Among Packer's numerous insights, I found this one particularly noteworthy:
Vietnam and Korea were far more changed by American wars than Iraq. Only a small number of Iraqis had any encounters with Americans lasting more than a few minutes (the ruthlessness of the insurgency, as well as the heavy-handedness of American soldiers trying to act like policemen, made sure of it). American English didn’t become a vital part of street talk. Few Americans learned Arabic, and you rarely heard soldiers say they wanted to come back as civilians and bring their children ten or twenty years from now. Americans, with a few exceptions, didn’t fall in love with Iraq. On the other hand, many Iraqis were half in love with America by the time the first troops arrived in Baghdad; over the following months and years, they lost their illusions.