Saturday, January 13, 2007
'Baghdad is dying'
"Baghdad is dying, we are all just waiting in line." Khaled -- not his real name to protect his life -- one of our Iraqi employees, said the words softy, his eyes glossing over.

It was during a conversation with our Bureau Chief Cal Perry, talking about work in the bureau, and I was helping out translating. But the conversation had quickly shifted from business to life.

"It's so hard for me Arwa. This skull won¹t absorb English," he said, smacking both palms against his head. "I just have too much on my mind. I'm supporting three families, most of them women, each time my phone rings my heart sinks thinking that one of them was killed."

Khaled is a well-built man, proud and softly spoken. But like too many others, utterly broken by the hardship of life in the capital. Helpless in the face of the violence. Moving mechanically through each day, just hoping to reach tomorrow.

There absolutely nothing to say. Reassuring words ring hollow. And so I just said "I know." And his eyes glazed over even more.

Iraqis are strong and proud. You won't often see their suffering in their actions or in their voices. You see it in their eyes. Baghdad is dying.

-- From CNN Correspondent Arwa Damon, Baghdad
This report is heartbreaking. "Khaled" is fortunate to be gainfully employed by CNN. Imagine what it must be like the 40% to 60% Iraqis who are unemployed and trying to survive in war torn Baghdad. Tragic. The American people and the politicans in DC need to hear more stories like this. It is horrible what we've done to the Iraq people in this invasion and occupation.
I wonder if these people we liberated would rather be still living under Sadam Hussein tyrannical rule. It is truly unfortunate, but Baghdad is going through growing pains, but the media is treating the situation like it is worse than what it was under Hussein, and IT IS NOT!
Hey, as long as CNN can help the Democrats get the White House who cares about the truth. Go CNN save us from George Bush!!!
To the comment from Rob from Atlanta: I agree that life in Iraq under Hussein was terrifying, but the choice didn't have to be between what's going on there now, and Hussein's horrible regime. If our government had had legitimate reasons for going into Iraq, and gotten the support of its citizens and the world, and had given any thought to what would happen after we took Baghdad, I don't think Iraq would be in the state it is in today. I don't think this is growing pains; I think it's a civil war that could go on indefinitely. As to what the best answer is now for how to move forward and minimze the damage that's been done to our soldier's lives and the lives of the Iraq people, I have no idea. I hope this is the question congress is concerning itself with, when not taking days off to watch football games.
Saying that we the United States People have caused the situtation in Iraq is the same as saying the police who are chasing a murder, rober and rapist are the ones causing people to stay locked in thier homes.
Don't get me wrong it hurts to hear about every Military person that is husrt and killed but there are good people in Iraq that need help.

There real key is education of the people espically the oppressed females of the middle east
So I take it that Rob Brooks from Atlanta personally lived in Iraq (and more specifically, Baghdad), under the rule of Saddam Hussein, and after the US invasion? Doubtful. I am tired of hearing Americans who have (most likely) never stepped foot on Iraqi soil, tell the rest of us poor, un-enlightened Americans how much better Iraq is now that Saddam Hussein has been deposed. To my understanding, Baghdad, and much of the rest of Iraq, was equipped with electricity and running water during the rule of Hussein. Currently, electricity and running water are a rare and prized commodity.

Now, I am not attempting to sound like an authoritative source on the situation in Iraq (I fully admit that I have never visited Iraq and have no desire to), but it is time to stop with the "Iraq is vastly better after the US invasion" rhetoric. The situation is a mixed bag. Control and oppression by a vicious dictator is a terrible situation, but so is the situation decribed by Arwa Damon.

What we, as Americans, should do is simply recognize that the current situation in Iraq is not good. Whether it was better or worse prior to the US invasion is not worthy of discussion. Whether or not we should have invaded Iraq is also not worthy of discussion. We need to assess the current situation, and try to create a plan that allows Khaled to wake up each morning, and NOT worry about dying that day. Politicans always talk about the so-called "war on terror", but allowing the situation that Khaled faces each and every day to continue indefinately would only seem to breed more anti-American sentiment and, thus, terrorism.

