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Why Are You Here?

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 02:13 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 70.7 
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Why Are You Here?

by Jessica Andersen

Some things were better before the war than they are now. . . For instance security was better. . . Psychologically, security is an essential part of life and it was available, aside from many other things.       -   Mohammed, 21 years old, Baghdad, Iraq

In Firdos Square where the now famous statue of Saddam Hussein once stood surrounded by tall white pillars, an Iraqi version of Lady Liberty has been erected, a sign of hope in an otherwise dismal landscape. But while hope may have risen from the ashes of war, so too has impatience risen from occupation. Protests are beginning to fill the streets and below Liberty\'s perch on her concrete pedestal, protest signs hang from the pillars, flapping in the occasional wind of the honking cars zooming by, trying desperately to get through the square without traffic lights or direction. Many of the signs are written in English and therefore obviously directed at American and British troops:

Iraq for Iraqis; American Colonialism: deconstructing democracy, reconstructing capitalism; Six months and the killing continues; When will Iraq be Iraq?  

Every Iraqi I have met has told me that their biggest complaint about the occupation is the lack of security. The United States has 140,000 troops stationed in Iraq. Despite the U.S. presence, crime against civilians is still rampant. Prior to the war, Saddam opened the prisons, filling the streets with violent criminals. Add to that increased unemployment, frustration and hunger and you have a recipe for chaos. After the war, the U.S. forces appointed some local Iraqis as guards at the ministries and other important buildings but the training of Iraqi police is at a trickle and they are no match for the increase in rapes, murders and robbery. Those who accept Iraqi police jobs risk death at the hands of resistance fighters or others angry at the U.S. presence.



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