Your Chance of Being Kidnapped or Killed in Baghdad is 100%
by Cenk Uygur [dailykos]
Sat Sep 08, 2007 at 04:36:27 PM CDT
We were talking to Newsweek's correspondent in Baghdad, Babak Dehghanpisheh, on Friday's show. I asked him if a Westerner, journalists or otherwise, could walk around in Baghdad unprotected by the military. He said it would be "suicidal."
I don't really know what I expected. I knew it was dangerous and I suspected that no Westerner went outside of the Green Zone without protection, but I didn't get the sense of how perilous it was until we talked to Dehghanpisheh.
So, I followed up by asking him if being harmed was a certainty if you were unprotected in Baghdad. He answered that your chances of getting killed or kidnapped in Baghdad if you were an unprotected Westerner was "one hundred percent."
Think about that. That's amazing. The Bush administration claims that they have made significant progress in Baghdad security. If anyone had told you that four and a half years into the Iraq War, that any Westerner who walked around Baghad without a military convoy would have a 100% of being kidnapped or killed in Baghdad, what would you have thought?
You probably would not have believed it. You might have asked, "What happened, did we lose the war?" You certainly wouldn't have surmised that we were making progress.
Imagine if someone told you of all the Americans who had died and been injured in the war, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed, the fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam Hussein had no links to the 9/11 bombers, that Iraq was in a state of chaos, there was mass ethnic cleansingand sectarian warfare and Baghdad was 100% unsafe to Westerners - then imagine that the Bush administration was still talking about how we were making great progress in the war and that it was still worth doing. And then imagine that people took them seriously.
I don't think the people inside Washington have a sense of how awful this war has gone. It is an unimaginable failure. It is a historic and epic catastrophe. And here we are this far into it with politicians still talking about winning and saying it was the right thing to do to go in and that if we just stay a little longer and keep escalating the conflict we can turn it around.
I don't think any Congressman should be able to vote to continue this war unless they can take an unprotected walk in Baghdad for fifteen minutes. Put the voting booth in the middle of Baghdad, give them some purple ink and any Congressman who can make it to the voting area without a military escort and vote yes to continue the war should have their vote counted.
Even with all that we have seen, is the American public fully aware of the situation in Baghdad? Has the media done its job in making them aware? Is everyone in America aware that Baghdad is off limits to any Westerner, that you will be kidnapped or killed if you don't have protection there? How could anyone who knows this think we have made any progress in Baghdad? How could anyone conclude that the war and the so-called surge have been anything but a complete and utter failure?
You can watch the whole interview with Babak Dehghanpisheh of Newsweek (and read the transcript) here.