I am only a 20 year-old college student, but I truly feel that the key to winning the "war on terror" is not to simply enter Middle Eastern countries with guns blazing, but to create an environment and government conducive to safety, security, and justice. Check the rhetoric at the door, please.
Things are better now than under Saddam??? Saddam may have treated certain people brutally, and even killed people, but there wasn't 24/7 gun battles and bombings and mass kidnappings and mutilations. These things are happening every day and night in Iraq now. The infrastructure is completely wrecked, people only have power for a few hours a day. There may have been violence under Saddam but people knew where they stood for the most part and what to do to avoid the violence. Now it's completely random and nobody knows when it's coming or from who. That is whether they'll be killed by militiamen, insurgents, U.S. soldiers etc, etc. It's sad that America has made life worse for the Iraqi's but it can't be denied except by the most callous uncaring people or those purposfully keeping there head in the sand. Not to mention of course that the country and region have been destabilised. Oh yeah, and there wasn't a civil war taking place when Saddam was in charge either.
No one sitting in a warm, safe place can 'know' what the Khaleds are feeling and dealing with. But their stories are important. I also see some of the story in our soldiers' eyes and walk. Thanks for bringing what you are seeing to us. My kid's not there now, but his brothers and sisters are. I care and pray for the miracle of peace.
rob brooks says:
"... Baghdad is going through growing pains, but the media is treating the situation like it is worse than what it was under Hussein, and IT IS NOT!"

Rob, what metrics or objective source are you basing your statement on. I'm not saying that Saddam Hussein was a "good guy", he was a tyrant like other tyrants in the world that the US has supported and does support for geo-political reasons.

Furthermore, a study by Johns Hopkins University researchers determined that over 600,000 Iraqis have died during our invasion and occupation.

So, when you reduce Bush's war and occupation to Saddam vs no Saddam, good vs evil, black vs white, you are guity of the same simple-minded analysis that got us into this situation and also minimizing the real suffering that Iraqis like "Khaled" are experiencing.

And this is not just growing pains, this is the worse policy blunder since Vietnam, and the sooner you turn off Fox News, stop drinking the Bush Administration Kool Aid, and start considering other sources of information and a diversity of opinions, you will come to the same conclusion and stop being the 20 some percent of the nation that still thinks the Iraq Invasion was a good idea. And hopefully that will happen before the US has 50,000 dead as we did in Vietnam.
We are witnessing the birth of a democracy. Ours was bloody too. What we need to do is remember the lessons we learned in Vietnam. Although the bloodshed and war seemed more then we could bear at the time, we pulled out and millions were butchered. Right now Baghdad is horrible. But the alternative is much worse. Were we to leave people like Khaled, to stop helping, we would ensure the death of him, and many like him. Wether or not we should have gone over in the first place is moot, it's water under the bridge. We're there now, and we owe it to the Iraqis to help stabilize their infant democracy.
I too am sick of people who sit in their nice homes with electricity and all the comforts 24/7 saying how much better off Iraq is now. Why don't these same people take their next vacation over there, and I don't mean in the Green Zone!
Saddam was condemned to death for killing 137 people in Dujail, and was hanged with sheers from US president George W. Bush. On the other side,this same Mr.Bush caused until now-through a potitical misjudgement and obvious lies about WMD- the death of almost 650000 innocent Iraqis and over 3500 American and allied soldiers, in addition to more than 30000 injured. If this World. and especially the USA were just, Bush deserves being brought to Justice and sentenced to death because of all these killings and suffering of Iraqis and Americans alike.We must understand that this war in Iraq had nothing with the so called war on terror, not in 2003 as it was launched, and not now, as it seems to get lost!
Our understanding of the war in Iraq is totally lacking in context. The Middle East has always been a place of political turmoil, and the conflicts in many Mideastern countries throughout modern history had alot to do with the battles between Arab Nationalists and Islamists. Our Administration and the American People should have understood that there were many power-seekers throughout the Middle East that wanted to take power away from Saddam in Iraq and impose a different order.

