The Corner

The End of the Movie?

In a below post, I quoted from an Iraq journal I wrote in 2008. I would like to do some more quoting — not so much of myself as of Ryan Crocker, who was the U.S. ambassador in Iraq during the period (and later played the same role in Afghanistan). In the next-to-last installment of that journal, I wrote,

And before we leave the room, I ask a standard journalistic question: “Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there anything you wish people could know?” [Crocker] says yes, actually: and gives what, to me, is a very moving and impassioned statement — an impassioned statement from an understated, careful, and, from what I can tell, cool man:

“Iraq is really, really important. How things go here will transform the region and America’s role in the region, one way or the other. If Iraq is successful in establishing itself as a democracy, where the rule of law is paramount, that will be something remarkable for the region.” America will be judged, as well as Iraq: “Ultimately, how we leave and what we leave behind will be more important than how we got here.”

Crocker continues, “People are tired of Iraq. They say, ‘Let’s get it over and done with. We don’t want to watch the Iraq movie anymore.’ But the Iraq movie will go on for many more reels, with or without us. And it will have a big effect on us, whether we like it or not.”

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