Shock and aid

Letter from Baghdad
The air is thick with politics. Reportedly some 60 different political groups have emerged here since the end of the war. Driving around Baghdad, one suddenly comes upon a building surrounded by men with guns. Groups are staking their postwar claims to the real estate. In one case, the soldiers turned out to be members of a Kurdish party. The Shi‘ite Muslims have been among the quickest to grab a share of the territory.

The streets are busy, the traffic horrible. The few policemen one sees stand in groups, apparently afraid to work alone. One hears reports of revenge killings. Gunfire is heard at night. No one is in charge. The U.S. troops are in defensive positions and rarely leave their razor-wire outposts. To the extent public order exists, it is due to the good behavior of citizens.


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