The fact is, CNN should present the Middle East as an amalgam of conflicting identities and interests that all have to do with independence from the West. We should have known that a Western country imposing a political consensus on a Middle Eastern country would have been disastrous. Not only did it lead to various power-seekers and war, but it was a setback to the Middle Eastern quest to come to its own consensus on government without the West interfering.
We can expect an honest, straight forward answer from our troops when Baghdad has become safe. They will stop wearing 'flak jackets' on their daily rounds. Watch CNN, you can believe (only) your own eyes.
I am sorry this has to happen to your people and family.I feel disgusted and disturbed by what is happening and that this US government is allowing it to occur for making money.I understand now why the US is so hated and hope and pray for changes
When politians say, we are at war and we must win, we must ask. What is the war we are fighting, who is the enemy we fight, and what does it mean to win? It is because we have never answered these questions honestly that the people of Bagdad now suffer under our policies.
Steve made a good point. Get off the couch, buy a ticket and help. That's what we (my friends and I) do. We get to see and help first hand.

The Iraqis that I know have told me that life was BETTER under Saddam. Don't like it? Get over it. At least face the facts.

Choosing between civil war and a dictator is like the coice between someone killing your father or your mother. Neither is good.

Education won't help children and women avoid beeing blown to pieces - that is not the key.

What is the key? Don't know for sure, but I for one am tired of seing the guys that I served in the Army with coming back in body bags and the people of Iraq don't want any more of their children to die either - maybe we should start from there are base policy upon people and the preservation of life instead of national "interest"...
I am very proud of our country and the young men defending it as well as our principles where democracy is concerned.

I as well others feel we should not be over there in Iraq, but now that we are, we have no choice but to try and finish this mess our leaders have involved us and ours soldiers in.

Bring our young men and women home president Bush. This should be at the top of your agenda. Let Iraq handle their own affairs. We have helped them enough.
Iraq is a terrible and lonely place to be I would think,it is not safe for anyone and now it looks like it will be worse for Iraqi`s as the weeks and months, perhaps years go by. They had nothing to do with 9\11 but sadly they are paying the price. Afghanistan is still at war and american dollars are flying so fast out of America with little or no effect for either country. America must learn to stay out of religious conflicts and stop shoving democracy down everyones throats. As for the Oil it`s pretty obvious that was what the Americans were looking out for. Now they have made things worse for everyone not just Iraqi`s. Good story Arwa.
One word: Security.

By the way, about this whole Sunni/Shiite dispite - It hardly existed 20 years ago. Ask any Iraqi and they'll tell you for the most part the two coexisted without any problems.
when u live by the sword, you die by the sword. and until they open their eyes and see what's going on and unite toward peace and living together in harmony then it will never cease. we are a loving people here as a whole who respect other people and their rights. and I like most other americans haven't a clue as to why they hate americans and our allies. if it's all about israel then again everyone deserves a place to live and they need to get over that too. suicide bombers are terrorists and are doomed to hell like all others who kill people and ruin other peoples lives. if they were a strong people and unite toward a common just cause then it would end immediately. and the us and others would stand shoulder to shoulder with them to destroy their enemies without mercy. but it seems you can't even trust the goverment nor the police or military to be on the just side of this war. the spoils are within those ranks too. the only way to succeed with this is to start with those who are just and seek out the bad apples and get rid of them no matter the costs. and a show of unity to the us and it's allies in force would be the start of a new era there. the masses have got to come out and stand together arm to arm and go into the depths of opposition and yes, sacrafice themselves for their families and children as i would for my own family to survive. i know i would die for my family to live as i think most americans would too. not ignite a bomb and run.
"but there wasn't 24/7 gun battles and bombings and mass kidnappings and mutilations"

That's right, Saddam kept the firing squads and the torture and the kidnappings behind closed doors so obviously it was better.

"It is horrible what we've done to the Iraq people in this invasion and occupation."

That's exactly right, Sadr and the Sunni militias and al-Qaeda bear absolutely no responsibility whatsoever. And if they do, they certainly don't bear as much responsibility as the United States.

