Not long ago, George W. Bush said
...freedom is taking root in places where liberty was unimaginable a couple of years ago.
What's unimaginable is that three years and nearly 2400 U.S. casualties later, the security situation in Iraq is so dire, Iraqis are being forced to hide their identities, because...
...with stacks of bodies turning up daily in what U.S. and Iraqi officials agree are religious and ethnic killings, many think they have little choice except to disguise their religious roots, especially when those roots are hinted at through a name on a citizenship card, the main form of ID that Iraqis carry.
Yes, while Condi Rice and Donald Rumsfeld hail the progress in Iraq from the safety of the Green Zone, average Iraqis must hide their ethnic and religious heritage to survive.
The article gives a brief history of names in Iraq and how they can indicate religion and/or tribe, and that:
The separation is stark enough that there are reports that Shiite police who are looking for Sunnis to harass - or worse - simply take a look at the names on ID cards.
A Sunni who bribed a government official to obtain his fake ID said that:
"My biggest fear is militias. They move freely. They kill freely. They check your ID, and based on your name or surname they might kill you," said al-Dulaimi, 27, a merchant from Salman Pak who didn't want to reveal his new, more Shiite-sounding name, for obvious reasons.
There is a booming black market for fake ID's in every city and there is even a website that outlines ways to hide one's identity. Besides a fake ID, which is number one on the list, the site suggests hanging Shiite iconography, memorizing the first 12 Shiite imans, and so on.
How close can we be to "the Iraqis standing up," when security checkpoints aren't even secure? When people must fear for their lives every time they are stopped by the very people charged with protecting them?. Is this more of that progress we keep hearing about?