Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Long Read: 15 Years And A World Apart

As we now approach 15 years since September 11, 2001, this week's Sunday Long Read is Scott Anderson's sweeping magnum opus in the NY Times Magazine on how Iraq came apart and took the rest of the Middle East with it. It is the story of how the cosmically awful and morally indefensible actions of Bush 43 and the multiple failures to fix the problem by Obama during that time affected the ground level view of the mayhem we caused over the last decade and a half, all from the point of view of the people who lived there, whose lives America destroyed.

The opening note from the editor-in-chief sums it up:

This is a story unlike any we have previously published. It is much longer than the typical New York Times Magazine feature story; in print, it occupies an entire issue. The product of some 18 months of reporting, it tells the story of the catastrophe that has fractured the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq 13 years ago, leading to the rise of ISIS and the global refugee crisis. The geography of this catastrophe is broad and its causes are many, but its consequences — war and uncertainty throughout the world — are familiar to us all. Scott Anderson’s story gives the reader a visceral sense of how it all unfolded, through the eyes of six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Accompanying Anderson’s text are 10 portfolios by the photographer Paolo Pellegrin, drawn from his extensive travels across the region over the last 14 years, as well as a landmark virtual-reality experience that embeds the viewer with the Iraqi fighting forces during the battle to retake Falluja.

It is unprecedented for us to focus so much energy and attention on a single story, and to ask our readers to do the same. We would not do so were we not convinced that what follows is one of the most clear-eyed, powerful and human explanations of what has gone wrong in this region that you will ever read.

This took me most of the morning to get though, and it was absolutely worth it, and it may be the single most important foreign policy piece I've read in years.  I would have missed it if my best friend hadn't tipped me off to it, so thank you.

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