Thursday, September 15, 2005


One of my dear friends is currently working in Iraq. From time to time, I receive emails updating me on the situation there. Following is the latest.

Dear Bill,

Bush Team has shown its incompetence yet again these last few days. I
watched in amazement at the goings on in New Orleans and other cities of
the Gulf Coast, it was deja vu. Denial and deception. Everything is hunky
dory. But the good news is that Bush Team could not win this battle,
because finally the press put on its boxing gloves and reported as they
should. We have given Bush Team a pass on everything, from Iraq, the
environment, cheating by Halliburton, on and on and on, and finally
something happened, too bad it had to be this terrible, that exposed their
moral corruption and carelessness.

Yesterday, was a bad day. The father of a staff member died of cancer.
The nephew of another was shot in Baghdad - a 16 year old who is now
paralyzed. Somehow someone got him to the US military which has agreed to
try to help (even though he was not shot by US soldiers). One of our NGO
partners was killed in a firefight in Mosul. And finally, if all that was
not enough, the Director General of Extension, a close friend and good
colleague was assassinated as he left his office in Abu Ghraib. I wrote
yet again a heart breaking condolence letter on behalf of our team. Tears
are flowing in our offices today, because this was a particularly good guy,
decent, peaceful, and talented. All he wanted to do was make farmers
better off, but because he is government, he was targeted.

The US and Iraqi forces are going after Tel Afar yet again. Dreamy Jaafari
states with all the boldness he can muster that this is the last time, they
will take the city back and keep it. Of course, none believes this. There
are not enough soldiers to hold the city, small as it is, and at the same
time continue to fight elsewhere. I am wondering if the US is starting to
adopt the "inkspot" theory for a victory in Iraq. If so, they will fail at
that too because that is an expensive strategy, and Bush Team insists on
doing everything on the cheap.

Meanwhile, the ambassador finally relented, the constitution will be
presented to the Iraqi population as was decided about 10 days ago. There
is a problem, though. The national assembly never voted on the draft, and
most of the key decisions were made by political leaders and not by the
drafting committee. As the situation becomes more dire, the embassy's
wheels only spin faster and without effect. The embassy crowd is yet again
trying to determine the best way to reconstruct the country. Committees of
people, many of them parachuted in from DC for a limited period of time,
talk amongst each other and not with Iraqis about the best way to fix the
electricity, or turn on the water, or get more oil, or fix the food ration
system. They are baffled at how ineffective they are, but they will never
admit that they are not qualified to make decisions. They still have a CPA

But, for all the changes made last year to give security more money, guess
what, security has grown worse and more and more Iraqis have been killed,
not to mention US soldiers