Feature

The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq

George Packer’s elegant writing helps to make his support of the Iraq war easy to swallow and actually a page-turner.

The war in Iraq has inspired countless books, some of them quite accomplished, said Samuel G. Freedman in the Chicago Tribune. But The New Yorker's George Packer has a decided edge. He's 'œjust plain a better writer than anyone else' chronicling the conflict, and he 'œcomes as close as possible' to making 'œa page-turner' out of a quagmire's coming-of-age. Packer himself believed wholeheartedly in the neoconservative dream of using a military invasion to plant democracy's flag in the heart of the Middle East, said Gary Kamiya in Salon.com. It would thus be accomplishment enough if The Assassins' Gate only provided a sympathetic, dramatic retelling of how think-tank debates of the 1990s became marching orders in the corridors of the Bush White House. But Packer's reporting from Iraq itself is also exemplary'”'œvaried, empathetic, and intelligent.' For anyone who hopes to understand this chapter of history, his up-close account is simply 'œrequired reading.'A caveat: Tough as he is about the invasion's handling, said Michael Hirsh in The Washington Monthly, Packer never confronts the possibility that the Iraq war was a bad idea from the start.

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