Out from the dark
What has been astonishing about this visit to Baghdad is the psychological shift in officials and ordinary people.
The future is still uncertain, electricity in Baghdad neighborhoods varies from a couple of hours a day to 12 hours at best, jobs are scarce, suicide bombs still go off. Government corruption is rife and essential services absent.
But Iraqis seem to be getting back a sense of their "Iraqi-ness." Nationalism is in the air. The security forces finally have a country to defend, instead of focusing their loyalties on sect and religion.
This sense of Iraqi-ness has returned in the past year, when people could go outside without feeling terror. Everyone I speak with says people are tired of the killing. Iraqis seem to have emerged from the worst, even though the future is still not clear.