Brad watches the women dipping sewer water from the street. The barricades keep everyone from moving. Everyone is armed. Because the police stations and the armories have been emptied, an AK now costs the same as about two packages of cigarettes. Nate stares at the translator, Evan's eyes go wide. "Those from an outlying neighborhood have set up a mortar behind the mosque, and at night, they shoot mortars at random." The men start yelling about it, and Nate nods. "You've taken the country apart. You're not putting it back together. The violence that goes on at night, letting vigilantes and thieves out, will not correct the problems of Saddam's rule. All this... is a bomb. If it explodes, it will be bigger than the war."
And when it does, it will be. They will come to your house, like wolves at the door. And every time we play this out, every time we fuck up the endgame, as Charlie Wilson said, they will come calling. They're invited; if you take away a man's house, you offer your own. That golden ladder reaching down? It goes up, too. The problem wasn't American foresight of terrorist plans, because the thing about terrorist plans is that they exist only in the margins of the safeguards you set. It only ever happens at the edge of vision. Lock down the roads and they come by air, lock up the planes and they'll walk across the border: it's how terrorism works. It's why terrorism works. And we keep begging for it. Lots of good intentions, not a lot of follow-through: and we don't get it, and we keep doing it, because rhetoric aside we're not there for regime change: we're there to ratfuck. We're not looking at the people because they're just a distraction: that's at the edge of vision too.