Musings on Iraq reads the 2009 State Department report on human rights in Iraq, which was released last month:

Iraq has held six elections since it regained its sovereignty in 2005. That makes it an exceptional country in a region that is known for autocracies and monarchies. Allowing people to pick their own government, and replace politicians they don’t like is an important step towards democracy, but it is only a piece of the puzzle. Iraq needs a government that protects its own people from itself, and enforces the law. That is sorely lacking in Iraq right now since the authorities are still weak, divided, corrupt, and there is no transparency or oversight. That means the Prime Minister can use the security forces against his political rivals, suspects can be tortured and held incommunicado for years sometimes, and the media can be intimidated by officials with little to no consequences.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.