We must be turning the corner in Iraq, because police in Baghdad have begun enforcing a law that requires drivers to wear seat belts. "Some might say that there are more pressing issues," The New York Times concedes, "like the car bombs that can turn a morning commute into a nightmare of blood and body parts, the daily killings and kidnappings, the political and sectarian infighting." Then again, maybe the seat belt law reflects Iraqis' aspirations to be like the peaceful, affluent countries of the West:
"It is a symbol of civilization," said a taxi driver, Ahmed Wahayid, whose 1993 Hyundai Elantra was stuck in a long line of cars waiting to clear a checkpoint. "Western people in Europe and America have it, so we are like them."
But forcing people to wear seat belts may represent the wrong kind of normality:
Brig. Gen. Zuhair Abada Mraweh, traffic commander for the capital's Rusafah district...said that the seat belt legislation—which applies only to drivers, not passengers—was in effect during the government of Saddam Hussein.
According to the Times, by the way, Mraweh "said that there were no dependable statistics on traffic accidents, but that enforcing the law would reduce them by 70 percent." If seat belts in Iraq prevent crashes, I guess that's why car bombers don't wear them.