From Baghdad Burning, aka Riverbend Blog; it's both devastating and heartbreaking and oh, so very likely fully accurate:
You know your country is in trouble when:
A day in the life of the average Iraqi has been reduced to identifying corpses, avoiding car bombs and attempting to keep track of which family members have been detained, which ones have been exiled and which ones have been abducted.
- The UN has to open a special branch just to keep track of the chaos and bloodshed, UNAMI.
- Abovementioned branch cannot be run from your country.
- The politicians who worked to put your country in this sorry state can no longer be found inside of, or anywhere near, its borders.
- The only thing the US and Iran can agree about is the deteriorating state of your nation.
- An 8-year war and 13-year blockade are looking like the country's 'Golden Years'.
- Your country is purportedly 'selling' 2 million barrels of oil a day, but you are standing in line for 4 hours for black market gasoline for the generator.
- For every 5 hours of no electricity, you get one hour of public electricity and then the government announces it's going to cut back on providing that hour.
- Politicians who supported the war spend tv time debating whether it is 'sectarian bloodshed' or 'civil war'.
- People consider themselves lucky if they can actually identify the corpse of the relative that's been missing for two weeks.
2006 has been, decidedly, the worst year yet. No- really. The magnitude of this war and occupation is only now hitting the country full force. It's like having a big piece of hard, dry earth you are determined to break apart. You drive in the first stake in the form of an infrastructure damaged with missiles and the newest in arms technology, the first cracks begin to form.
Several smaller stakes come in the form of politicians like Chalabi, Al Hakim, Talbani, Pachachi, Allawi and Maliki. The cracks slowly begin to multiply and stretch across the once solid piece of earth, reaching out towards its edges like so many skeletal hands. And you apply pressure. You surround it from all sides and push and pull. Slowly, but surely, it begins coming apart- a chip here, a chunk there.
That is Iraq right now. The Americans have done a fine job of working to break it apart. This last year has nearly everyone convinced that that was the plan right from the start. There were too many blunders for them to actually have been, simply, blunders. The 'mistakes' were too catastrophic. The people the Bush administration chose to support and promote were openly and publicly terrible- from the conman and embezzler Chalabi, to the terrorist Jaffari, to the militia man Maliki. The decisions, like disbanding the Iraqi army, abolishing the original constitution, and allowing militias to take over Iraqi security were too damaging to be anything but intentional.