“Again and again in New Orleans, as in Baghdad, the White House seems to be fatally detached from reality. In both places there is an inability to take on board bad news. A politically moderate Iraqi businessmen told me this week how he’d met a delegation of neo-conservatives from the Heritage Foundation in Washington at the time of the elections in Iraq.
“He explained to them that he would not vote because the poll would be just an ethnic or sectarian headcount of Kurds, Shia and Sunni which would increase hostility between communities. The war would get worse. My friend recalled that as he tried to explain the reality of Iraq to these Republican true believers, their faces became steadily more hostile. “They really were people who saw any disagreement with Bush as a sign of hostility to the US,” he reflected sadly.
“A striking feature of Baghdad is that for all the billions of dollars spent here since the fall of Saddam there is hardly a new building under construction. Nobody knows what happened to the money, vastly greater than that supposedly purloined by Saddam under UN sanctions which has been so assiduously investigated in New York. Most of Baghdad is getting four hours of electricity blackout and two hours’ erratic supply before the cuts begin again.”