Riverbend is a 24 year old computer programmer. Like over 65% of Iraq, she is also unemployed. When working at her former employer during the days of Saddam, she'd come in to work in jeans and a T-shirt, but now that Saddam isn't there to surpress the religious extremists, not only is she no longer welcome at her former employer, she can't even go out in public without bodyguards to keep her from getting beaten or raped.
She may be unemployed, but fortunately she's a talented writer who does a great job at ripping into the absolutely screwed up nature of modern Iraq. Really, though, I have to wonder why she stays. No one in the Bush administration ever said that womens rights in Iraq would slip backwards 50 years, but do you think that the US will act against the self-appointed morality police who are roaming the street, firebombing stores that sell alcohol and attacking unescorted women? I don't think so. If anyone ever cracks down on the "non-violent" (i.e. not attacking our troops yet) fundamentalists, it will be the next Iraqi government, and it will be after the US leave. And it will probably lead to a bloodbath.
Bush says that he'll never retreat over Iraq... which means he'll need to manufacture some sort of "transfer of power" so that he can send the troops home before it costs him the presidency. Maybe he'll fob Iraq off on the UN, but will they be stupid enough to take it without demanding more say as to what goes on? Doubtful.
So, who will control Iraq in the longterm?! A weak, pro-US Iraqi coalition government, possibly backed up by the UN... or the fundamentalists? Place your bets now, and be sure to get a seat a few rows back unless you want to be splattered by the gore.
Apparently, we're fighting the war on terrorism in Iraq in order to avoid terrorism at home. Doesn't that sound a lot like fighting the war on communism in Vietnam? So, why is it that when Vietnam fell, the domino theory didn't come true? Why aren't the communists on our doorsteps?! Could it be that we weren't really fighting "the international communist conspiracy", but were fighting the Vietnamese people instead?
One wonders what that says about Iraq.