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A nation must think before it acts.
Although the diversity of the Iraqi people has in the past hindered any sense of national identity, their suffering before and since the 2003 war has given most Iraqis a common desire to live normal lives. This desire can be a valuable asset for transformation. But the many displaced Iraqis, political prisoners, and families of executed and disappeared persons need healing, which will require considerable time. The prospects for postwar rehabilitation look poor now, with many observers claiming that civil war has already begun. Moreover, until the rule of law can be established, the country will be condemned to another generation of suffering, which will not be confined to Iraq. The current situation might have been averted, but it was not, and now Iraqis and Americans are intimately and problematically linked.