Magazine article The American Conservative

Reality Based

Magazine article The American Conservative

Reality Based

Article excerpt

IRAQ

Looking, as one blogger put it, like a recharged Energizer bunny, President Bush returned from a five-hour trip to Baghdad-where he met with the newly selected Iraqi prime minister-full of jaunty optimism and talk of "building confidence," "restoring security," "moving forward."

But it's interesting to contrast the Bush photo op with the cable sent out at the same time by U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. The memo, leaked to the Washington Post, describes the life of Iraqi employees in the Green Zone-that is, the most secure part of Iraq-who have thrown in their lot with the American mission. Increasingly, employees have been complaining about Islamist harassment-women have been told to wear veils and not drive cars. Sad but true that Saddam's Iraq was in many ways a more liberated place than the one the American invasion has created.

Khalilzad reports that guards at the Green Zone checkpoints "seemed to be more militia-like, in some cases seemingly taunting." Some guards held Iraqi embassy employee badges up and proclaimed "Embassy"-a death sentence if heard by the wrong people. …

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