Iraq: Mission (not yet) accomplished

Yesterday marked a milestone: U.S. troops pulled out of the towns and cities in Iraq and moved to rural bases. The goal is to be out entirely by 2012. (See today’s Washington Post for a great summation.)

Although this is arguably one of the biggest stories of the week, it’s been largely ignored—especially when compared to the live, 24-hour coverage the media gave the beginning of the war.

I know it’s difficult to compete with the compelling footage of distant explosions as missiles find their targets. But I think this development may actually be more important.

For better or worse, we’ve changed the course of a nation’s history. Iraq is now teetering precariously on the fence between democracy and sectarian chaos. As big promoters of democracy, you’d think Americans would be more interested.

Unfortunately, I offer no insights—but I’ll be thinking about Iraq on July 4. As we celebrate our independence and democracy, let’s not forget others who are struggling to establish their own.

This also seems like a fitting opportunity to acknowledge my former Strib—and current Polaris Images—colleague, Max Becherer. His images from his two years on assignment in Iraq are absolutely stunning.

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