January 27, 2005

Life in Baghdad.

There's a new post from Riverbend, who reports that the water came on the other night. On the other hand, electricity is down to four hours a day, and the Iraqi government's right hand doesn't seem to know what its left hand is doing.

Baghdad has been unstable these last few days. We had several explosions this last week and although the number of explosions wasn't surprising, the force of a couple of them had us wincing. There's a real fear of the coming elections and what they might bring. I don't like the idea that they've selected schools as election sites. School is out right now, but the security threat is obvious- elections sites are most likely going to be bombed. Schools are having a difficult time as it is getting things fixed and replaced, they don't need the added trauma of an explosion. It's just a bad idea.

The curfew begins at six from now on and there's also a "driving curfew" in addition to the ordinary one. I don't have the exact hours but I know that during several hours of the day, it's ok to be on foot but not ok to be in a car. I don't have the slightest idea how they're going to enforce that one. [...]

They say communications are going to be cut off very soon. Telephones are often cut off and the mobile network is sometimes inaccessible for days at a time but we heard there also might not be web access. Students have a mid-year vacation right now but no one is going anywhere. Almost everyone is trapped at home because the security situation is quite bad and no one wants to be caught in an area where an explosion might occur. If the bomb doesn't kill you, the Iraqi security forces or the Americans might and if no one kills you then you risk getting a bag over the head and a trip to Abu Ghraib.

There's an almost palpable anxiety in the air these last couple of weeks and it's beginning to wear on people- fuel shortages, water shortages and a lack of electricity. It's like the first days of the war all over again.

Of course, things were far worse under Saddam. Weren't they?

Via Baghdad Burning.

Posted by Magpie at January 27, 2005 01:07 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |

I hadn't read Riverbend in a while. That stuff is very hard to read sitting here in my living room with no real concern about water or electricity. Yeah, Saddam sucked---big time, but things were bad in a fairly consistent way. Usually, ( and I have no right trying to put myself in an Iraqi's position, or assume to have some deep understanding of a people I knew very little about just a couple of years ago. These are just some thoughts.) the average Iraqi knew what to do and what not to do, under Saddam. Right now it's just chaos. I know I'd have a tough time living like that.

Posted by: Babba at January 27, 2005 05:19 PM

"Iraqis are finally expressing themselves. It is a victory for all the dead that Saddam Hussein killed," said Falastin Saheb, 25, an Iraqi who has been living in Syria for two years and is running a polling center there, in Rukn el-Din, a Kurdish (search) neighborhood.

(source here)

You guys are on the wrong side of history.


I'm sure you would have jumped at the chance to live in Saddam's Iraq. What good is electricity if you could be dragged off the street, raped and tortured at any time? That was the reality. Deal with it.

Posted by: Alois at January 28, 2005 07:53 AM

excuse me, but iraqis can *still* be dragged off the street, raped ande tortured at any time. and, unfortunately, the torture may happen at the hands of US troops.

that's the reality. deal with it. you're not only on the wrong side of history, you don't know your history. especially the recent stuff.

Posted by: Magpie at January 28, 2005 08:57 AM

I know my history very well, thank you very much. One Abu Ghraib does not equal the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (bare minimum) murdered under the Hussein regime.

I'm going to revisit you a year from now when the Iraqis are a free people. And then you can tell me how much better things were for them under Saddam. How about it?

Posted by: Alois at January 28, 2005 09:14 AM

Personally, I prefer the simple and elegant Hussein regime far over the American imperialistic, Christmas celebrating, burger eating, Hummer driving, cigar smoking, brown-skinned people killing, high-tech Terminatoring, female hating, oil sucking, tsunami making, hurricane generating, election stealing,nucular bombing, bioterrorizing,natural resource stealing, Frankenfood producing, capitalist jihad shoving democracy and "free" elections down the throats of a sovereign nation at the barrel of a gun.

