October 24, 2006



How incredibly sad that, three-and-a-half years after what was supposed to be a quick-and-easy invasion, a Stryker armored vehicle is what passes for a Baghdad police car; the peace (if you dare call it that) is best managed through a gunner’s site; and the only dependable patrolman is an anxious American G.I.

Reporter Michael Gordon and Photographer Jim Wilson filed this story on the military situation (“To Stand or Fall in Baghdad: Capital Is Key to Mission“) for the NYT.  Sobering isn’t the word.  Bottom line, our “last best” strategy of “clear and hold” isn’t working because American forces can’t trust the loyalty of Baghdad’s police, and Iraqi Army forces refuse to serve in the city.

In the slide show, take a special look at the Iraqi policemen.  It’s a study of people present in body but not in mind.


Although dry and procedural, this image captures the whole horribly sorry situation.  The caption reads as follows:

Two Iraqi officers, from different checkpoints in Baghdad, discovered that their radios did not have matching frequencies.

With Baghdad descending into not just ethnic and religious, but tribal factionalism, we are offered a cluster of Iraqi officers, no two in the same uniform, standing right next to each other, but hopelessly lost as to how to communicate.

(images: Jim Wilson/NYT.  Baghdad.  October 23, 2006. nyt.com)

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Michael Shaw
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