Yes, Baghdad really is a quagmire

Update: I wrote this post under the duress of extreme jetlag and sleeplesssness, standing up at a terminal in the Hong Kong airport, and I regret some of my wording. I still think things look terrible in Baghdad and I still can only wonder how we can get out of the mess. But my reference to possible “civil war” was not thought through, and at the time I didn’t realize the slaughter was mainly initiated by foreign terrorists.

I just saw the news about the synchronized bombings in Iraq that have created havoc, death and, according to the reporter, “chaos in Baghdad.” (I am using a free airport service and can’t cut/paste, or I would link it.)

I wanted Saddam out. I think his being out is a wonderful thing for all of us. But I also think that there is now no denying that we are in a quagmire. (Yes, the Q word.) Not on the level of Vietnam, but certainly moving in that direction.

I couldn’t believe what I just read. It makes Bush’s recent PR blitz ring more hollow than ever. Yes, there have been dribs and drabs of good news, but can anyone really wonder why so many now see Iraq as a swamp filled with quicksand?

A big complaint of late is that the media are giving too much attention to the bad news at the expense of the good. That’s typical of journalism, and I’m sure it’s true — but only to a degree. Bad news like today’s simply has to overshadow the “good news,” like more Iraqi children going to school. More Iraqi kids in better schools really is good news, but not good enough to balance the horrific news of the bombings and snipings.

Right now, it looks as though things are only getting worse, with no end in sight. We have to rethink our strategy or face a true civil war in Iraq.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

Tsk, tsk, Richard. This doesn’t herald civil war in Iraq because Iraqis had nothing to do with it. ALL of the evidence says that yesterday’s attacks were the work of outside jihadis.

We’re already at war with the fundamentalists. Do you think they will quit trying to kill us and call it even if the US withdraws from Iraq? Not a chance. I’d personally much rather have them attacking the US military in Bhagdad than flying planes into office towers in the US.

This isn’t a quagmire, anymore than the WWII pacific campaign was a quagmire. It’s one front on what will be a long war which it is absolutely essential that we win.

October 28, 2003 @ 5:04 am | Comment

How do you like sleeping with Dubyah?

Do you work for Bechtel by chance?

October 28, 2003 @ 5:40 am | Comment

I didn’t say we should withdraw, but that we need to reconsider our strategy. I’m not sure how to do that, I admit; but things cannot go on like this.

I saw the Frontline special on Iraq two weeks ago and my concern turned to alarm. So many iraqis shouting out that they love Hussein and will do all they can to destroy us — no hoods or masks, these guys were happy to say it on the record. Much of the anger seemed to be based on the seeming American disinterest in the day to day lives of the Iraqi people (in term so of water, electricity and other essentials), while there was lots of interest in the oil.

I saw these same people after we won and they were so different. They were ecstatic. Remember the joyful photos you showed that great day on your site? I don’t see that anymore, the joy seems to have been replaced with something ugly. So I’m not sure it’s only a jihad behind this, with the body of the Iraqi population still glad we are there. I really hope you are right.

No matter what, I don’t think the American people are willing to suffer death by a thousand cuts in Iraq, especially after Bush posed under the Mission Accomplished banner in his flight suit.

October 28, 2003 @ 6:06 am | Comment

Hey Spooge, I appreciate your commenting, but be nice.

October 28, 2003 @ 6:14 am | Comment

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