WAR JOURNAL MY FIVE YEARS IN IRAQ By Richard Engel

††††††††††† War Journal is a really important book.Engel went to Iraq before the beginning of the war and was present in Baghdad during the Shock and Awe attack.As if that werenít enough, as a correspondent for NBC he had access to everyone.He could talk to the Iraqi leadership and the American commanders.He was imbedded with the troops.

††††††††††† Most importantly, he could operate without a translator and talked to the Iraq man on the street.As an Arabic speaker, he could understand what was happening around him in a way that other Americans could not. He was like a fish in water.

The greatest strength of this book is that Engel, because he understands Arab culture, explains things like the political significance the judge who oversaw Saddam Husseinís execution and the meaning of the location of his hanging.These are subtleties beyond the purview of most western journalists.

††††††††††† War Journal is essential reading for any soldier and his or her family and friends.

††††††††††† Two other books that should be read along with War Journal are The Just War Myth: the moral illusions of war by Andrew Fiala and Western Expansionism In the Persian Gulf by V. Mikhin.Fialaís book is a handbook for how to think about the tradeoffs associated with waging war.It is a great book.Mikhinís book was published in 1988.Published by an Indian publishing house, this is a view of the Persian Gulf conflict from a third world perspective.Sadly, this book shows that the military conflict to control Middle East oil is already forty years old, if not four hundred.Western governments come up with different excuses, spreading civilization or Christianity, protecting routes to the colonies, defending the state of Israel, or fighting the war on terror; but the policy is always the same.

Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf

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