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Robbet ved høylys dag i Irak

Thomas L. Friedman er i Irak og fikk oppleve de lovløse tilstandene på kroppen. Det er rett og slett ikke nok soldater til å sørge for sikkerheten:

I was in a five-car convoy that was robbed in broad daylight on Monday morning just outside Baghdad. We were on the only highway linking Iraq to Jordan — the country’s lifeline — when several BMW’s with masked men, armed with AK-47’s, ambushed us under a bridge. These «Ali Babas» blocked the road, pointed guns at our faces and demanded our cash (no credit cards!). They made off with thousands of dollars, which maybe they’ll just keep, or maybe they’ll use to pay people to kill U.S. soldiers. Who knows? I do know we drove for two more hours before we ran into the soldiers of a U.S. patrol and told them what had happened.

«Sorry,» the sergeant said, «we just don’t have enough people.»

Et annet ord Friedman hører titt og ofte som beskriver situasjonen er ydmykelse. Han beskriver en situasjon som leder til en slik følelse:

I just watched a scene at the checkpoint at the July 14 Bridge, which leads to the huge U.S. compound in the heart of Baghdad. U.S. soldiers kept telling Iraqi women — who were coming to work for the U.S. forces! — that they could not enter because no female U.S. soldiers were available to search them. It is 120 degrees here. To wait in line for 30 minutes and then be told you have to go across the city to a different gate produces humiliation and rage, and eventually grenades tossed at Americans. I saw it in the eyes of those Iraqi women and their husbands as they drove away.

Amerikanerne gjør en masse bra ting. Det er den idealistiske siden av amerikansk makt, som USA får så lite uttelling for i Europa og andre steder. Politifolk læres opp til å respektere menneskerettigheter f.eks. Men det ville være tragisk om Irak går fløyten bare fordi man nøler for lenge med å sette inn nok ressurser. Utviklingen i Afghanistan er illevarslende.

Power and Peril