"As America approaches the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the list of the war’s unintended consequences is without end.” So writes Jeffrey Goldberg in his cover article, “After Iraq.” While Goldberg’s story describes the consequences for the Middle East, the effects of the Iraq War have been powerfully felt in other waysin our politics and our finances, of course, but also in the crowding of other stories off our front pages, if not out of our consciousness.
The title of Goldberg’s piece sets the theme of The Atlantic’s State of the Union package for 2008. What, after Iraq, are the problems most urgently confronting us? What, besides Iraq, should we focus on now, with the presidential election just 11 months away? The crisis in public education; the imminent retirement of the Baby Boomers; the clichés undermining black-white relations; and the erosion of American values and reputation by the detentions at Guantánamo Bay: in this special section, Matt Miller, Megan McArdle, Amy Waldman, and Andrew Sullivan tackle these subjects and, in sum, the question of who we are after Iraq as a nation.