In the end, “large abstract terms” aren’t worth the human cost of war

assassins gate cover

A very readable and somewhat more literary recount of the familiar fiasco that is America’s intervention in Iraq. Whereas Fiasco delves greater into operational detail, Packer gives a good and comprehensive background of the ideological origins and underpinnings behind the war before he launches into his account, which is structured around a series of anecdotes of key figures which he returns to repeatedly through the narrative. Packer is only slightly more sympathetic in his treatment of the CPA and his sketches of officials who were trying their darnest to get and things moving is eerily similar to Ricks’. Framing his account of the fiasco is the story of Iraqi exile intellectual and academic Kanan Makiya, who, in what would be considered a poor excuse for a happy ending in a tale such as this, is reunited with his sweetheart in the end, as they continue the work of the Iraq Memory Foundation.


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