Originally created 08/20/04

Is peace really the aim?

Treaties have ended most major modern wars. Peace has ensued most of the time. An uneasy one at times, but peace nonetheless.

It remains to be seen whether peace will ever be possible when it comes to Muslim fanatics.

Iraqi officials supposedly negotiated a "peace plan" with the country's radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr this week. But you have to wonder if peace is what he has in mind.

Or if it's merely a way to delay his militia's dismantling by U.S. and Iraqi forces.

And a chance to reload.

We are, quite frankly, not optimistic. Negotiations and peace plans only work if both the parties want peace, a resumption of normalcy - a life. There has been no sign as of this date that the Muslim extremists fighting the new Iraqi government and the West will be happy with anything but chaos or a religious dictatorship or the killing of all infidels.

Al-Sadr has pretended to want peace before, only to rally his troops again. It's the same rope-a-dope that Saddam Hussein used against the world in a decade of post-war cat and mouse. The formula: You drive your enemy to the brink of your own destruction, then appear to capitulate, only to regroup to fight another day.

There is, at bottom, a distinct and important difference between peace and the temporary absence of fighting.

We'll believe peace when we see it.


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