[The op-chart below (open website to access)  more or less tells it as it is. Security has been improved, but the social/political/economic situation of Iraq is a mess. I heard 3 Iraqi scholars who are teaching in the U.S. this year — Harvard, Stony Brook and one other — the other day on npr. And what they point out is that the professionals in Iraq — a million or more — have been largely driven out of the country by death and kidnapping threats against them and their families — the doctors and academics particularly. Those remaining who are running the country are its gangsters — stealing and killing still with little hope of getting the country together. One hears of some 40 to fifty women having been brutally murdered in the south for violating the strict dress codes there. The Kurds in the north want nothing to do with the Arabs to the south. Half the million Christians have been driven out of the country by death threats. And the war over oil has scarcely been resolved. There looks to be no likely way that our troops can resolve any of these problems. Ed Kent]

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OP-CHART
The State of Iraq: An Update
By JASON CAMPBELL, MICHAEL O’HANLON and AMY UNIKEWICZ
As 2007 comes to a close, how should we understand the
situation in Iraq?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/22/opinion/22ohanlon.html?th&emc=th

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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