24 November 2007

Ms. Huffington: The Green Zone is not a GOP Menace

"The result is three powerful posters that simply but graphically
capture the lunacy of the modern GOP." - Arianna Huffington

I was not surprised when I saw Arianna Huffington and the fancy wine n' cheese crowd running an ad campaign to badmouth the GOP. That's to be expected with an upcoming election. However, I was surprised to see the "Green Zone" being used to portray an example of neocon hubris as you can see in the pic above. Michelle Malkin has got the retort here, and so does AttackCartoons here.

I just wanted to take the time to give a more accurate and up-to-date characterization of the highly secure area in the Karkh district of Baghdad. As a 5-month denizen of the International Zone or IZ or Green Zone, I can assure the folks back stateside that it is NOT what it was under the CPA (the Bremer administration). You can read about the mistakes and shenanigans of the CPA and in the IZ with the hilarious and insightful book "Imperial Life in the Emerald City" by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, but that stuff is 3-4 years old. That makes it ancient history in terms of OIF strategy and progress. No longer will you find Bushies trying to impose American standards of morality on the Iraqi populous. The goals, hopes, and strategies coming from the IZ are much more practical, feasible, and realistic these days. I first came to Iraq with a deep sense of cynicism that this country should be written off as a disaster, and we should stop throwing taxpayer dollars and US armed forces at the problem. But, I can be prone to shifts in my political opinions since I have no allegiance to any party, and based on things I've learned here, and a more rigorous analysis of what is going on in this country, I think there is a possibility of Iraq becoming functional. The IZ is home to numerous embassies, ministries, and Iraqi homes, and there seems to be a commonality of desiring to improve reconciliation and reconstruction throughout Iraq. A theme of implementing rational policies that will provide better security and services to the Iraqi people. While most folks in the IZ remain optimistic about the future, it is balanced by understanding mistakes of the past. Also, I have yet to see a Vote Rudy in 2008 sticker. Sure, when you live in a walled off area you miss out on some of the harsh realities that the rest of the country suffers from (this is sometimes called "Green Zone Fog"). But, I've definitely noticed a drop in violence as I hear less and less gunfire and explosions from outside the T-walls. Listening to the folks passing through from FOBs, outposts, and other places in Baghdad who reside outside the walls (also called the "Red Zone" by us IZ types), my story is thankfully checking out with what's going on. Sure Iraq has had a lot of setbacks, but it's in a rough neighborhood and had to start from scratch with a completely dismantled military and government. I really hope it all works out in the end, because a lot of people have sacrificed their life to meet this objective.If you're ever passing through the IZ, don't forget to check out Saddam's old stomping grounds.


Aaron said...

While we owe it to Iraq to help rebuild security and infrastructure, as a taxpayer, I am tired of reaching into my pocket. It's a bad situation there that we had a major hand in creating, but how about safety and security on U.S. soil? If the federal government is so concerned with creating a functional society, how about we devote some effort to the homefront. Personally, I am all for the government regulating a fair market, controlling the borders, and keeping their nose out of my business, but if there is to be an effort to stabilize regions, how about some help domestically? This may be too far left field for you to consider reasonable, but if I am paying to train police forces and rebuild municipal services, how about doing it where I live? Fill in the blank with whatever dying American city is close to home for you, but we could sure use help out here too.

LT Nixon said...

A fine point, thanks for sharing. However, I think we fall under the Pottery rule as Colin Powell said about Iraq: "You break it, You bought it!"