"The war in Iraq has had a profound and divisive effect on America’s national culture and yet remains, paradoxically, absent from our collective experience. For the nation that waged it, it was the invisible war, a conflict that came into focus only intermittently, and even then, without the immediacy with which previous generations lived through conflicts in Vietnam and Korea."

The War We Couldn’t See
by Christian Caryl

Photo: US troops in Baghdad, Iraq, May 16, 2008 (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

"The war in Iraq has had a profound and divisive effect on America’s national culture and yet remains, paradoxically, absent from our collective experience. For the nation that waged it, it was the invisible war, a conflict that came into focus only intermittently, and even then, without the immediacy with which previous generations lived through conflicts in Vietnam and Korea."

The War We Couldn’t See by Christian Caryl

Photo: US troops in Baghdad, Iraq, May 16, 2008 (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Most of the time, the world outside America consisted of three Is and (toward the end) a single C: the threat of a nuclear Iran, the need to stand with Israel, the wisdom of going into Iraq nearly a decade ago and of maintaining a troop presence there now, and finally the menace of job-stealing, currency-manipulating China. Europe surfaced just once, and then only in a list of regions where the US had strong alliances, alongside Africa and Asia. India, home to a billion people and a rising power, was mentioned not at all.
Jonathan Freedland, America Forgets the World

Anthony Shadid died while on assignment for The New York Times in Syria on February 16. The following account of the January 2005 Iraqi elections, taken from his book Night Draws Near, published in August of that year, shows his characteristically acute observations about the prospects for democracy in the Middle East, while conveying his own hopes and foreboding about Iraq’s future.