Saving Kurdistan

Michael Totten makes the case for ensuring that, no matter what, a free Kurdistan will remain part of America's legacy in Iraq. Money quote:

[I]t is hard to overstate how pro-American the people of Kurdistan are. They are possibly more pro-American than Americans themselves. If Bill Clinton was America's first "black" president, people in at least one part of the world say Bush is the first "Muslim" one: He is sometimes referred to in Kurdistan as "Hajji Bush" (meaning that he made the Muslim pilgrimage, or Hajj, to Mecca), an undeniably high honor for a Republican Christian from Texas. No, Kurdistan is not a "red state," and Kurds are not Republicans. Nor does it occur to most of them to prefer America's conservatives over its liberals. Rather, their warm feelings of gratitude and friendship extend to all Americans and both political parties for having liberated them from the totalitarian dictatorship of Saddam Hussein...

Iraqi Kurds, though, are much more aggressively pro-American than Israelis.

They arguably take their pro-Americanism to the point of absurdity. Fake McDonald's restaurants with names like "MaDonal" pop up in Kurdistan nearly as fast as real McDonald's chains devour the landscapes of Western cities. Teenagers wear United States Army uniforms, T-shirts, and pants as a fashion statementand they do so without irony. Even some of the waiters in restaurants wear button-up shirts with the words us army stitched above the breast pocket.

However, strident Kurdish pro-Americanism is older than the no-fly zones and the liberation from Iraq. As the Peshmerga's famous guerilla leader Mullah Mustafa Barzani once told Jim Hoagland of the Washington Post, "We can become your fifty-first state and provide you with oil." That was in 1973.