Maybe once a week I read something about Iraq and I think, This could be a storyline from an episode of The Wire. It's partly that the war in Iraq is perhaps the only national project as misguided in conception and inept in execution as the war on drugs. It's partly the repeated images of incompatible institutions butting up against one another, and of individuals within those institutions struggling and failing to affect the situation. And then, of course, there's all the stuff from The Wire that reminds me of Iraq. (Just one example: the conflict between Stringer and Avon that's the dramatic spine of season three is a conflict between a modern capitalist culture and a premodern "respect" culture, and the way it plays out as tragedy is a perfect mirror of our tragedy in the Middle East.)

Now we learn that David Simon and Ed Burns, the geniuses behind The Wire, are making a miniseries about the early months of the Iraq War.

It's hard when someone makes one of the great works of art, because then you want their next thing to be another one. And now that they've found the perfect subject ... I can only be disappointed by this, really.

It's based on this book, which I haven't read. The bad news is that it's only seven episodes. My big hope is that it'll become open-ended, and that, just as The Wire grew from a show about cops and gangs to take in the longshore union, City Hall, the school district, and soon the media, the new show, which starts from the perspective of a Marine battalion, will incorporate ordinary Iraqis, militia fighters, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the Coalition Provisional Authority, the Iraqi Parliament, the Kurdish peshmerga, reporters with both the western press and Al Jazeera ... like I say, I can only be disappointed.