The Fifty-first State?

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photoThe conventional wisdom is that U.S. forces will win the war with Iraq. What happens after victory is far less certain. After the Gulf War, America packed its bags and went home. But this time around, things could be very different. If Saddam Hussein was removed from power, Iraq would be left in political chaos, and most likely, in rubble. Then what? How involved and entrenched will America need to be in building a new Iraq?

James Fallows, national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, has taken a long, hard look at these very questions. In a powerful and provocative piece in the magazine's November issue entitled "The Fifty-first State," Fallows says "the day after a war ended, Iraq would become America's problem for practical and political reasons. Because we would have destroyed the political order and done physical damage in the process, the claims on American resources would be comparable to those of any U.S. state."

Do you agree with James Fallows that the United States must make a long-term commitment to Iraq after Saddam Hussein is removed from power? Where do you draw the line for America's responsibility for Iraq?


James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly

This program aired on September 19, 2002.


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