The New York Times reports Thursday that Iraq's electrical power grid is controlled by fiefs of differing militias who don't share, and that Baghdad doesn't have juice for more than a few hours a day.
Since the cost of the war to U.S. taxpayers stands at $450 billion and counting -- that's billion with a "b" -- what in the world has that money been spent on since Saddam fell four and a half years ago?
Sure, the recent surge seems to have caused a short-term quelling of violence, like in Anbar province. But remember: the Sunni coalition (historically the minority in Baghdad) walked out of the so-called central government months ago, so whatever political entity it is that Maliki leads is essentially in name only. It's Shiite in Baghdad even more than before, with less Sunni and some Kurds, so conflict has naturally dissipated. Still, nothing is anywhere near resolved for the country, and next April we hit the five-year mark.
Meanwhile, we still can't guarantee a 60 watt light bulb that can last all day.
A couple of years ago conservatives went into convulsions if anybody dared broach comparisons to Vietnam, yet President Bush himself now invokes it in speeches to the VFW!
It turns out those comparisons are more and more spot on. The war in southeast Asia officially lasted eight years, cost $531 billion, and had nothing to show for it at the end of the day except 58,000 dead Americans, another 150,000 wounded, and a United States psychologically torn asunder.
Fast forward. This modern mess in the desert has become precisely what Dick Cheney predicted back in 1994, "an occupation....a quagmire."
Iraq may be in the dark, but we have no such excuse, and anyone who can't plainly see this is just blinded by the light.