I despair reading the daily reports of death and destruction. Muslim killing Muslim every day, factions at each other's throat everywhere, suicide bombers who don't care who they take with them, soldiers slain followed by joyous celebrations by gloating killers, kidnappings, threats, fear... in fact a true abyss.
Now Saddam was a brutal, evil, corrupt dictator who ruled with an iron fist, ordered killings on a large scale and wasn't averse to attacking Arab neighbours. Sadly it now seems that a brutal dictator was the only effective way of keeping a lid on the simmering hatred and division between all the various factions there. Because even at his worst... and brutal though that was... it was clearly preferable to the appalling carnage we have now in what is really a civil war.
Has the life of the ordinary Iraqi improved for the toppling of the evil Saddam? No. Does the ordinary person feel more secure? No. It was awful to hear the desperate plea from one man after yet another terrible bombing, killing men, women and children: "When will this end? When will we have peace?" The dreadful truth is that you can't see it ever ending and you can't ever see a peaceful Iraq from the present turmoil.
Iraq should never have been touched, even though Saddam was a terrible, brutal dictator... just like Mugabe is in Africa, yet he has never been touched by the West. Of course oil made the difference.
What to do now though? Pull out the allied troops and leave Iraq to sort itself out? It's just about the worst way forward in my view. I think we would then see killing fields like never before in an orgy of hatred and death during the increasing sectarian violence that would follow immediately.
The only realistic route from this mess is to let the new government try to forge a way forward, propped up by the allied troops but I'm afraid all I can see ahead is another Vietnam and Northern Ireland (magnified many thousands of times) all rolled up into one. There's no peace and no stability anywhere on the horizon although I do believe that this is what the allies want more than anything else in Iraq as the body count rises every day.
But the heartbreaking lesson that has been written in Iraq's blood is that sometimes it really is a case of better the devil (Saddam) you know....