Kastor is editor of *The Louisiana Purchase: Emergence of an American Nation*.The challenges faced by today’s U.S. government officials in Iraq are plentiful. Having ejected the government of Saddam Hussein, U.S. representatives must now spearhead the organization of a new system led by Iraqis to meet the needs of their country’s multi-religious and multi-ethnic population. This effort comes at the bicentennial of America’s first effort to govern foreign peoples. Two hundred years ago — with the end of negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase in Paris on April 30, 1803 — a fledgling U.S. government faced similar circumstances and even greater challenges, according to Peter J. Kastor, Ph.D., assistant professor of history and American Culture Studies in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.
This NASA image shows the smoke from Iraq’s oil fires set early in the confrontation.An air pollution expert at Washington University in St. Louis says the air pollution created by the Iraqi war is regional and should remain that way unless something catastrophic happens such as the torching of the Kuwaiti oil wells in the 1991 Gulf War.