Bridging these two Iraqs is U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, whose penchant for candor has repeatedly undermined the man in the Oval Office.
Khalilzad recently sent a long cable to the State Department stating that:
* Women are being increasingly harrassed, including being made to wear a veil, told not to use cell phones or drive a car. Men who wear shorts or jeans have come under attack from "what staff members describe as Wahabis and Sadrists."
* Different neighborhoods are controlled by different militias, and staff members have to be careful to dress and speak differently in each one. "People no longer trust most neighbors." Even the upscale Mansur district is now an "unrecognizable ghost town." A newspaper editor reports that ethnic cleansing is taking place in virtually every Iraqi province.
* Electricity is available for only a few hours a day and fuel lines can require waits as long as 12 hours. An exception is buildings where government employees live, which sometimes get electricity around the clock.
* Being known as an embassy employee "is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people."
* "Objectivity, civility, and logic" from embassy staff members are becoming harder to come by as pressure outside the Green Zone increases. The embassy can't get good information if people become too scared to speak honestly.
You can download Khalilzad's memo here.