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a thousand times more frightening

I have read a lot of mysteries, spy stories, and true-crime nonfiction over the years. This is my escape reading. Many of these stories involve gruesome scenes and frightening events. I sometimes can't wait to get back to the book to find out if the protagonist is going to make it out alive. But none of these books has had the effect on me that Imperial Life in the Emerald City has.

I recently introduced this book in this journal so I won't repeat that, just say it's the nonfiction story of how our government and "the coalition of the willing" handled Iraq after the initial invasion.

I thought it would be primarily about the green zone, as the title implies. And yes, there is much about how that part of Iraq was transformed from Saddam's private quarters into a safe, comfortable, home for the occupiers and a very few Iraqis.

Much more, though, it explains the details of who was doing what in those early days. How everything went so horribly wrong, from the appointment of Paul Bremer to head the interim "government" to the individual decisions made by unqualified heads of departments. We have known, the more savvy of us, that people were appointed to top posts in Iraq based on their adherence to the party line. We have known that most of those people were in no way qualified for the jobs they held. This book shows just how, step by step, their decisions made the worst of an already bad situation.

It is truly horrifying. Detail by detail, conversation by conversation, email by email, Chandrasekaran outlines the destructive nature of this neocon overlordship. How they insisted on implementing their bizarre notion of economics against international law, common sense, and the advice of persons who actually understood what was going to happen and was already happening.

I'm rating this book a ten. And wishing that just a few more people in this country would actually read books once in a while.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 2nd, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)

Why haven't I even heard of this book? Thanks for the rec!
Dec. 4th, 2006 01:33 am (UTC)
I hope you get it! It's one of those treasures: well-written, well-researched, thoughtfully developed.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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