Sep 13, 2006

Downtown Baghdad

It's like Washington, DC with IEDs.
BAGHDAD — Death squads move with impunity after curfew. Abductions are rampant, but kidnappers are rarely caught. Corruption has poisoned every layer of government, yet few have faced criminal charges.

Double-park a car on a Baghdad street, however, and you can be sure of this: The law will hunt you down.

Abdel Nasser, a 32-year-old traffic officer, describes himself as a "mujahid," or holy warrior, battling evildoers in a city without signs, traffic lights or speed limits. In this pandemonium of sputtering wrecks and speeding U.S. military Humvees, directing the flow of traffic is a religious duty, he said.
Not to make light of the situation in Baghdad, but during my brief sojourn in Washington, we couldn't get our garbage picked up, violent crime was rampant and beggars would verbally assault commuters leaving and entering Union Station. But go one minute over on a parking meter and you paid. Through the nose.

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