>The Wars Against Saddam by John Simpson

The Wars Against Saddam by John Simpson

I do not enjoy confessing, but I’m sure it is good for the soul. Here’s mine: breathtaking, embarrassing ignorance of what’s really gone on in the Middle East, and especially Iraq, over the past 20 years. I’ve just read The Wars Against Saddam by BBC journalist John Simpson. It’s a very fine book, and does a tremendous job of fitting one person’s experience into the whole story of what has been going on in that region, as well as in Washington, London, and elsewhere. There’s a reasonable amount of history, too, and I suddenly feel far more informed, and painfully aware of how I accepted the superficial media accounts and word of mouth, too, instead of digging deeper.

But Simpson’s story also makes it easy to see why an ordinary citizen, trying to get a handle on a global crisis, just doesn’t have access to enough information. A clip on the news, a newspaper column, just aren’t enough. How on earth can we get reliable data fast enough to help us make decisions? Whom can we trust? Moveon.org? The president or the prime minister’s men? A particular columnist? Jon Stewart?

I don’t entirely trust any of them. I want a guide I can get to know a little, see his or her biases, hear her or him talk about principles, about honor and courage. A book is a great medium for this, but I know I’m not going to read a book about every major world issue, and by the time there’s a book it’ll be too late, anyhow. Can blogs provide this, I wonder? But there’s no way a blogger is going to provide the crisp storytelling, the summary accounts, and the historical background, that a good book does.

By | 2005-09-26T14:56:02+00:00 September 26th, 2005|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Karen Christensen is the CEO of Berkshire Publishing.

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