MessOpotamia

Posted by sepoy on June 20, 2004 · 3 mins read

Once the dust is settled in Iraq, The Daily Show, should release a compilation DVD of their Iraqi coverage[.mov link]. Besides Jon Stewart, very few journalists have been on my must-read list when it comes to Iraq but Anthony Shadid and Rajiv Chandrasekaran of WaPo are tops of that list. Today, there is the first of three long, lets-look-at-this-mess-clearly reports filed by Chandrasekaran which is a must, must read. Some excerpts:

In many ways, the occupation appears to have transformed the occupier more than the occupied. Iraqis continue to endure blackouts, lengthy gas lines, rampant unemployment and the uncertain political future that began when U.S. tanks rolled into Baghdad. But American officials who once roamed the country to share their sense of mission with Iraqis now face such mortal danger that they are largely confined to compounds surrounded by concrete walls topped with razor wire. Iraqis who come to meet them must show two forms of identification and be searched three times.
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The Iraqi army is one-third the size U.S. officials promised it would be by now. Seventy percent of police officers have not received training.
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On the eve of its dissolution, the CPA has become a symbol of American failure in the eyes of most Iraqis.
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Several current and former CPA officials contended that key decisions by Bremer favored a grandiose vision over Iraqi realities and reflected the perceived prerogatives of a military victor.
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"We were supposed to leave them with a permanent constitution," a senior CPA official said. "Then we decided to leave them with a temporary constitution. Now we're leaving them with a temporary constitution that the majority dislikes.". Life inside the high-security Green Zone -- what some CPA staffers jokingly call the Emerald City -- bears little resemblance to that in the rest of Baghdad. The power is always on. Shiny shuttle buses zip passengers around. Outdoor cafes stay open late into the night. There is little effort to comply with Islamic traditions. Beer flows freely at restaurants. Women walk around in shorts. Bacon cheeseburgers are on the CPA's lunch menu. "It's like a different planet," said an Iraqi American who has a senior position in the CPA and lives in the Green Zone but regularly ventures out to see relatives. "It's cut off from the real Iraq." [emphasis added]

More coming....