The Iraqi people are to blame. We gave them a shot at the good life, they participated for a little while, and then they decided they would rather kill each other. We don't bear any responsibility for that. America didn't tell the Sunnis to blow the mosque in Samarra, we didn't tell the Shiites to start ethnically cleansing Baghdad, we didn't tell the Iraqi government to not do anything about it. It's their own damn fault and they deserve whatever we decide to give to them, whether that's a massive military campaign in Baghdad, a withdrawal, whatever. They've decided to make this a contest of who can spill the most blood, it's about time we showed them that they're pikers compared to us or just get out of their way and let them kill each other until they're sick of it.
I worked as an expat in Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq war..I remember beautiful Baghdad..Christian and Muslim co-workers, living in peaceful harmony, everyone had a job, banks, hotels, business in progress..people did not like Sadam then, but life is peaceful and productive...I cannot imagine how those people live their lives today, if they are still alive..
my heart goes out to the Iraqi people..
It is easy - and comfortable - to shake our heads in sympathy for the plight of the people in Baghdad. However, the degree of their suffering is unimaginable to Americans who have never experienced the depravation and terror these people face each day. Try to picture your life without running water, air conditioning in stifling heat, sewer and garbage disposal and electricity. Then imagine being afraid for you or your children to leave your squalid home for fear of being killed or maimed by a bomb or stray bullet. Yes, life under Saddam was terrible, but life today is even worse - and we are in charge!

Ray Bane
we need to bring our troops home and let the people of iraq try and restore what life they have left.we have done nothing but destroy the way they lived good or bad.they were better off before we got there.bush should be impeached for what he has done to iraq.they weren't the reason of 911.
thank you arwa damon...the ivasion of iraq was illegal A lack of basic human dignity and abuse of authority as well as a rebellion agianst the U.S. Constitutiton.

it may be dessertion to pull out now, they should probably vote on it, but it is nice to see the U.S. people finally understand the pain. Thank you for the report.
The sacrifices of previous generations of Americans in securing freedom on this continent apparently have been long forgotten by those who can suggest that the police state of a murderous dictator should have been, in retrospect, left in place.

Saddam Hussein survived, to a large extent,because of those who felt any evil he could perpetrate was acceptable to instability without him. He was left to create a violent state where one faction was set against the other.

The unfortunate truth of the Iraqi war is that the horrors of today are the result of those who excused the excesses of Saddam Hussein for too long.
This isn't journalism, it's not objective, it's just the wailing of one person who happens to work for CNN. No doubt the war has gone badly. But this tells you a lot more about the sympathies of the CNN reporter than it does anything else. (You could have the exact same story in San Francisco, with some bewailing the loss of our civil rights, and seeing the political situation in the USA as hopeless.) More to the point, posting this kind of agony aunt stuff doesn't help CNN itself in it's claim to having any kind of objectivity anymore. And I should probably add that I'm a journalist, and a democrat who's against the war.
There was No weapons of Mass Destruction. There was no connection to Laden or Al Queda. There turned out to be no evidence of an imminent threat. Hundreds of Iraqis die each week. About a hundred soidiers each month. And Congress has the nerves to say this president will not be Impeach! UnAmerican! UnPatriotic! UnBelievable! UnReal! If President Bush think the Iraqis are better off now than they were 5 years ago, he's kidding himself. I hope God spare the Iraqis, {Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds} and the people of Darfur, Congo, Palenstine, Lebonan, and Russia. I hope one day every man and every woman, no matter the color, race, greed, or religion will be spared the wrath of MAN!!!
Anyone who thinks Iraq will ever be a true democracy is living in never never land!
Ryan at 2:44....We are not witnessing the birth of a democracy!!! THese people want and will have a Theocracy. Even their so-called constiution has many references to Islamic law....which is as they want it and as it will always be.
George Bush and his cronnies made a terrible and irreversable mistake by invading Iraq, but refuse to admit it. Georgey boy would like us all to think that it was a valient effort by the U.S to liberate a country fron a tyranical leader. Dont forget that if Saddam would have allowed the weapons inspectors into Iraq that he would still be in power today. So much for the liberation of Iraq! We simlpy can not nor should we consider ourselves the great liberators of the world. Too bad its cost us over 3000 American lifes and countless wounded and mamed.
We've created Hell on earth. If that was the goal, then we have achieved it.
To the comment by Justin, Johnstown, PA: Your "holier than thou" approach really stinks. You get on Rob Brooks' case for having an opinion and not living there, yet you state your own opinions all while admitting that you never have even been there. Pretty hypocritical don't you think?

Like good little sheep, most get their information fed to them. Giving TV as an example, you make your lack of knowledge even more apparent.

Just out of curiosity, all you folks who have such strong opinions about the situation in Iraq... Do you just forget about the jobless and homeless persons living in the garbage you create and pay someone else to dump in your own country? Doubtfully.

