Iraqi Hope Dies Last
BAGHDAD – Ten years have passed since Saddam Hussein was removed from power, following more than three decades of tyrannical rule. The dream of Iraqis after Saddam’s fall was to build a new, prosperous, and democratic Iraq. A country at peace with itself and its neighbors, with a constitution upholding basic human rights and the rule of law, was the desire of almost everyone.
But the United States and its allies, lacking a coherent vision of Iraq’s future, much less a sound policy for the post-Saddam era, declared Iraq an occupied country, with a US-appointed administrator to run the country, who soon decided to dismantle all existing security, military, and media institutions. He also introduced a de-Baathification law, which evicted members of the Baath Party from official positions without legal recourse, paving the way for sectarianism and, ultimately, communal violence and unrest.
These unfortunate – and ultimately disastrous – events established an unstable foundation in a strategic country at the core of a highly troubled yet vital region of the world. As Iraq moved through progressive phases of mismanagement over the subsequent ten agonizing years, the country fractured, shattering the dreams of Iraqis who saw their beloved homeland once again sliding toward authoritarianism, with almost daily violations of the constitution. The world watched, seemingly helpless to do anything.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one to read two commentaries for free? Log in