Friday, December 8, 2023

A Stranger In Your Own City

Saddam Hussein ruled over Iraq for decades before the US toppled his regime. What happened after the centralized state was dismantled can serve as an eye-opening lesson. In A Stranger in Your Own City, stories from a wide variety of Iraqis tell the tale of how Iraqi society reacted to the regime change.

I appreciated how many different points of view there were, as the book was written by a local journalist who traveled through Iraq to get these stories. You can't really nail down one reason why many of these people chose violence in the weeks and months and years after Hussein's ousting; each person is motivated by his own circumstances, and they are all different.

One can't help but feel there was a wasted opportunity here. The author blames a lack of planning on the part of the Americans for what to do after the destruction of Iraq's government, and I don't know enough to either disagree or agree with that. But it's hard to believe there wasn't a path to a better outcome, considering how well for example Japan bounced back following a major change at the end of World War II.

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