October 13, 2007

A review

Through Library Thing I got an Advanced Reader's Copy of Red Zone Blues, by Pepe Escobar. Here's my review:

Toward the end of Red Zone Blues, a bleak catalog of the depradations Iraqis are suffering in Baghdad and elsewhere, author Pepe Escobar issues this statement decrying Vice President Cheney's Iran-targeting:

Iran of course can be very persuasive, holding some tasty cards up its sleeve -- such as hard-earned intelligence directly implicating the Saudis in training the Suni Arab muqawama (resistance) in Iraq on explosive form penetrators (EFPs), which the Pentagon foolishly insists come from Iran. Everyone in Iraq knows it is operatives from "axis of fear" allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- and also Pakistan -- who have provided the Sunni Arab guerrillas in Iraq with technology and training on improvised explosive devices and EFPs. (p. 79)

His point is that it's not in the current US Administration's interest to have facts (if facts they are) such as those become public, lest the public disapprove of the Iraq War expanding to include Iran.

The book is a series of short essays, each depicting small parts of Iraqi society, whether it be neighborhoods (Sadr City) or people (the kids who grew up under UN sanctions). If you're a diligent newsreader, you'll either have known or inferred much of this material. If you're not, it may horrify you as the author clearly intends.

Escobar spent several months on the ground in Iraq reporting for Asia Times, presumably not protected by US military convoys as so many Congressional delegations and parachuting magazine journalists are. He paints a picture of life in Iraq so surreal that Dali or Bosch would be right at home. If even half of his descriptions are accurate, the country is in post-Apocalypse Mad Max territory.

It's an unpleasant read, and if you're an armchair warblogger you'll almost certainly start frothing at the mouth and looking for flaws to pick at in order to debunk it. If you're an honest news consumer, you'll have to think about what he describes and try to determine whether the invasion of Iraq was worth the cost.

Posted by Linkmeister at October 13, 2007 12:11 PM | TrackBack

On the contrary: I've been convinced since roughly the end of the first year in Iraq that it wasn't worth the cost and would never be worth the cost. Regular listening to NPR, the BBC, and occasionally the CBC (a local public radio station broadcasts "As It Happens" instead of "All Things Considered") will tell you all you can stand to know... For about a week after the Saddam statue came down I hoped, but when it became clear that they were only guarding the Oil Ministry and allowing unchecked looting at the National Museum, I gave up.

Posted by: hedera at October 13, 2007 02:50 PM

Oh, I agree with you; always have. Back before it began I said it was the wrong war against the wrong enemy.

Posted by: Linkmeister at October 13, 2007 04:46 PM