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Style & Culture; BOOK REVIEWS; The opening volleys; Three books begin the deconstruction of the U.S. role in the war in Iraq.
[HOME EDITION]
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Iraq War-2003; Nonfiction; Books-titles -- -Multiple review
Author: Meisler, Stanley
Date: Feb 13, 2004
Start Page: E.29
Section: Calendar; Part E; Calendar Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

He concedes that the case for a link between [Saddam Hussein] and Al Qaeda is weak, but says Hussein's "presumptive" possession of WMD in a world threatened by Al Qaeda terrorists "theoretically ... offered Saddam ... a way to attack the United States by proxy...." "Prudent policymakers simply could not ignore the fact that Saddam and Osama bin Laden shared a hatred of the United States." That syllogism -- Hussein hates America, Bin Laden hates America, therefore Hussein and Bin Laden are logically linked -- is surely a stretch.

In "The Five Biggest Lies [Bush] Told Us About Iraq," [Robert Scheer] and [Christopher Scheer] and [Lakshmi Chaudhry] show the astonishing extent of frenetic distortion in the marketing of the war. Robert Scheer is a longtime liberal columnist for the Los Angeles Times, while his son Christopher and Chaudhry are on the editorial staff of the online magazine AlterNet.org. Bush's "five biggest lies," the authors say, are his assertions (1) that Hussein's Iraq was linked to Al Qaeda, (2) that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons that threatened America, (3) that Iraq would soon have the means to build and deliver a nuclear bomb, (4) that occupation would be a "cakewalk" and (5) that Iraq could be transformed into a democratic model for the Middle East.

"Secrets and Lies: Operation 'Iraqi Freedom' and After" by [Dilip Hiro] is sprawling and untidy, but those traits reflect the war itself, and he has managed to put together an extraordinary account of confusing events. Hiro, an Indian-born, London-based journalist with wide experience in the Middle East, writes for various British and U.S. newspapers and magazines, including the Nation, whose book division published the work. Hiro regards the U.S. invasion as "an illegal adventure" that overthrew an authoritarian but secular regime that had squelched Islamist extremists within its borders. "So, by overthrowing Saddam's regime despite opposition from Muslims worldwide and most of the international community," he writes, "Bush and [Tony Blair] ended up abetting Islamic terrorism, not combating it...."

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