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Thursday, March 18

Iraqi Profile  

KnightRidder profiles an Iraqi family one year after invasion. Their income has risen from about $2 a day to about $19 a day. That's the good news. In their opinion, though, there are more negatives to life now than there are positives.
To understand their disillusionment, Mohammed said, consider that in the last month, 20 children have been kidnapped for ransom from the school where she teaches. This isn't a new story: Kidnapping is a growth industry in postwar Iraq. Most victims never report the crime to police - they simply pay anywhere from $3,000 to $50,000, depending on their means. And then there are the explosions. A few months ago, Hameed was cut in the head by flying glass when a police station near his school was bombed. A few days ago, bombers struck a Shiite mosque near their younger children's school, forcing the school to close for a week while the windows are replaced. Polls show most Iraqis believe crime has declined since the chaotic months after the war. But they still cite a lack of security as their top concern. Rapes, robberies, carjackings and murders remain epidemic. So, too, does a widespread feeling of lawlessness that can be almost as corrosive as the quiet terror once sown by Saddam's secret police.
The extra income comes from the family's two government jobs; those pay raises are a result, "of seized assets, oil revenue and U.S. aid." What isn't factored in here are Iraq's debts. Also even though corruption seems to be running high at the moment, the US is still in control of the finances of the country. Does anyone believe that if Chalabi & his ilk get the reins of power they will continue to pour money into government salaries? Of the resistance, if Mohammed's opinion is held by the majority of Iraqis, it's not clear that US troops will ever be welcome in Iraq.
They are ambivalent about the presence of U.S. troops. Mohammed says she thinks U.S. troops are needed to keep the country from slipping further into anarchy and sectarian violence, but Saad says attacks against U.S. troops are justifiable.
Happy that Saddam is gone, believe that the US keeps what little security there is, but still feel that attacking US troops is okay. If that opinion is held by most of the population, that's a tough bind for an occupying power. I don't know that handing power of to another titular entity will change Mohammed's mind. I wonder if his opinion will change at all as long as US troops still patrol parts of the country.


Previous Posts:  On the Record -- 3/18  …  Accountability = Appeasement  …  More on Delusions  …  Dangerously Confused  …  Perhaps That's the Problem  …  Disinformation Campaign  …  In Detroit or in Baghdad  …  Beyond Parody  …  Rallying the Base  …  Judiciary Dust Up  … 

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