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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Uprisings have little to do with Saddam

Sunni uprisings in the wake of Saddam Hussein's execution are a reminder of the bleak prospects of anything resembling victory in Iraq, and of the importance of getting our troops out as quickly as we can responsibly do so.

Couched as religious fervor, the uprisings have no basis in religious truth. Saddam was a secular leader who used Sunnis as a political base to strong-arm his country. He exemplified the type of leadership that militant Muslims attack so aggressively in most Middle East nations, including Saudi Arabia. Mr. Hussein's goal was not an Islamic caliphate or even Sunni power. His goal was increasing and securing his own power.

He was an enemy of the causes Islamic militants most loudly espouse.

Sunni uprisings result not from loyalty to the former president. Rather, they are a sign that an increasingly large percentage of the Iraqi population will take any event as an excuse for hammering the United States or escalating sectarian violence.

We cannot define victory in Iraq, much less accomplish it. The best we can hope for is to leave institutions in our wake that have at least a slight chance of protecting the increasingly vulnerable segment of the population that desires peace.

On New Year's Eve, the tally of U.S. troops who have died for our ambiguous goals in Iraq surpassed 3,000. Our resolution for 2007 needs to be to bring our troops home.

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