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Baghdad is coming back to life

A Guardian headline spotted today:


The complete story is here.

Basically, and especially in recent months, things are improving.

The story ends thus:

Six months ago Bradt Travel Guides published what was probably the first postwar guidebook for Baghdad. If you do not enjoy Iraq’s capital, at least appreciate the residents, it said.

“They are a justifiably proud people, whose city was the capital of the world when London was an overgrown village and Columbus several centuries away from America.

“War has not destroyed this and western condescension is met with the scorn it deserves.”

So, whatever happens, the West is still wrong. It would not be the Guardian if there was no defeat to snatch from the jaws of the victory they dreaded, but are now having to concede.

5 comments to Baghdad is coming back to life

  • Della

    Baghdad was recently voted the worst city in the world, it would be difficult for it to get worse because it got only ~21% of the score of the next worst city in the world (Bangui)…and it’s score is just so low that I don’t think it can really go any lower. So to be optimistic I guess things might improve there, and if Baghdad gets five times better then one day it might become the second worst city in the world.

  • Thomas J. Jackson

    I served in Baghdad and someone who served in Moscow compared the two and found that Baghdad lacked Moscow’s “charm” but had palm trees. Moscow’s theaters did well in comparison to the summary street executions on Saddoun Street.

  • Hank Scorpio

    As a proud Detroiter I take exception to anyone saying their city is worse than mine. Detroit will always and forever be that record holder.

  • DMS

    Let’s hope that the trend continues and we (the West) are able, by some pluck but more luck, to leave Iraq a better place than we found it. (There is little I detest more than antiwar types who take glee in every setback etc etc.)

    But can we agree (and I wish I had time to hear the answers) that wars such as the Iraq war are not a good model for future political action as they are a “high risk strategy for achieving” (in this case) the transformation of someone else’s country?

    The odd discontinuity in this debate about the War (and this post is yet another justification for it) is that no one — not even die-hard Iraq War Enthusiasts — have the nerve to suggest that the War offers a good model for destroying other viscious dictatorships.

  • Findlay Dunachie


    Let’s not talk about “we (the West)”: it was the US and, giving some help, the UK, with plenty of opposition in both countries and bitter opposition from “Old Europe” and the usual suspects. If the “West” had been united it would probably have been a different story.

    And let’s not talk about “Enthusiasts”. It took six months (was it?) of argy-bargy at the UN (Blair’s idea, remember) before the invasion started. No – “There was No Alternative” was more the mood. The actual alternative – if anyone can remember: after an eleven-year standoff, an enormous victory for Saddam Hussain as America backed down, withdrew troops all in readiness for months, sanctions abandoned – and possibly Kuwait and the no-fly zones. That’s what the anti-war people would have achieved. Plus an encouragement of Al-Quaida types, convinced of American cowardice and decadence.

    Power – such as America has – is only a threat if those threatened with it believe it will ultimately be used. On occasion – especially after long periods of non-use – it may have to be used. The longer the delay, the more convincingly it must be used. In the end, in war.

    As someone said “Diplomacy is demands, with threats attached.” And the threats must be credible. The same applies to “Negotiations”. Without the credible threats Diplomacy = I give in.