The comment about witnessing the birth of democracy was probably the most intelligent comment made so far.
I no longer watch TV so I ask this in blissful ignorance - is this story only here on this blog page or is it being shown on TV?
Bush spoke the truth in 2000 when he said he wasn't a nation builder. Doubt he could build a dog house either
Thank you Noah for actually reflecting on and studying the situation. While I would not argue that those "in the field" have much to say that is valuable and that we should listen to them, there are limits to first-hand knowledge and folk wisdom, and these limits should be offset with scholarship and the wide perspective that it affords. As my own two cents, I would add that in general - and especially on discussion boards - the fervor of a poster is inversely correlated with the worth of their words.
I feel sorry about the all the suffering in Iraq..from the man or woman on the street to a US serviceman or contract truck driver from India. Another crazy war based on the same poor logic as the "domino theory" back in the 1960's. Iraq is not another is a repeat of the Soviet troubles in Afghanistan. Back then the West covertly supported the forces opposing the Soviets so I suspect there is not a lot of sympathy in Moscow for failing efforts of the US led coalition in Iraq. The sad truth of the matter is that the most suffering is always felt by the most innocent.
Mssrs. Bush, Cheney, Schultz, Wolfowitz, Powell, Ms. Rice and many others can easily be guilty of war crimes, and conspiracy to commit. Saddam was a dictator? Face it, some places need one, who can keep order there now without dictatorial tactics? At any rate, it isn't the US' business. Americans have yet to get democracy right in the US (Florida, Ohio, etc.), yet the abovenamed feel they can impose it on another state. It was simply theft of Iraqi oil, as well as the US treasury via a markup scheme that Bechtel used during the Vietnam murders. Treason, simple and evident, but the elite class in the US is above the law, so no one will be held responsible. C'mon America, I dare you to do the right thing for once.
Iraqis are the victims of America's oil industry and powerful military lobby. Al Qaeda leaders should say 'thank you' to Bush and his deadly colleagues. Because this atmosphere of terror, hopelessness and despair was not possible at the time of Husein rule.

All Bush's administration should be sent to gallows with Hussein. It would be fair.

Today's America is more like Nazi Germany. And some day it will be destroyed. I hope it will happen in my life.
As an Iraqi who lived 58 years of my 62 years in Iraq I find it very disgusting reading some of the comments for this report. I happen to know most of those poor Iraqi soles working for CNN. They were my neighbors in Baghdad before �running away� from the American imposed chaos unfortunately called in America �Democracy�.

I am disgusted reading about the �atrocities� of Saddam Housain as if the American did not know about them and did not encourage him then. After the 982 Djail case Rumsfield visited Saddam to re-established diplomatic, economic and military cooperation. Some patriotic Americans want us to believe that the world supper power (USA) did not know then what happened!!!! Similarly they provided him with pre-cursors for the WMD and did not know he is developing such weapons!!! They provided him with Anthrax spoors !!! They knew about his �human-rights� record and did not do any thing about it. It is with the US government �approval� that he �killed� or �gassed� his people. Now he is no longer with us he can not tell us what his agreement with Rumsfield were!!!!

I am sick and tiered to hear American telling us they �liberated� Iraq. America occupied Iraq. They replaced a functioning �system�, regardless of how bad it was, with a much much worse chaos!!! Instead of reading about torture we seeing, in color, what the Americans are doing at Abu Ghraib. Instead of reading about Anfal we are seeing, again in color, what the Americans are doing in Falluja, Ramadi, Baquba, Tel �Affer�. Etc. Instead of reading about �gassing� Hallbja we are seeing �white phosphor� in Falluja. A picture is worth 1000 word!!!!

