Hitchens in Iraq..
You can't find more honest reporting in Iraq than Christopher Hitchens.
If there is a flickering pulse that holds any of this together, it is kept going by two sources. The first is the astonishing actual and potential wealth of the country. The budget negotiations, which were occupying all parties during my visit, were to discuss the allocation of more than $41 billion. This is not a paper figure: New oil fields are being prospected in parts of the country that haven't been explored yet, and there is no reason in principle why Iraq could not be one of the most prosperous countries on earth. For the moment, feuding sects use their control over ministries to enrich their own supporters, but even the most blinkered tribalist can glimpse the idea that a shared country would be more beneficial to each than a shattered one. The second source of life is the presence of the coalition, where yet again even the most hard-line factionalist will admit that as bad as things are, they would be instantly worse (and instantly worse for his own group) in the case of a withdrawal. These facts are stubborn: The idea that we could even consider abandoning such a keystone state, and so many decent people, to the forces of the faith-based is as inhumane as it is unrealistic.