This is a terrific piece of reporting from Spencer Ackerman, now in Baghdad. Ackerman’s interview with General Saleh–the ranking Iraqi soldier in Baghdad–is startling, but not entirely surprising. In fact, I think Saleh’s frustration with the generation that came of age during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s may be similar to the frustrations that Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has with the Iranian veterans of that war (most notably, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and his Basij buddies).
Turns out eight-year wars, featuring a heavy use of poison gas, aren’t very good for civil order. You can only despair about what’s going to emerge from the current four-year-and-counting war, which has been, if anything, more destructive to Iraq’s social infrastructure than the war against Iran was.