THE GREEN REPUBLIC….There’s always something worth excerpting in Riverbend’s occasional posts from Baghdad, and her latest is no exception. Today she talks about water, electricity, sandstorms, indiscriminate roundups of opposition Sunni and Shia clerics, and the Green Zone:

What people find particularly frustrating is the fact that while Baghdad seems to be falling apart in so many ways with roads broken and pitted, buildings blasted and burnt out and residential areas often swimming in sewage, the Green Zone is flourishing.

….A friend who recently got involved working with an Iraqi subcontractor who takes projects inside of the Green Zone explained that it was more than that. The Green Zone, he told us, is a city in itself. He came back awed, and more than a little bit upset. He talked of designs and plans being made for everything from the future US Embassy and the housing complex that will surround it, to restaurants, shops, fitness centers, gasoline stations, constant electricity and water ? a virtual country inside of a country with its own rules, regulations and government. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Republic of the Green Zone, also known as the Green Republic.

?The Americans won?t be out in less than ten years.? Is how the argument often begins with the friend who has entered the Green Republic. ?How can you say that?? Is usually my answer ? and I begin to throw around numbers ? 2007, 2008 maximum… Could they possibly want to be here longer? Can they afford to be here longer? At this, T. shakes his head ? if you could see the bases they are planning to build ? if you could see what already has been built ? you?d know that they are going to be here for quite a while.

That’s the view from a moderate, English-speaking Baghdad blogger, anyway. I can only imagine the view from those of somewhat less moderate temperament.