The air is heavy, dusty and the sun usually does not shine through the thick haze - a Hollywood-like special effect. The Baghdad gulag has the feel of an eerie version of post-apocalyptic Los Angeles - dusty and dead instead of glitzy palm trees, living-dead characters covered by a thick layer of sand and soot. The urban tissue is of a dissected cadaver - filthy, exposed parts separated from one another, fear and loathing impressed on blood, sweat, tears and viscera.
This is the real face of Bush's surgeland.
The UN has done next to nothing to help these millions of exiled Iraqis - not to mention the wealthy Arab emirates, or the Wahhabi millionaires in Saudi Arabia. After the total implosion of social life, Iraq has reverted to pre-modernity. Baghdad, once the pride of Islam, has reverted to the status of the saddest, most desperate of global capitals. No wonder the motto - even from secular, well-educated Shi'ites - is ubiquitous: "Iraq is finished."
So no one can say that half a trillion dollars - so far - courtesy of US taxpayers, has not served a clear "creative destruction" purpose. And this is only the hors d'oeuvres. The Baghdad gulag is yet to reach full fruition. Iraq will be finished one mini-Green Zone at a time.