Synopses & Reviews
Now that we know the public was duped by an administration looking for politically saleable motives for a "pre-emptive" invasion of Iraq, the question is: Why did the US invade?
Carol Brightman takes us through the various stages of the war, documenting the unexpected defeat of the "coalition" at the hands of the Iraqi resistance and pondering the significance of this loss for America's vaunted military supremacy. She then returns to confront the unanswered question with another. Why, in spite of both military and political defeats, does the US want permanent bases in Iraq? The answer is the great fear that OPEC will switch its international transactions from the dollar to the euro. Iraq actually made the switch in November 2000 and, given the dollars steady decline, did well. Now it has paid the price. Iran did similarly in the summer of 2003 and it, too, was targeted by the White House, but the resistance in Iraq has delayed further adventures, for the moment.
Carol Brightman has been a leading critic since the Sixties. She contrasts the new movements with the old, writes passionately on the reawakening of dissent brought on by the Iraq war, and coolly suggests that it will take more than regime change in Washington to bring Americas fears to the table.
"Brightman, who won the NBCC Award for 1992's Writing Dangerously: Mary McCarthy and Her World and edited the Viet-Report in the 1960s, here offers a critique of the war in Iraq, revisiting her own political coming-of-age in the process. Her thesis-that 'there really is a psychology of insecurity that underlies American geopolitical strategy in the Middle East; and its dependence on military power rather than on economic leverage or diplomacy reflects it'-is one that she defends with a tempered mix of hope, despair, skepticism and disdain. Noting that she has not been to Iraq, Brightman focuses on lesser-known microevents of the run-up to the war, including the switch Iraq made in 2000 from the American dollar to the euro as the medium of oil exchange under what were then UN sanctions. She pays particular attention to the ways in which events have been spun by the government, media, corporations and other players throughout, showing how difficult it has been to get the facts from the available materials. Drawing comparisons to the Vietnam conflict (an approach that she concedes has its limits), Brightman concludes that the U.S. effort in Iraq is doomed to failure and U.S. enemies will make great gains. Her grand synthesis of historical theory and facts-on-the-ground can feel murky at times and spotty at others, but as a progressive citizen's quick take on recent history, it makes for rewarding reading." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Brightman explores the myth of American omnipotence as she takes readers through the various stages of the war in Iraq.
This National Book Critics Circle Award winner exposes the hidden war over Iraq, shows why it spells doom for American economic power and reflects on the revival of dissent.
About the Author
Carol Brightman edited Viet-Report in the 1960s and is the author of Writing Dangerously: Mary McCarthy and Her World, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. She wrote Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead’s American Adventure and edited Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy. She received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and lives in Walpole, Maine.