Why didn’t I think of that? Powerline has one of the most interesting observations about the Sunni-Shia conflict in Iraq that I’ve seen anywhere:

“The other thing to keep in mind is that Iraq faced a day of sectarian reckoning regardless of the conduct of the United States. The Sunnis weren’t going to be able to oppress the country’s majority indefinitely. Ten, twenty, or thirty years down the road, all hell was going to break loose. One can argue that the U.S. would be better off to be nowhere in the vicinity at that time. But it’s quite clear that Iraq is better off having the U.S. around to help limit the scope and intensity of the bloodshed.”

The item also notes that, while today’s Washington Post trumpets statistics on civilian deaths in Iraq, the Washington Times notes that many Iraqis are better off today than they were four years ago:

“Did you know that Iraqi real-estate prices have gone up several hundred percent since the fall of Saddam Hussein? 

“That Iraqi workers’ salaries have increased more than 100 percent in that time?  

“That the number of cars in violence-torn Baghdad has grown by 500 percent in the same period?

“That the Iraqi construction, retail and wholesale trade sectors are all growing at a healthy pace?

“Chances are that you are astonished by these facts. I certainly was when I read them in an article by Silvia Spring in the end-of-the-year edition of Newsweek International.

“The piece is titled “Iraq’s Economy is Booming” and it’s a revelation. It goes on to mention that the number of registered businesses has increased from 8,000 to 34,000 in three years; that the number of cell phone subscribers has increased from 1.4 million to 7.1 million; that the stores are stocked with goods, and that consumers are buying them; that taxes have been cut, government revenues are up and that oil revenues and foreign grants are estimated at $41 billion for the year just ended.”