Hiya. First, just a note to say that yes I'm alive and well in beautiful downtown Baghdad. A few folks have sent me notes of concern. But I should stress that I'm in a relatively safe area, and quite far from battleground of Sadr City.
The second most-asked question is: Are we in a Civil War? Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to answer that one. Just take a look at the dictionary:
American Heritage Dicionary
- A war between factions or regions of the same country.
I think the answer is pretty clear.
So what's the answer? There is no easy answer to solving Iraq's problems. Bombs and bullets alone aren't enough. Diplomacy alone is not enough either. There are so many layers, so many complex factors, including -- but not limited to, -- history, religion, ethnicity, sects, tribes, politics, organized crime, oil, family feuds, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and others I can't even imagine.
It's too easy to just say things like "pull out" or "send more troops" or "kill 'em all and let God sort em out." For example, this blog was posted by Michael Moore yesterday:
>>Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do ...a letter from Michael Moore
Yesterday marked the day that we had been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.
That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini,
and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's
only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown
And we haven't even done THAT. After 1,347 days, in the same time it
took us to took us to sweep across North Africa, storm the beaches of
Italy, conquer the South Pacific, and liberate all of Western Europe,
we cannot, after over 3 and 1/2 years, even take over a single highway
and protect ourselves from a homemade device of two tin cans placed in
a pothole. No wonder the cab fare from the airport into Baghdad is now
running around $35,000 for the 25-minute ride. And that doesn't even
include a friggin' helmet.<<
His long-winded letter goes on to make a case for why running away is the answer. Some of what he says makes sense. But most of it is just too simplistic to work. (I won't even get into what a pompous jackass Michael Moore has become lately. Or his outrageous, exaggerated claims like paying $35,000 for a taxi ride from the airport to Baghdad! I have NEVER paid more than $50! What kind of cab is he riding? A Lamborghini taxi specially modified to carry his huge arse and ego?)
Whether you agree or disagree with going to war in the first place, we are there now. And we're caught in a catch-22. If you pull out altogether, you risk absolute turmoil (i.e. Somalia, or Russians pulling out of Afghanistan only to be replaced by the Taliban). If you add more troops, you risk getting stuck a stale-mate for years with no clear goals and rising casualties (Vietnam). Another idea has been to pull troops back, out of Iraq but keeping them in the region such as Kuwait or Saudi Arabia so they are still close enough to respond to major incidents. One of the most intriguing ideas came from Sen. Joseph Biden, who suggests partitioning Iraq into three regions -- in effect the "Balkanization" of the country following the successful model of Bosnia -- with an oil-revenue sharing plan and central Baghdad government.
The bottom line is there are NO EASY ANSWERS. But we have at least try and open dialogue and remain open to ideas, even drastic risky measures. Otherwise, this country will spiral into full blown-out Civil War. And it's hard to imagine things getting much worse than they are now.