In the months after the last U.S. troops left their country, Iraqis are surprisingly optimistic about the future given the horrors of war they have endured for nearly a decade. Housing developments, shopping centers and hospitals are rising from the rubble, stores that had been closed for years are reopening, and familiar sights are returning. But every step forward is weighed down by continued bloodshed, brutality and corruption.
The scars of war remain in Fallujah, Iraq. Fallujah was once considered the most dangerous city in Iraq for the U.S. military. Now, the city is struggling to rebuild after the Americans’ pullout. At Abu Zahra Restaurant, Ahmed Attiya said, “I prefer that the Americans never came to Iraq,” as he lifted heavy blocks of ice into a broken cooler. “Under Saddam we were working and eating. The Americans made a lot of things worse and destroyed many things. The country is starting at zero.” Attiya scoffs at the idea that his Iraq is better off with an elected government. “What’s the use of elections? Nothing has changed,” he said. “A lot of people are bored with the elections. I think they won’t participate the next time. Maliki is a worse dictator than Saddam.” Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post Buy Photo