The following is an excerpt from a dispatch written by William Langewiesche to his editors in June of this year (2006) and published in the September issue of Vanity Fair magazine. I was unable to find the full text online but will watch for it and post link if/when I find it.
“The government is hardly a government at all. There is some small hope–a last, residual hope–that the new prime minister may be able to pull things together, and through force (rather than conciliation) keep the civil war from growing. Nobody really expects it to happen, and they give him at most a few months. Afterward? The middle class is trying desperately to get passports and take refuge elsewhere, especially in Damascus and Amman. Meanwhile, a small group of elected officials and high bureaucrats, most interested mainly in stealing as much as they can before they escape the country, huddle in the Green Zone, protected by American forces, going through the motions of governing. The money they take comes for the most part from the United States, though apparently the on-again, off-again oil production is also making some people very rich. On every level corruption here is pervasive, inescapable, and beyond anyone’s ability to contain.”