A reader writes:

I consider Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court a scathing indictment of the Iraq War. I had been told it was a great book and happened to pick it up during the invasion. The novel was incredibly prophetic, both about the folly and hubris of trying to change a barbarous society, and in the corruption that happens to the person who injects himself into it. As you might assume, the book ends in grand tragedy.

A reader writes:

Your quote from Twain could use some present-day context.  More than a century after the US invasion, look at the Philippines today - one of the better success stories in Southeast Asia, with a significant portion of the credit owed to the US intervention there. 

The country's educational and health care system are true achievements, as is its democracy.  All of these institutions can trace their roots back to the US intervention in some significant ways (although the US did support a dictator in the country for a long time).  If anything, the biggest legacy failure in the nation is the corrupt Catholic Church, which is the result of course of the Spanish conquest. 

None of this is to say that the US invasion was justified, moral, or successful on pure cost-benefit terms.  And I certainly don't mean to take credit away from the Filipino people for what they have been able to do for their country.  But it's important to keep in mind that US colonialism there led to some important achievements that sets the Philippines apart from its neighbors.  I think if in 100 years Iraq turned out like the Philippines, and if the US invasion ends up playing a similar role as it has in the Philippines, the Iraqi invasion and its short-term failures will be viewed in much different terms than it is today.

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