iraq:
is worth reading, unduly optimistic as it may be. Feldman, as is his wont, projects a sort of sanity and rationality among the major players — Sunni, Shiah and American — for which there is next to no evidence going back to and including the 2003 American invasion.
Fluent in Arabic and in constitutional law — Feldman is now a professor of law at Harvard — he was an obvious asset to American occupation forces as they tried to reconstruct Iraq post-Saddam. Feldman advised Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, for example, on drawing up a new constitution. Sistani, Iraq's leading Shiite religious authority, was then a strong voice for Iraqi unity as against the sectarian violence. It's worth noting that Sistani is now marshalling Shiites to take up arms against the Sunni onslaught.
Feldman opposed the American invasion in 2003 but hoped his efforts might contribute, nevertheless, to the best possible outcome. He opined that Bremer et al might learn from their mistakes.
He was so wrong about that. Iraq seems to be one of those situations in which the very worst outcome is the one that materialized. And keeps on materializing.
I wish Feldman would come publicly to terms with that.
Having said that, his recent piece about Iraq is far more informed about the situation than what most others have to say.