Posted by: Klaus at January 28, 2005 09:48 AM

wow. i didn't expect you to make my point for me. as you'd know if you paid attention, abu ghraib is far from the only place where US troops abused and tortured prisoners in iraq. not to mention the activities of some UK troops with their prisoners.

and, to remind you of more history, the US didn't invade iraq because saddam hussein was such an evil guy. the US invaded because of the threat to the world from saddam's (nonexistent) WMDs.

and, since you seem to like putting words in my mouth, i haven't said that iraqis were better off under saddam. i just posed the question, which is far from an irrelevant one. given the rise in violence and the decline of basic human services after the war, i'm sure it's one a lot of iraqis are asking ...

Posted by: Magpie at January 28, 2005 09:50 AM

Deleted again. Ouch! To think that I've been blogging for two years now and still haven't deleted anyone. Just ain't fair!

Posted by: Alois at January 28, 2005 10:05 AM

yep. deleted again. and if you keep trying to make this thread a discussion about how i manage discussions of my posts, you'll continue to be deleted. if you have complaints about how i deal with comment threads, email me. my address is in the right-hand column of the blog. but don't waste other peoples' time by continuing to complain in the comments. any further posts of that sort in this or any other comment threads for one of my posts *will* be deleted.

and you'll notice that i gave you the courtesy of leaving your last comment in, *and* answering you publicly. maybe you could give pacific views' readers the courtesy of engaging in discussion, rather than thoughtlessly parroting right-wing talking points?

Posted by: Magpie at January 28, 2005 10:32 AM

Well, if everything I say is going to be labeled a "right-wing talking point" (love them buzzwords), spank me with a spoon. I guess I'll just have to become a leftist!

Posted by: Alois at January 28, 2005 10:38 AM

i was going to delete that one, too, but it was funny. i'll go look for my spoon now.

Posted by: Magpie at January 28, 2005 10:40 AM

Who knows? This could be fun!

Posted by: Alois at January 28, 2005 10:44 AM

Alois, I find it difficult to believe that you still think that abu ghraib was simply a few 'bad apples'. Don't ya think its kinda funny that the style of torture that has happened at Gitmo, a couple of other prisons in Iraq, and is happening in Afghanistan, is all very similar? The Iraqis have no idea when they are going to be snatched up for whatever slight---or possibly major---violation and sent to places like abu ghraib to be tortured and god knows what else. And for what? It obviously isn't helping. If it was don't you think, maybe, the Iraqis would trust us more. Anyway, the point is that life is not better for the average Iraqi today and these very strange elections are not going to change that. We screwed up BIG TIME. Yeah, people like you believe this whole Iraq debacle was necessary---OK Fine, but don't ya think it would have been a better strategy if we had employed Iraqis to do the work of the contractors---like truck drivers and construction contracting, etc? Instead of hiring Americans to do these things? Isn't it funny that only Hallibuton and Bechtel, etc. had to recieve these no bid contracts because they are the only companies capable of work like this? Who the hell do you think built the Iraqi infrastructure in the first place? Yeah, Saddam underfunded a lot of it for his own gain, but the talent was still there. I could go on and on about how effed up this whole thing is but you probably still wouldn't get it.

Posted by: Babba at January 29, 2005 10:22 AM

I only hope this works out well. I don't have high hopes for this election, but perhaps good can come of it. Certainly now that it's in the books so to speak the best I can do is prey that there is more good than bad born of this first vote.

Posted by: Chris Mahnken at January 31, 2005 06:44 PM


I still think Abu Ghraib is the work of a few bad apples... and that a lot of our prisoners are really the worst of the worst.

Now: Ultimately, you either are going to believe that this war will be a good thing for Iraqis in the end, or you don't believe it. I believe it. As I mentioned to magpie earlier (but I think she deleted it), I want to come back here in a year and compare notes with y'all. I think you might be in for a surprise... a good surprise, if you're up for that.

Posted by: Alois at February 1, 2005 06:49 AM

This about says it all. Badmouth it if you're bound to.


Posted by: Alois at February 1, 2005 03:54 PM