The Iraqis I see in Baghdad this week bear little resemblance to those I met before the 1991 Gulf War. The same faces, yes; the same names: Sadoun, Ala, Sa'ad, Mahoud, middle-class government officials, merchants, staffers at international companies. Right after the Gulf War, these were the people the U.S. hoped, maybe expected, would overthrow Saddam Hussein. But the political discontent I saw then seems to have dissipated. Now, after enduring rigorous economic sanctions that have stripped away their wealth, the educated merchant class has settled into numb resignation. The dinar has been devalued to one five-hundredth of its previous value:...

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