Betrayed: The Iraqis who trusted America the most

For a look at the people who are directly and personally affected by the Iraqi maelstrom, BETRAYED is compelling article in the New Yorker by correspondent George Packer.

Governments are uniquely qualified to tell us what they think of each other. The unit of power brokerage here is the great malleable blocks of people – the interest group. Thus, new Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki can give us his call on what the Sunnis are really doing, or the Shia, and we can generally believe he means it. Washington conservatives can tell us what they think of liberals, or liberals, of conservatives, or even of Maliki brokerage efforts, and we can generally believe they mean it.

What governments are not good at doing is speaking for how their actions actually impact real individuals in the target groups. Thus, if Washington prognosticates that a tax bill will bring relief to the long-suffering poor and middle class, even those of us who only get our news from The Simpsons know that here, we are expected to wink knowingly at each other and go on suffering.

So, what does this mini-ed have to do with the plight of ordinary Iraqi citizens? If you want to know how they’re impacted, go to the media, not the government. Work to keep the media free, warts and all.

If you are attuned to getting what you expect to hear out of the George Packer article, it’s a long article and you might have difficulty getting past the first couple of pages. In my case, there is a vacuum of news about ordinary people in Iraq. I had difficulty putting the article down to eat dinner.


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