A country called Iraq has existed only since 1919. But some cities in that land were already 16 centuries old when the nearby Egyptians built their pyramids. Bureaucrats in Mesopotamia, as the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers was known, began keeping written records in 3400 B.C. And despite three decades of political repression, economic mismanagement, and military disaster under Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, Iraq today-unlike Afghanistan in 2001, Yugoslavia in 1995, and Germany in 1945-is not a "failed state." (See "Occupational Hazards," this issue.) From food-distribution systems to local police forces, essential institutions and infrastructures have survived Saddam, albeit barely, and they will survive a war that successfully ousts him. So the good news is that Iraq will not have to start over from scratch. Unfortunately, the bad news is also that Iraq will not be able to start over from scratch.