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American Prospects

Solving (or Not) a Problem Like the Middle East

July 2, 2013

When George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union address in 2005, a number of Republican members of Congress showed up with a finger colored purple, in solidarity with the Iraqi voters who were required to dip their fingers in ink upon leaving the polls. Iraq had held an election, the purple digits testified, and therefore invading two years prior had been a swell idea, the transition to democracy was on its way, and everything would turn out great.

The triumphalism turned out to be a bit premature; thousands of Americans were still to die there, not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and the country is riven by religious strife a

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