The New York Times observes the fifth year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by publishing various articles, graphics and photographs. The main slideshow is entitled The Baiji Refinery in Iraq with photographs by Eros Hoagland and is on the largest oil refinery in Iraq. The US military believes that at least one-third, and possibly much more, of the fuel from the refinery, is diverted to the black market, and funding the insurgency. Hence the need for our soldiers to take the role of policemen and custom officials.
The accompanying article contains some depressing news, such as reports that "at least 91,000 Iraqis, many of them former enemies of the American forces, receive a regular, American-paid salary for serving in neighborhood militias." In essence, we're paying Iraqis to defend and protect their own country.
Another article Five Years by the incomparable John F Burns has this sobering final sentence: " It is small credit to the invasion, after all it has cost, that Iraqis should arrive at a point when all they want from America is a return to something, stability, that they had under Saddam.