Jon Lee Anderson, who has been writing about Iraq in The New Yorker for a decade, on this week’s President Barack Obama address to his nation:
“I listened to President Obama’s address from the Oval Office last night with very mixed emotions … When I heard him say, ‘America has met its responsibilities, now it’s time to turn the page, I winced … America has most clearly not met its responsibilities on behalf of the Iraqis, most of whom had no say in the warfare we brought to them seven years ago. We leave them a Saddam-free Iraq, yes, but with a bruised and battered society and a dysfunctional government which may — or may not — survive our troops’ phased withdrawal from the the country at the end of 2011.
“But Obama’s speech was not about the Iraqis, or really for them, either; it was directed at his American audience. Obama spoke about the great sacrifice Americans had made, in lives lost and money spent, and it is true, the price has been great. But just a quiet reminder, then, for the following facts may come back to haunt us: for every one American life lost in Iraq since 2003, the Iraqis have given twenty-five; and few nations in modern times have had their national patrimony as thoroughly trashed and looted as Iraq’s has — under our watch.”