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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Today's Guest Blogger: John Bomar on A State of "Living Hell" in Iraq

SHARING a thoughtful essay by a thoughtful fellow Southerner -- who also happens to be a decorated Vietnam War veteran:

Life on the street can be the telling story of a place. In today's Iraq, at times, almost everyone needs to be someone else -- anyone but themselves. The fake ID market is booming and disguises are essential. Standing out or having the wrong name or address can get you brutally tortured and killed. With militias openly ruling many of the streets and neighborhoods in Baghdad, it is the police who must cover their faces like bandits to avoid persecution of themselves and their families. It is the world upside down.

Sunnis dare not tread in Shia neighborhoods and vice versa. No one meets the eye of another more than absolutely necessary; all try and blend in, like timid lemmings in the herd. Conversations have changed too, no longer venturing into too much detail about one's livelihood or family, especially for those working for the hated Americans. Terrorizing fears stalk the day and night like ravenous packs of wolves ready to pounce and tear your family to shreds.

Iraqi Christians can no longer attend religious services and must adopt the clothing and manners of dominant Muslims for fear of being associated with the despised occupiers. Anyone working directly for the Americans and their coveted green dollars must never divulge their employment, slinking into work incognito and taking serpentine routs back and forth to work to avoid detection. Working for the Americans can get you slaughtered.

For many Iraqis, life has become a living hell of constant trepidation and alarm, many times worse than the days under Saddam Hussein.

Their country, falsely indicted and attacked by Mr. Bush for supposed links to the 9-11 conspirators and possession of weapons that threatened the United States, has devolved into a blood filled abyss of anarchy, chaos and vengeful tribalism. Under such circumstance everyone must be instantly capable of being someone else. It is a world of deadly wits and intrigue where the wrong word or gesture can get you swept up, to never be seen again.

It is an ironic twist: Iraq has now become the three-dimensional incarnation of the Bush regime's deluded fantasies, where truth as spoken is not, and falsehood as spoken is not truth.

John R. Bomar
Arkadelphia, AR

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