There are many Iraqis whose confidence can make a real difference in the immediate future — like entrepreneurs considering new investments, wealthy merchants wondering whether to keep their families here and ordinary Iraqis wondering whether they can safely enter political life. For them, the American military's inability to assure the safety of one of its most senior officials is a frightening sign.
The United States is doing everything it can to fight their fears. All over the city, the occupying authorities have put up large billboards featuring bucolic scenes of date palms arched over a river bank. Inspirational messages are splashed over the pretty pictures. "Baghdad is getting better," says one.
carjackings massive coordinate bombing attacks, folks. Look to the billboards!
More: One final thought on Monday's carnage (first reported after this entry was first posted): there's a lot of questioning on the air, this morning, about why the guerillas who target these attacks would target the Red Cross/Red Crescent. Well, one brutal, cold-blooded, but -- in my non-expert opinion -- rational reason might be this:
They want the occupation to fail. Start from that -- that much is clear, at any rate. They have also seen how the Americans are running things -- clumsy, high-handed, disorganized, and not doing all that well. It seems to me, as I said last week, that we won't succeed without help. If it seems that way to them as well, then it is in their interest to discourage outside aid to the Americans, from wherever it seems to be coming, and wait for the collapse...