December 9, 2008

War what is it good for

Two links to reviews of books & documentaries:

1. In Intentions and Opposite Results in Iraq in the NYT, Michiko Kakutani reviews Peter Galbraith's book, Unintended Consequences - How War in Iraq Strengthened America’s Enemies
In his compelling new book the scholar and former diplomat Peter W. Galbraith not only reminds us that the Iraq war has been a costly, bungled operation, but he also argues that the war has had the opposite effect of virtually everything that President Bush and his administration promised the American public it would have:
  • A war intended to eliminate (what were later found to be non-existent) weapons of mass destruction in Iraq “ended up with Iran and North Korea much closer to having deployable nuclear weapons.”
  • A war intended to help combat terrorism has led to the recruitment of more terrorists and the spread of Al Qaeda to Iraq.
  • A war intended to create a bulwark against the ayatollahs in Tehran turned into a “strategic gift to Iran” and the empowerment in Iraq of pro-Iranian Shiite theocrats.
  • A war intended to make Israel more secure has made that country more vulnerable to threats from Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.
  • A war intended to showcase American power has ended up underscoring “the deficiencies of U.S. intelligence, the incompetence of American administration and the limitations on the American military.”
  • A war meant to boost America’s global leadership “has driven U.S. prestige to an all-time low” over the last five years and alienated important allies like Turkey.

2. In The War We Don't Want in the NY Review of Books, Sue Halpern, reviews a number of recent books and documentaries:
  • War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq: A Series of Cases, 2003–2007; edited by Shawn Christian Nessen, Dave Edmond Lounsbury, and Stephen P. Hetz.
  • The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
  • Generation Kill a miniseries written and produced by David Simon and Ed Burns; based on the book by Evan Wright
  • Baghdad ER -- a film directed by Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill
  • Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery -- a film directed by Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill
All necessary viewing and necessary reading...

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