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The War Over the Wars

In the midst of the continuing political and military struggles, two remarkable articles have appeared in the last three days that show glimpses of the human side of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both have generated a flurry of comments from readers who see good and evil in these tales. Joshua Partlow reported on the new American strategy of looking beyond the Iraqi police and army to receive help from Sunnni militia in controlling violent neighborhoods in Baghdad, an arrangement that one intelligence officer called a deal with the devil. And Laura Blumenfeld, who has always had an amazing ability to capture and write compellingly about the soul and feelings of her subjects, tells of a rescue of the sole survivor of a downed helicopter that would not have happened without the assistance of Afghans.

treblig1, commenting on Parlow's story, said, "Make a deal with the devil and you end up in Hell!!! Bush has managed to put our kids in an untenable situation. Our troops must trust the guys who may one day kill them!!"

And TJ1928 suggested that "These types of arrangements are only effective way an insurgency can be defeated and the country stabilized, not through some 'political solution' that the Dem candidates talk about..."

kanoongoo expressed one of the concerns that is both explicit and implicit in the article, when he said, "Hats off to naive and ignorant Americans. If they think they will get any help from people who are enemies of Israel and America they are in a fools paradise. The main aim of these groups is to find out more about Americans tactics by getting close and then take them on... Their main aim remains same to wipe out Israel and harm America. When will Americans understand that these groups do not hate Al Qaeda but are their closet allies."

geg969 expressed a view that polls suggest is held by many Americans when he wrote, "All the more reason for us to get the hell out of Iraq. This article shows that the Iraqis will sort things out for themselves which means they will handle the foreign al Qaeda themselves. If we stay they will then turn against our occupation as well."

Blumenfeld's article was a "Beautifully written, captivating story which should reassure us that help comes in the dead-black mountains from people who have humanity despite the inhumanity of war," said bdanp.

KarenLS, along with other readers, worried about those who helped, saying, "The question that begs to be asked is what happened to the village and specifically Gulab..."

searcher272 said that "All the individuals in this story made choices based on morality. They simply, in a horrific situation, did what was right, knowing the cost for their choices could mean death. In the case of the Afghani tribesman and his family, that is almost a certainty..."

By Doug Feaver  |  June 11, 2007; 9:00 AM ET
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