An Iraqi Sea Change

Question: What is the most extraordinary thing about the following extraordinary sentence?

BAGHDAD — After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.

Answer: It is the lead of a story in today’s New York Times. The paper of record, which for the past few years could accurately be described as a body count with a styles section, is now acknowledging the realization of the most ambitious goal of the Iraq War: the de-radicalization of Muslim citizens. This is, in its way, more important than political reconciliation and even more important than hunting down al Qaeda. This is the long war stuff, the hearts-and-minds stuff.

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An Iraqi Sea Change

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