But Dr. Naqib, a 46-year-old Sunni dentist who opposed Mr. Hussein, will not vote Sunday when Iraqis will have their first opportunity in a generation to participate in an election with no predetermined outcome. It is, he said, far too dangerous when insurgent groups have warned that they will kill anybody who approaches a polling station.
Starkly put, Baghdad is not under control, either by the Iraqi interim government or the American military.
On the bright spring day in April 2003 when marines helped topple Mr. Hussein's statue in Firdos Square, Baghdad, more than any other place in Iraq, was the place American commanders hoped to make a showcase for the benefits the invasion would bring.
Instead, daily life here has become a deadly lottery, a place so fraught with danger that one senior American military officer acknowledged at a briefing last month that nowhere in the area assigned to his troops could be considered safe.
"I would definitely say it's enemy territory," said Col. Stephen R. Lanza, the commander of the Fifth Brigade Combat Team, a unit of the First Cavalry Division that is responsible for patrolling a wide area of southern Baghdad with a population of 1.3 million people.
<cue loser right-wingers talking about 'freedom on the march'>
I think U.S. troops are tired of getting shot up and are refusing, either explicitly or using more creative methods, to go on suicide patrols. They're starting to see that this whole war was a play for Iraq's oil. And though they're still dedicated to Bush, they don't necessarily want to lose their balls for the man. Guess not having the daily dose of Fox really allows one to start thinking clearly...