Iraqis open arms to romance as violence fades; fundamentalist Islam and Code Pink, Reid, Obama, other Iraq war dead-enders hardest hit

A funny thing happened on the way to the quagmire. All across Iraq boys and girls are channeling 1960’s America as they “Make Love, Not War.” Who could have imagined the Iraqi people were a peace-loving and moderate bunch? A go-it-alone president who ignored the so-called popular wisdom of defeatist Democrats like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama – that’s who.

Still looking to blame someone for the god-awful spending bill that just passed Congress? Bush’s fault for winning the Iraq war and leaving Obama the Spendthrift free to focus on wreaking long-lasting domestic havoc.

Romance is in the air in Baghdad as war-weary Iraqis celebrate Valentine’s Day after a sharp drop in violence, allowing lovers to cautiously hold hands in parks and to buy gifts for their sweethearts.

Public courtship and more daring clothing for women are increasing after years of growing intolerance, perhaps signaling the Islamic dogma and conservatism that accompanied Iraq’s slide into sectarian slaughter may be losing their grip.Interestingly, given a choice between horse-whippings and beheadings at the hands of fundamentalists or living freely with evolving (and Westernizing) social mores, the Iraq people ratted out the fundies and embraced the benefits of temporary US occupation. I guess retards like me who supposed a moderate, democratic and US-friendly Muslim country in the Middle East would be a tremendous advance might just end up looking like visionaries.

Like other Iraqis, they are caught between a desire for greater freedom and romantic expression, and a conservative Islamic culture brought to the fore in six years of war.

When religious militias and insurgents controlled swathes of Baghdad, men found with women before marriage were whipped, and the woman taken to her parents, Abbas Jawad said.

“My son is spending Valentine’s Day with his girlfriend. He’s 16. I would never have allowed that before,” he said.Call me crazy, but a teenage boy who’s well fed and…as we might say on a family-friendly website, well serviced… strikes me as a lot less likely to want to go off and die for Allah. Was there a single person in 2007 who believed such a thing could happen in a Muslim country?

Even secular Iraqis once dressed conservatively to avoid militant ire, but clothes are now tighter and shorter, shrinking in line with militia power following government crackdowns. Global trends are beamed into Iraq by satellite television.

Husam al-Din Ali picked a miniskirt — black satin with bright gold studs and a long metallic chain — off a rack at one of the women’s clothing shops he owns in Baghdad and brandished it as proof Iraqi women can now dress more suggestively.Now that is what I call Change We Can Believe In. We’ll know they’ve turned the corner once and for all when NSFW music videos are playing on Iraqi television. There was a time when a Muslim female was not permitted to show her navel on television right here in America. That time was 1965 and that Muslim woman was the bafflingly blond-haired and blue-eyed Barbara Eden cast as a genie in I Dream of Jeannie.

Really makes you think.

But it’s not all fun, games, and romance in Iraq:

Changes bring their own problems for some Iraqi men, too.

“The girls have changed the way they dress so much. It’s so good now it hurts,” said Mohened Tha’far who, with no date lined up for Valentines Day, sat gazing at girls walking by.

Maythem Alaa and Ahmed Salman, dressed in tight jeans and shirts and with perfectly coiffed hair, were also frustrated.

“Love is tiring,” said Alaa.

“We’ve been walking round and round trying to catch those two’s attention for ages now, but no luck,” said Salman, pointing to a pair of fashionably dressed girls in the distance.I suggest they take up political blogging. Every Valentines Day I’m like a freakin’ hummingbird going from flower to flower.

Today's lesson in irony IV