Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Unpatrolled and abandoned... 

It appears the US military strategy in Iraq has now come to match that in Afghanistan. "Hand over" the country to its residents to let them take the casualties. The US troops get back to doing what they do best, attacking fixed positions such as the Holy Cities near Baghdad (Falluja and Najaf, for example) while letting the Iraqi "army" and "police" take the random casualties. Not that I blame the US military--attacking fixed positions is what they're trained to do, and they're damned good at it. No one is particularly good at waiting for a random bomb or ambush.

Certainly, Iraq under Saddam was no paradise. But he was at his worst in the 1980's, and many Middle East experts placed Iraq at third in the Arab World for women's rights on the eve of Bush' colonization attempt. I doubt it will rate in the Top 10 in this less-than-prestigious list any time soon. In fact, Bush has been very consistent in his attempt to equate the invasion of Iraq on a "moral par" with the invasion of Afghanistan by making the two nations indistinguishable--Western-held enclaves in some of the big cities, riotous lawlessness elsewhere.

The sad fact is that Iraq, by many standards, is now a worse country to live in than it was under Saddam.


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