I just read an interesting article about our soldiers and a small town in Iraq
lying 35 miles upriver from Anbar's capital of Ramadi. The article, yes, in The Washington Post
talks about a town called Hit. You see, hit is an ancient city known for its tar deposits and relatively educated population. But, as the Post reports, more than two years of warfare have dragged the town of 40,000 people back to the pre-industrial age.
The article goes on to say that all phone systems in Hit have been destroyed. The war has shut down industry, so at least 50 percent of the people are jobless and a quarter live in poverty. The town's bank holds no money. Fuel is scarce, and most of what is available is sold by insurgents at black-market prices, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials. The police disbanded more than a year ago and Hit still has no officers on the job, although a new force is in training.
Conditions in the city are so bad that Hit's mayor recently asked the U.S. military to send him to Abu Ghraib prison -- "just for the summer," he told one U.S. officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. "You have air conditioning, three meals a day, soccer balls. Abu Ghraib is a nice place," the mayor said, according to the U.S. officer.
As I read the article, I thought about the Bush administration and democrats, yes democrats who support the war. Democrats like Senator Joseph Lieberman who have kissed up to Bush and have not joined in the call to bring our men and women home. I thought about a U.S. officer who, in the article put the situation in Iraq more bluntly: "Nobody wants us here, so why are we here? That's the big question," said Maj. Brent E. Lilly. Lilly leads a Marine civil affairs team that has disbursed many thousands of dollars for damage claims and projects in Hit, but is still mortared almost daily. "If we leave, all the attacks would stop, because we'd be gone."
Why are we still in Iraq?