BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 26 - When American troops entered Baghdad and overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein 21 months ago, Raad al-Naqib felt free at last.Notice how the inauguration message was all about spreading liberty around the world. Recall in 2000 when GW campaigned against nation-building. More importantly, never lose sight of the fact that GW & Co. pounded home one message as a reason to invade Iraq: they had WMD (actually the second reason was Cheney's favorite: Sadam was linked to 9/11).
But Dr. Naqib, a 46-year-old Sunni dentist who opposed Mr. Hussein, will not vote Sunday when Iraqis will have their first opportunity in a generation to participate in an election with no predetermined outcome. It is, he said, far too dangerous when insurgent groups have warned that they will kill anybody who approaches a polling station.
Starkly put, Baghdad is not under control, either by the Iraqi interim government or the American military.
On the bright spring day in April 2003 when marines helped topple Mr. Hussein's statue in Firdos Square, Baghdad, more than any other place in Iraq, was the place American commanders hoped to make a showcase for the benefits the invasion would bring.
Instead, daily life here has become a deadly lottery, a place so fraught with danger that one senior American military officer acknowledged at a briefing last month that nowhere in the area assigned to his troops could be considered safe. (NY Times)
With the original reason(s) proven false, Bush has once again conducted a bait-and-switch, now emphasizing a spread-liberty message -- which if presented to Americans in the first place for invading Iraq would not have worked. Bush has to go with this new message because he has no choice -- an extremely scary predicament.
As this administration continues to make one blunder after another, the unfortunate outcomes have a boomerang effect, forcing GW to react in haste and rattle off increasingly poor decisions. We're on a steady spiral down thanks to him.