A WAR AGAINST TRUTH: AN INTIMATE ACCOUNT OF THE INVASION OF IRAQ by Paul William Roberts (Raincoast Books), 366 pages, $39.95 cloth. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
One of the foremost middle east scholars in North America, Paul William Roberts spent several months in Iraq in 2003, narrowly escaping death while witnessing the horrors that Iraqis still encounter daily.
He has produced a treatise on the villainy and deception that characterize the U.S. handling of the war but escape the scrutiny of the mainstream media.
A War Against Truth, just shortlisted for this year's Charles Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction, reveals numerous instances in which the U.S. military has violated the Geneva Conventions. The author offers a strong argument for the indictment of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other members of the administration for war crimes.
Roberts provides a thorough report on the events surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Iraq's famed Republican National Guard, which inconceivably offered no resistance to the U.S. advance into Baghdad. However, his most shocking revelations involve the spectacle that took place daily outside the Palestine Hotel, home to many non-embedded journalists covering the Iraq war, where he says U.S. soldiers engaged in gunfights with rebels and fired directly at independent reporters to thwart their attempts at tracking down investigative news stories.
Roberts displays here the journalistic skill and elegant prose characteristic of his earlier works. More than a book about war, corruption and greed, the narrative is most gripping when Roberts brings us inside the frayed psyches of Iraqi citizens and American soldiers with whom he cultivated deeply personal relationships while stationed in Iraq.
In the process, he suggests that young Iraqis will recall only the loss and destruction of their homeland in the past 15 years and will have no tangible link to the years of pride and prosperity that once distinguished Iraq.