BLOGGING FROM THE RED ZONE: Michael Totten reports from Kirkuk: “Kirkuk’s terrorists are, my Kurdish hosts explained, mostly Baathists, not Islamists. Their racist ideology casts Kurds and Turkmens as the enemy. They’re boxed in on all sides, though, and in their impotent rage murder fellow Arabs by the dozens and hundreds. They have, in effect, strapped suicide belts around their entire community while their more peaceful Kurdish and Turkmen neighbors shudder and fight to keep the Baath in its box.”

He’s supported by reader donations, so if you like his work, hit the tipjar.

UPDATE: Also in Iraq, Richard Miniter reports on Al Qaeda’s protection racket.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A lot of readers think that this is the important paragraph from Michael’s piece:

Most Americans have soured on the war and want out. I was once optimistic myself, but I no longer am. I can’t help but notice, though, that those I’ve spoken to who actually live in Iraq are more confident and less fatalistic.

Well, like I always say, read the whole thing! I can’t excerpt it all, you know, or, er, it wouldn’t be an “excerpt,” now would it?