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Friday, December 19, 2003

Juan Cole on the security situation in Iraq:
Just a personal note. I lived in Beirut during the early years of the civil war there in the mid to late 1970s. When I see correspondents reporting from downtown Baghdad, and hear the repeated gunfire and bombings in the background, I cannot help flash on Beirut then. Apparently Baghdad closes up at 9 pm every night, and people are desperately afraid for their security. It isn't even clear whom the gunmen are fighting. These obvious signs of near-anarchy are visible whenever Wolf Blitzer or some other anchor talks to an American in Baghdad nowadays. It is incredible to me that anyone is optimistic, given this obvious lack of security in the country's capital, which is occupied by thousands of American troops! I mean, this really is an 'emperor has no clothes' scenario, but Wolf and others seem too polite to just say so. -- Juan Cole