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That's Washington Post reporter, Anthony Shadid's description of the almost indescribable anarchy and carnage unleashed by the American invasion of Iraq:

"There was civil-war-style sectarian killing, its echoes in Lebanon a generation ago. Alongside it were gangland turf battles over money, power and survival; a raft of political parties and their militias fighting a zero-sum game; a raging insurgency; the collapse of authority; social services a chimera; and no way forward for an Iraqi government ordered to act by Americans who themselves are still seen as the final arbiter and, as a result, still depriving that government of legitimacy. Civil war was perhaps too easy a term, a little too tidy."

For good measure, we now discover that this anarchy has found a way to sustain itself financially for an indefinite period of time:

"A classified United States government report ... obtained by The New York Times, estimates that armed groups responsible for many of the insurgent and terrorist attacks across Iraq are raising between $70 million and $200 million a year from illegal activities. It says that between $25 million and $100 million of the total comes from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry that is aided by 'corrupt and complicit' Iraqi government officials.

As much as $36 million a year comes from ransoms paid to save thousands of kidnapping victims in Iraq, the report said. It estimates that unnamed foreign governments — previously identified by senior American officials in Iraq as including France and Italy — paid Iraqi kidnappers an estimated $30 million in ransom last year."

Remember that only lasy month vice-president Dick Cheney was opining that the Maliki government was doing "remarkably well." These people cannot even lie competently, can they?

(Photo: Karim Kadim/AP.)

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