Excerpted from Other Words.

Iraq is a gift that keeps on giving.

We kicked out their murderous dictator for them, helped them institute democracy, poured hundreds of millions of dollars into their recovery, and tried our best to interrupt their civil war. Then we left — or at least our combat troops did.

You would think they’d be grateful, wouldn’t you? I’m not talking about an end-of-World-War-II scene with young women throwing flowers at our soldiers as they departed. Not necessarily.

But maybe a thank you would be appropriate. A salute or two wouldn’t hurt.

What do we get instead? Snarls. Insults. Cries of “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” (which is terrifying in Arabic).

Now word comes that we’re being forced to cut our planned diplomatic presence in post-war Iraq by some 50 percent and counting. It turns out that the Iraqis don’t want us there.

After all we did for them. Why, just the bombing of their cities alone would have cost them billions if they’d had to do it themselves.

To read Donald Kaul’s column in its entirety, visit OtherWords.

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