I could go on and on but please It is time that America wake up and face reality. Saddam might have been bad but the US �liberation� forces are much much worse. For those Americans who disagree with me I ask them to go and live in �liberated� Baghdad to enjoy the �freedom�, the �rule of law� and �Democracy� and the other carp!!! I had enough of it, I left at the young age of 62 !!!
Why have we humilated a nation that trusted the West to bring a better life for Iraqi's how can we just look on and let this happen....
Shame On Us
We had a reason to go to Afganistan, absolutely none for making war on Iraq.Osama and Saddam were bitter enemies, with different agendas we should have exploited that.Instead we were mislead with false information to justify our intentions.The people of Iraq were suffering under Saddam, and unfortunately are doing the same under our occupation. we lost this war no matter what. The only thing thing we can do is to bring it to an honorable conclusion.Please Mr. Bush dont let our people die in that foreign land for nothing.
To those of you who believe the situation in Iraq is the "birth pangs" of democracy--many places have transitioned to a democracy without the type of violence seen in Iraq. And it is ridiculous to compare the situation here in 1783-1789 (from signing of the Treaty of Paris to Constitution) to the situation in Iraq--the history, time, situation, even geography,are vastly different. The situation in Iraq is unique, and should be dealt with in a different way. If there would have been a strong committment to something akin to the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe and helped stabilize it, then perhaps people in Iraq would not have been as willing to support insurgencies. People who have a stable, paying job and security tend not to want to jeopardize it. Well, it might just be harder to do this now than right after we deopsed Saddam, but it can still be done. It will "just" cost a lot of money, time effort, and lives, and I am not sure we are willing to this as nation. If we keep comparing Saddam to Hitler, then let's do in Iraq what we did in Europe in WWII, and truly commit ourselves. I know it's not what most people want to hear, (including me) but we initiated the situation by invading the country, we have tro fix it, we can't blame anyone else but ourselves for how this turns out. Maybe we'll think twice next time.
This whole thing could turn around over night and it could start with that Sadr guy. Instead of being a person who is trumping up the youth and others to violence, he could be a real hero over there by asking for peace, getting everyone together to talk and that would get the US troops home. But this guy is dummer than a post by using his position to harm humans and their way of life instead of rebuilding the country. And this goes for all clerics when they talk to the people who look to them for leadership.
President Bush needs to take a back seat and adopt a non-authorative attitude. Allow the Middle East Leaders to take control of their own domains. US involvement has worsened the Middle East situation. With Iran and Venezuela uniting against the US the severity of the Mid East Crisis has to be taken seriously. Do we want a Third World War? Can no one stop Bush from turning the World into disaster? He has failed to bring Peace it is time for him to step back before every Nation around the World is at War.
TO: Ghazwan From Iraq

Thank you for your post and enlightening me on how terrible life in Iraq truly is. I can only imagine what you have endured while in Iraq.
I truly believe that no country or power has the right to dominate another and that all nations/countries and people have a right to live under the government of their chosing. Therefore, I believe that the US, Britain, Canada, et. al have no right to invade, support, or try to bring forth a Western Version of Politics in the Mid East. They should mind their own business until and unless they are willing to have Mid East leaders tell them how to run their nations. I believe if they minded their own business we wouldn't have the disaster we face today. God Bless you and your family and may you find some degree of happiness and peace in America.
The "neo-cons", Republican, Democrat and Independent alike, continually insist that we are "winning" in the Middle East (i.e., not losing) even as ordinary Americans watch it plunging into complete anarchy. Therefore, I can only conclude that what we are seeing is, in fact, precisely the result that the "neo-cons" desire.

After all, could they actually be as completely ignorant and utterly incompetent as this outcome would appear to indicate?
Bob`s claim that CNN is not objective is not correct at all. Arwa Damon is right on the front lines with the troops every day, her reporting from Baghdad is indeed quite informing, she is a brave and honest reporter who does in fact relay both sides.She in my opinion, has seen it all and therefore is well informed on the war in Iraq, she tells it like it is and so does CNN, it`s pretty hard to beautify a disgusting brutal and senseless war. God bless the troops who were put in harms way for a war even they don`t know why they are fighting. God help the people of Iraq.
If President Bush wants more troops in Iraq, why doesn't he, Cheney and MS Rice go there and face the battle themselves. He can leave Barbara Bush running the country and I'll bet you, things will be much better. He is responsible for so many suffering,alone over 3000 american lives, plus so many injured soldiers, plus add all the Iraqui suffering and that is not INMORAL. This are not lab embryos, these are full healthy lives.That is INMORAl.
I am deeply sorry for the Iraqis who have to live through this terrible war. The US has not helped Iraq by occupying it - it has only opened a Pandora's box which cannot be easily closed. I too believe that Baghdad is dying. The question that needs to be asked now is: who or what can save it? Certainly not more troops.....
Ha! I just love reading the quips from you people that make it sound like just because SOME people had a "normal" life under Saddam, it was OK for him to go out and torture, and murder others. Funny stuff.
I am an American who was born and raised here and also an Army Veteran. I am disgusted with the views of some of the pompous, coddled attitudes of alot of the people on this board who somehow think we know what is best for the Iraqis. Those who think we have done nothing wrong to Iraq. The truth of the matter is we have war crimianls in our white house and American people have become the most repulsive, fat, and selfish beings on this planet who think they do no wrong. WE DID THIS TO THE IRAQIS, THEY DID NOT ASK FOR THIS!! People like Rob Brooks are just pathetic cowards who exist in a delusional and coddled state and probably think the USA is winning this war. Please Rob, go to Iraq you coward, and walk out into the streets and tell them how much they should be grateful for what the USA has deceitfully imposed on them.
Wow. What a thread.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with those whose state things are worse off now than before the US and partners overthrew Saddam.

