The latest horror in the Horror Show That Is Iraq is the arrest – by US troops – of Iraq’s Deputy Minister of Health, a Shiite loyalist of the “cleric” Muqtada al-Sadr (Sadr is a “cleric” only in the same sense that, e.g., Tony Soprano is a “business manager”). Apparently, the Shiites/Sadrists were given control of the Ministry of Health in the divvying up of the spoils, and the Deputy Minister has been found to be involved in directing Shiite militia death squads to kidnap/murder Sunnis who have the misfortune to show up at Shiite-controlled hospitals. Got that? Imagine, for a moment, that you – a Baptist, say – with appendicitis, check into a hospital in Boston that happens to be controlled by Lutherans. Because of some long-ago split between Baptists and Lutherans (likely over the color of Jesus’ socks), you will be killed and dumped along the Charles River. This, then, is the level of depravity into which Iraqis have descended (or perhaps they never ascended from this level, and are just now being outed). It occurs to me, on reading about this incident, that Iraqis are very much like the Serbs, the devils incarnate of the 90’s, who seemed completely incapable of making the compromises and accommodations of civilized society. The fanatic ethnic nationalism of the Serbs is perfectly matched by the fanatic tribalism and faith-based insanity of Iraqis of both Sunni and Shiite persuasion. It is beyond ironic that the modern inhabitants of the land known as the Cradle of Civilization are the embodiment of uncivilized barbarianism.