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Time Magazine's Baghdad Diary: Life In HELL!

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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-16-06 01:55 PM
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Time Magazine's Baghdad Diary: Life In HELL!
Edited on Wed Aug-16-06 02:01 PM by leftchick
this is what bush should be reading on his vacation instead of a novel. The descent into hell that Iraq has become is all laid out very well here....,10987,122336...


To bring me up to date with the news, Wisam rattles off a long list of recent atrocities: a high-profile kidnapping here, a massacre there, a car bombing someplace else. Long before we reach the city, I've heard so many ghastly things that the harrowing flight is already a fading memory. Sensing my sinking spirits, Wisam apologizes for the overdose of grim tidings. "You know how it is in Iraq," he says with a grin. "All news is bad news." Then he tells me about the 10 bodies that were discovered in his neighborhood in the past few days, all of them his fellow Shi'ites. The bodies were decapitated, the heads never found. He tells me how, since a suicide bombing in a nearby neighborhood, his wife has been suffering anxiety attacks when she goes shopping. I feel ashamed that a mere hour's worth of Baghdad's reality has brought me down; Wisam and his family live it all the time.

For Iraqis, reality is not just a suicide bomber in a crowded marketplace or militias running amuck in the streets. It is an accumulation of daily dangers and dilemmas--and the growing certainty that things are about to get worse. American officials and Iraqi politicians who live and work in the fortified bubble of the Green Zone are still reluctant to use the words civil war. At the start of this year, they were dismissing an all-out battle between sects as impossible. In March they were saying it was improbable. Now they cautiously suggest it is not inevitable. And that's the optimistic perspective. A more despairing assessment was on display last week in departing British Ambassador William Patey's final diplomatic memo to London. "The prospect of a low intensity civil war and a de facto division of Iraq is probably more likely at this stage than a successful and substantial transition to a stable democracy," Patey wrote in his message, which was leaked to the British media. For ordinary Iraqis who live on the other side of the Green Zone's tall walls, the time to debate if and when civil war will start is past: it is already under way. It's a view that I share. After three years of dwindling optimism over Iraq's future, I now feel a mounting pessimism.


The failure of new political nostrums is driving Iraqi and U.S. officials to retry military remedies that have been thoroughly discredited: massive security rings around Baghdad, high-visibility troop presence in the streets and sweeping house-to-house searches. If Iraq has taught us anything in the past three years--and Lebanon in the past three weeks--it is that conventional military tactics don't work in an asymmetrical conflict. Sheer numbers and firepower count for very little. Despite an ongoing 50,000-man, joint U.S.-Iraqi military operation dubbed Operation Forward Together to flush Baghdad clean of nationalist insurgents, jihadist terrorists and sectarian militias, the capital is as dangerous as ever. If anything, the Shi'ite militias are getting more brazen; a few days after my return, they entered the largely Sunni neighborhood of al-Jihad and slaughtered at least 50 people, including several women and children. Eight days later, Sunni fighters attacked a market in Mahmoudiya, just south of the capital, and mowed down more than 50 Shi'ites. Increasingly, attacks are taking place in broad daylight, leaving Iraqis to wonder how their security forces can overlook large numbers of armed men moving through the streets.

The failure of Forward Together is a blow to the Bush Administration's hopes of quickly scaling down the U.S. military presence. With some 7,200 American and coalition soldiers joining 42,500 Iraqis, the operation was meant to showcase the growing ability of Iraqi security forces to protect their citizens. The experiment was effectively declared a failure two weeks ago when Bush and al-Maliki announced in Washington that more U.S. troops would be sent to protect Baghdad. But will that work? Probably not. When the full might of the U.S. military has been brought to bear in an Iraqi city--think Fallujah, Tall 'Afar, Samarra, al-Qaim--the enemy has simply melted away, taking its terrorist tactics to places that are inadequately defended. And when U.S. forces have eventually stood down, leaving the policing to Iraqis, the enemy has returned to the very places that had supposedly been cleaned up--at the cost of American blood. There is no reason to believe that a re-tinkered Operation Forward Together will be any more successful, especially since insurgents, terrorists and militias have had ample warning that more Americans are coming, giving them time to pack their rocket-propelled grenades and leave.

The Photo essay is here.....
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-16-06 02:23 PM
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1. This is a great read
though depressing.
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lyonn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-16-06 06:51 PM
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2. Sounds like a terrible bite of reality
And No Plan to begin fixing the distruction our govt. has dumped on that country. We were not invited! Nor were they a threat to us, bottom line.
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