Many of those who were skeptical about the U.S. invasion of Iraq, including the editors of this magazine, worried that sweeping away the devil of Saddam Hussein would—as in the parable in Luke 11—make way for several other kinds of devils. The devils appear alive and well in Iraq. While it is premature to describe Iraq as a quagmire for the U.S., the situation is “hellishly difficult,” to cite the words of Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
U.S. occupying forces face daily guerrilla attacks, and they operate within a restless and suspicious population. The bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad in late August and the subsequent attack on a Shi‘ite mosque that killed Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim, a strategic friend of the U.S., showed how unstable the country is. It also demonstrated that those aiming to derail U.S. policies are well armed and well organized.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).