Dexter Filkins* today.
In 2003, when American troops first rolled into Baghdad, they destroyed the Iraqi state and its institutions; for the next eight and a half years they tried to build something to replace it. The truth is that the political system imposed on the Iraqis has never worked very well without substantial U.S. involvement; since the Americans left, it hasn’t worked at all. American diplomats and military advisers can’t save Iraq and they can’t govern it, but the decision by President Obama to return to Iraq amounts to a recognition that there was work left unfinished. It’s likely to be a long and difficult job
*Filkins reported from the onset of Iraq War in March of 2003 through 2006. In 2009, he won the Pulitzer Prize as part of a team of New York Times reporters in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
His book recounting those years – Forever War – is stunning and should be read by anyone who wants to see our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan up close. Reviews almost universally described it as a classic in the tradition of witness, a true account from the type of war correspondent rarely seen these days.
LA Times said it “is likely to be regarded as the definitive account of how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were experienced by those who actually waged them.” That’s about right.