For a few weeks in the spring of 2003, when the war in Iraq had ended and U.S. officials still stubbornly avoided the word "occupation," 33-year-old Noah Feldman explored Baghdad by taxi or drove himself around, stopping alone in cafés and restaurants to chat with locals. "It did not feel like a hostile environment," said the New York University law professor in a phone interview last week. "Baghdad didn't feel like it was substantially less safe than any other Arab capital." Feldman was in Iraq to advise Jay Garner, the retired three-star general and former military contractor whose luckless tenure as American proconsul left a stamp of incompetence on the U.S. occupation. Looters stripped Iraq's already threadbare infrastructure and emptied the national museum. Electricity and gasoline seemed to disappear, along with any sense of security. On the political front, Garner hardly fared better. A late-April conference designed to kick-start civic lifeand perhaps early electionsmade that idea... More >>>
By photo: Yorke E. Flynn
Noah Feldman: "It was just my opportunity to do something."