Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The New Iraq

As this is all over the news today, it seems like too easy a target. Tom DeLay, our fearless House Majority Leader, likens life in Iraq to living in Houston:

"You know, if Houston, Texas were held to the same standard as Iraq is held to, nobody would go to Houston, because all this reporting coming our of the local press in Houston is violence, murders, robberies, deaths on the highways.

And if you took that as the image of what is a great city that has an incredible quality of life and an incredible economy, it is amazing to me.

Go to Iraq. And see what is actually happening there.
everybody that comes from Iraq is amazed at the difference of what they see on the ground and what they see on the television set."

In response to Mr. DeLay's utopian image of Iraq, I give you - Today in Iraq, Iraq Occupation Watch, and Baghdad Burning. If anything like this were happening anywhere in the United States, it would be called the worst acts of terrorism on US soil since this country's inception. Houston metropolitan area is around five million people, about the same as Greater Baghdad. Today in Baghdad, multiple car bombs killed 30 people wounded 60 more. If this were happening in Houston, what do you think Mr. DeLay's constituency would be doing right now? And if the local press did not report on the situation, what would they say to their beloved leader and to the world? Good call Tom, our quality of life is incredible, no worries. Good decision Houston Chronicle and local network TV affiliates, reporting on the death and destruction could hurt tourism and ruin our incredible economy, stay the course!

Riverbend, of Baghdad Burning hits the nail on the head:

"What people find particularly frustrating is the fact that while Baghdad seems to be falling apart in so many ways with roads broken and pitted, buildings blasted and burnt out and residential areas often swimming in sewage, the Green Zone is flourishing. The walls surrounding restricted areas housing Americans and Puppets have gotten higher- as if vying with the tallest of date palms for height. The concrete reinforcements and road blocks designed to slow and impede traffic are now a part of everyday scenery- the road, the trees, the shops, the earth, the sky? and the ugly concrete slabs sometimes wound insidiously with barbed wire price of building materials has gone up unbelievably, in spite of the fact that major reconstruction has not yet begun. I assumed it was because so much of the concrete and other building materials was going to reinforce the restricted areas. A friend who recently got involved working with an Iraqi subcontractor who takes projects inside of the Green Zone explained that it was more than that. The Green Zone, he told us, is a city in itself. He came back awed, and more than a little bit upset. He talked of designs and plans being made for everything from the future US Embassy and the housing complex that will surround it, to restaurants, shops, fitness centers, gasoline stations, constant electricity and water- a virtual country inside of a country with its own rules, regulations and government. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Republic of the Green Zone, also known as the Green Republic."

Tom DeLay sees only the Green Zone, and pretends that it represents what is going on in the rest of Iraq.

In a lot of ways the Green Republic exemplifies what Bush and the Conservative Christian Right are creating here in the United States as well. If you are one of the chosen, life is beautiful, undisturbed by the problems in the economy like the growing deficit and unemployment, the housing bubble and soaring gasoline prices, the healthcare crisis and growing class and income inequities. They condemn the press for reporting negative news or problems, ignore the voices of the unrepresented and underserved, and when one day violence breaks out in Houston on the scale of Baghdad today, they will send in the National Guard to quell the violence and wonder how everything went so terribly wrong. Maybe we are living in the New Iraq and just don't know it yet.