Unfortunately, the majority of our politicians and pundits in the media aren't looking at how we can fix the problem, focusing instead on winning their argument(s) and jockeying for political power.

I pray that the latest effort to stabilize Baghdad works.
As a vet of Iraqi Freedom, I have earned the right to comment on this current debate...even though most reading this do not agree. I hear two agruments on this situation thus far.

First one is we must add more troops, stay the course, and we can win. I honestly believe that we can win this war if we have the fortitude to keep the faith and defeat the enemy.

Second one is raise the white flag, surrender, bring the military home, and pretend 9/11 did not happen.

Most of the comments I have read on web sites and blogs say we have spent too much time, lost too many troops, and can not win this war. Call it quits and leave Iraq now. If we do that then we will have another 9/11 here on our soil, and we will see more terrorist activity all over the world.

It is good to see that the lessons of President Clinton have been followed in this case. What do I mean? Lose a battle, surrender, and leave with our tails tucked between our legs.

Good to see we are following the game plan just like we did in Somalia. Let's do what Senators Clinton, Schumer, Boxer, Reid, and others want and call it quits and come home...perhaps these useless arguments will end and we can go back to raising taxes and screwing the working class like it was pre-9/11.
Sadam killed thousands to keep a workable Iraq Bush is doing the same thing .Bush is killing the sunnies to keep Iraq Hassain killed the Kurds and the Sheia what is the differance So much pain so little hope all is lost I cry rivers of tears with so many others for all the victams And to the crule and hartless i just raise my fingure and close my tearfull eyes
My sympathies lie with the men, women and children of Iraq. Mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters. Families!
Iraq, a once thriving Middle Eastern oil producing nation, is now in shambles. The ill-advised and poorly executed invasion and occupation of a sovreign country and member of the UN by another member of that same organization ought to be cause for concern. One of the main goals of the UN is to stop this type of thing from happening.
When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the UN took action and a coalition of soldiers from around the world formed the army that drove him out.
Israel recently invaded Lebanon and the United States is still in Iraq. I have not heard of any UN coalition being formed to drive out either of these invaders. Is this a new trend? Is China going to invade Taiwan because there won't be any consequences? Where does it end?
Iraq under Saddam was a willing ally of the west against Iran. We have removed him and the Sunnis from power. We have handed power over to the Shiites. Iran is also Shiite dominated. Have'nt we effectively given the Iranians what they want? Greater Iran!
There are many countries in that region to whom this outcome is pure anathema. I believe that we are actually on the verge of a much larger conflagration in that part of the world. May God help us all.
Dear CNN,
"Bagdad is dying"is a common story that you could find in any war.There are worse things than dying ,just ask someone who has to watch their family killed in front of them.I truely believe CNN wants Bush to look bad and the Democrats to take total power more than the U.S. win the war.Your obvious partisanship makes me sick.It isn't "IN" or WORLDLY and NOBLE to be Patriotic is it.
Thank you Arwa for bringing this ever unfolding humanitarian tragedy in Baghdad. Our politicians and theirs choose to ignore the plight of the ordinary people whose lives are reduced to mere day-to-day existence. Time is running out to save Iraq, Baghdad in particular. Those who can afford to leave already did. Those who are now desperate to leave find themselves unwelcome by neighboring countries such as Jordan and Syria. When I was told by a healthy 29-year-old man that it's very difficult to stay alive for another year in Baghdad, there is simply no word to express my own sense of despair. This administration must be held accountable for the tragic consequences of its actions and inactions.
I am a 21 year old university student studying the Iraq conflict and the wider Middle East environment. I have many Iraqi friends, who left Iraq before the war began. Some of them have since returned to Iraq to check on family, and told me the stories. It's heartbreaking, but bleeding hearts don't secure peace.

