The End of a Bad Idea

It challenges the imagination to believe that anything good could come out of such an awful time in Iraq. But as U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi tries to build a interim government that can help deliver the country from the chaos of Baghdad, the rubble of Fallujah and the gruesome images of Abu Ghraib, it's clear that a bad idea has died. That is something.

The idea was neo-imperialism. In the past few years it has become fashionable in the U.S. to think that failed states could be reformed by the imposition from...

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