The first is via John Quiggin at Crooked Timber, John Derbyshire "apology" for supporting the Iraq war. Now Mr Derbyshire's only regret is that we did not take "shock and awe" nearly far enough. From his "apology" there can't be any doubt that Mr Derbyshire should have a cell next to Dick Cheney's in the yet to be constructed prison for the criminally insane. We have this:
One reason I supported the initial attack, and the destruction of the Saddam regime, was that I hoped it would serve as an example, deliver a psychic shock to the whole region. It would have done, if we’d just rubbled the place then left. As it is, the shock value has all been frittered away.What he is saying is we should have simply leveled Iraq and then left letting the rest of the region if not the world know that if you fuck with the United States your country too will be reduced to ruble. Shock and awe on a global scale. It's a bit like a serial killer apologizing for not killing more people.
Next the Washington Post has managed to get a hold of cable from the US Embassy in Iraq to the State Department, From the Embassy, a Grim Report.
Hours before President Bush left on a surprise trip last Monday to the Green Zone in Baghdad for an upbeat assessment of the situation there, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq painted a starkly different portrait of increasing danger and hardship faced by its Iraqi employees. This cable, marked "sensitive" and obtained by The Washington Post, outlines in spare prose the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will discover they work for the U.S. government.A pdf of the cable can be found here but I'll give you a couple of excerpts:
SENSITIVEAs the Bush administration tells us how the situation in Iraq is improving the US embassy there has a very different picture of increasing ethnic strife and a growing Islamic theocracy.
1. (SBU) Beginning in March, and picking up in
mid-May, Iraqi staff in the Public Affairs section
have complained that Islamist and/or militia
groups have been -negatively affecting their daily
routine. Harassment over proper dress and habits
has been increasingly pervasive. They also report
that power cuts and fuel prices have diminished
their quality of life. Conditions vary by
neighborhood, but even upscale neighborhoods such
as Mansur have visibly deteriorated.
2. (SBU) The Public Affairs Press Office has 9
local Iraqi employees. Two of our three female
employees report stepped up harassment beginning
in mid-May. One, a Shiite who favors Western
clothing, was advised by an unknown woman in her
upscale Shiite/Christian Baghdad neighborhood to
wear a veil and not to drive her own car. Indeed,
she said, some groups are pushing women to cover
even their face. a step not taken in Iran, even at
its most conservative.
Security Forces Mistrusted
11. (SBU) In April, employees began reporting a
change in demeanor; of guards at the green zone
checkpoints. They seemed to be more militia-like.
in some cases seemingly taunting. One employee
asked us to explore getting her press credentials
because guards had held her embassy badge up and
proclaimed loudly to nearby passers-by "Embassy"
as she entered. Such information is a death
sentence if overheard by the wrong people.