Iraq After Saddam

Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad, in this April 9, 2003 file photo.
AP (file)
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Could it really be four years since we watched the statue of Saddam Hussein get pulled down in Baghdad?

I remember being on the air that day. I commented that there really weren't many people around.

Iraqis had reason to be concerned, for they knew that just because the dictator's statue had been toppled, their future was anything but certain.

Four years later, with Iraqi casualties in the tens of thousands, refugees in the hundred of thousands, still not enough electricity and long lines for gasoline, one wonders just when things will get better.

I've been an advocate of the surge if only to bring some security to the beleaguered capital. But even as U.S. troops put themselves in ever more dangerous situations, in Baghdad proper, new fighting erupts outside of town.

As an American private said in The New York Times today: "It's like a game of cat and mouse; it's just a really, really smart mouse."

Sadly, to extend the analogy, no one's come up with a better mouse trap.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith