As if the Jan. 30 elections in Iraq weren't enough of a message to that nation's insurgents to quit, now come reports of angry private citizens acting to stop a terrorist attack before it began.
Last Tuesday, a Baghdad carpenter named Dhia and his relatives saw a group of masked gunmen with grenades coming to their shop and quickly opened fire on them, killing three. Their mainly Shiite neighborhood has seen recent attacks by the mainly Sunni terrorists.
This preemptive citizen attack, done in the absence of a strong police presence, sends another signal that Iraqis really do want stability and not sectarian strife. It's a small sign that a measure of civil liberties in the Middle East may just work against jihadist terrorism.
Vigilantism, of course, isn't the way to do this. The US still needs to put more resources into training the new Iraqi army and police force. The new Iraqi parliament has yet to see a deal struck between Shiite and Kurdish leaders to form a government. And basics such as water and electricity still need to be hooked up in many places.
But when common Iraqis start to actively say "Enough!," then tolerance for terrorism melts away.