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April 20, 2009

Whatever Happens in Baghdad, Stays in Baghdad: City Returning to Its Old, Sinful (but Peaceful) Ways

It's not so much that sin is a good thing, so much as a state intrusive enough and ambitious enough to end sin is worse danger than any drug.

Vice is making a comeback in this city once famous for 1,001 varieties of it.

A liquor store in the Karada neighborhood of Baghdad. The stores were tolerated by Saddam Hussein but shut by militiamen after his ouster in 2003.
Gone, for the most part, are nighttime curfews, religious extremists and prowling kidnappers. So, inevitably, some people are turning to illicit pleasures, or at least slightly dubious ones.

Nightclubs have reopened, and in many of them, prostitutes troll for clients. Liquor stores, once shut down by fundamentalist militiamen, have proliferated; on one block of busy Saddoun Street, there are more than 10 of them.

...

“This is great,” Walid Brahim said. “We used to buy alcohol and just drink secretly in our house.”

The bar is men-only, as pretty much all respectable taverns are, but the brothers look forward to an even brighter future.

“If this security continues,” Farat Brahim said, “within a year all the waiters will be girls.”

And on the social cohesion provided by... whores:

One police detective said he would not dream of enforcing the law against prostitutes. “They’re the best sources we have,” said the detective, whose name is being withheld for his safety. “They know everything about JAM and Al Qaeda members,” he said, using the acronym for Jaish al-Mahdi or Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia.

The detective added that the only problem his men had was that neighbors got the wrong idea when detectives visited the houses where prostitutes were known to live. They really do just want to talk, he said.

“If I had my way, I’d destroy all the mosques and spread the whores around a little more,” the detective said. “At least they’re not sectarian.”



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posted by Ace at 05:40 PM

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