Sorry for the lapse in posts. I left Iraq to visit Istanbul and Beirut before heading back here via Kuwait. In Kuwait I covered the President's visit to the small oil-rich nation.
It was an odd experience. Companies took out full-page ads emblazoned with the U.S. and Kuwaiti flag and the words "friends forever." Newspaper columnists lauded the deep friendship between the two nations while imploring the President to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In the Crowne Plaza, where the traveling White House press corps stayed, the reason for that uncompromising friendship was apparent. The hotel was among those looted when Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard invaded the nation on August 2, 1990. The lobby was completely burned and a small glass case carries melted telephones, ashen typewriters and artillery casings that the Republican Guard left as they pulled out.
The lobby was completely renovated but a strip of ashen black remains on one hotel balcony as a reminder of those seven months.
In January of 1991 the U.S. military intervened and within weeks the Republican Guard had pulled out.
But the memories are still here. To this day Kuwaiti channels and radio stations refuse to play the music of any of Iraq's musicians. Relics from the war are preserved throughout Kuwait City.
But popular support for the war next door has waned. While Saddam Hussein's capture and execution were welcomed in Kuwait the deterioration of a nation caught people off guard.
A Kuwaiti friend explained it to me in simple terms.
"Before they had water, now they do not. Before they had electricity now they do not, before they had security now they do not," she said. "This was not liberation or democracy.”
Her mother sat nearby.
"They liberated us after they gave Iraq the green light to invade,” she said. “This is not friendship.”