Monday, February 18, 2008

Cockburn's The Occupation

I've recently completed two books that I borrowed from a friend: The Occupation by Patrick Cockburn & After the Neocons: America at the Crossroads by Francis Fukuyama.

Cockburn's book was about Iraq and, needless to say, doesn't make for happy reading. This book doesn't do anything to change the perception that Iraq was very badly managed from the point of the Saddam regime collapse. If you've read the newspapers faithfully for the past 5 years then it's possible that this book will bore you to tears. I didn't find much that was new here, but it's a good, well written summary of how things went so wrong after April 2003.

I was wary when I picked up the book because who likes to read something that's like a big "I told you so". In fact, I didn't get that from this book. I don't know what he thought of the war in 2002, but I had the sense reading this book that he was at least hoping that life might be better for the Iraqi people.

The book was published before the surge, so at least we can hope that things are better now than they were when Cockburn finished writing The Occupation. I'd like to believe that his next book will be more hopeful and more upbeat.