The recent suicide bombing in the southern Iraqi city of Al Hilla was, sadly, nothing new. Watching the news here with Iraqi friends, I thought I knew what would happen next, since it had happened often enough before I left Iraq eight months ago, when the United States handed over sovereignty to an Iraqi interim government. Then, the Iraqis standing around the bank of televisions in our offices would have turned to me, the representative American, asking why we could not get security under control.
This time, however, the same Iraqi friends ignored me and instead participated in a protest: the first Iraqi-organized mass public protest, some 2,000 strong, in the 23 months since the fall of Saddam’s regime. “The Americans” were no longer an address for frustration or salvation. Welcome to postelection Iraq.
He goes on to detail five areas of dramatic change in Iraq:
Checkpoints and security
The Iraqi press