Regardless of why the U.S. went in, whether there were weapons or not, it doesn't matter any more. A political solution needs to be found, and quickly. If the U.S. is going to send more troops to 'stabilise the situation', they need to send enough to do the job. And a compromise must be found with the Shi'a and Sunnis who oppose the Coalition. Some will say that a compromise cannot be found with terrorists. Nevertheless, they must at least be given the opportunity to negotiate. A ceasefire would be a great start. And it can be achieved, if there was enough humility on our part to negotiate on equal terms.

We must hope that a solution will be found, or else all that the Coalition has done as been in vain and for nothing. We owe it to the Coalition soldiers who never came home, and to the people of Iraq.
I have been in Baghdad working in an irrigation development from 1979-1983.
I worked with all kinds of nationality.
Iraq (under Sadam) was prosperous, building 5-star hotels, multi-million dollar in infrastructures developments
thru hundreds of foreign companies, people are running their own business, working in privately owned and government jobs w/ dignity and pride.
Ordinary people does not care about politics. Christians and Muslims live in harmony. Nobody talk about Sadam, but we know most people does not like him as a person. Nevertheless life is peaceful in general. IraqiDinar=$4.00.
We never saw any beggars. People are happy and content. Those who want to
volunteer for war (w/ Iran) can go.
Catholic churches are everywhere.
At night, everyone in Baghdad are out to celebrate life, dining, wine, dancing, walking by the Tigris river behind the Baghdad was beautiful. But now, we the Americans decided to "rescue" the Iraqis from this "undemocratic" life...look what happened now!
Give that guy supporting three families a raise. Oh -- how many thousands of years has Baghdad been there? It is dying? Get real.
Imagine, increasing the US military personal by an additional 16,000 plus can only increase the murder and mayhem in and around the Green Zone of Baghdad. Was the complete destruction of Baghdad and all of Iraq caused by dissinformation and improper news reporting? Where was CNN and the other news people when Saddam Husain was originally told he could take back the 17th colony annexed by England in 1923? Was this ok given by the first Bush Administration for defeating Iran in there 8 year war? Was the Kuwait ingagement in 1991 a setup for the eventual total invasion of Iraq? Why was the Bush II administration so ill informed regurding the religious seperation between the majority Shi'ite and the minority Sunni which for 20 years Saddam, a Sunni, ruled with a iron fist handleing the Kurds in the north and the Shi'ite who were all over Iraq? Is the Bush administration now between a rock and a hard place as the Saudi Arabians are Sunni Muslims and want to protect the Sunni minority over the Shi'ite Muslim majority who now loosely rule the country in name only! Baghdad is dieing because of dissinformation and missinformation as Saddam Husin was the only leader capable of controling the three religious factions and with his demise the city of Baghdad and the country of Iraq will wither and die all because of civil and religious wars brought to you because the Bush administration didn't have a clue on what the US was getting into and so far 655,000 humans have died a a result of this fascio!
In order to gain understanding of causes, conditions and possible solutions to the situation in Iraq it would be wise to look at history - the human condition hasn't changed much over the centuries - why are we presuming that it's different today?
There were many people living during the Nazi regime of Germany that were comfortable and did not live in fear. They were part of the status quo as well as being members of the correct racial, religious and social groups. God help anyone that wasn't! I suppose somehow it would have "worked itself out" had no-one interfered. None of the allies during WWII had a clean slate as far as policy and tactic was concerned (let alone their own lurid histories), however, something needed to be done, and the cost ... was incredibly high!
Why do we presume that responding to bullies is not going to be messy or painful?
Baghdad, dying?...doesn't it sound like manila several generations ago?

Several people are calling Iraq as "the next Philippines".

Some consider both countries the "by-products" of America's 'intercessionist' foreign policy. At first it seemed quite a stretch to me.

But as the days pass by, people are pointing to more and more striking parallels. Read around.

Would it be far-fetched to imagine that 50 years from now Iraq will find itself in the same shoes as the "democratic" Philippines is right now?

Your call.
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