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Moment of Truth in Iraq – Michael Totten Review

May 16, 2008

Part of my blog hiatus was spent reading Michael Yon’s “Moment of Truth in Iraq”. I’ve been a fan of his blog for a few years now, and getting my own personally autographed copy of his book has been a high point of this year. As far as I’m concerned his writing is part of the “real history” of Iraq and should be valued for decades to come.

I was hoping to take the time to review it myself but another blogger who has spent a lot of time in Iraq, Michael Totten, reviews the book in the City Journal exactly the way I think it should be reviewed:

in distant places like Washington, eight time zones away, Iraq is more of an abstraction. There is a left-wing Iraq and a right-wing Iraq, and they only vaguely and occasionally resemble the actual place. Yon will have none of either, which may be why no reporter who has covered the conflict—from any country or for any newspaper or magazine—has managed to convey the truth with such blistering accuracy. “Happy news for the Left was that U.S. soldiers were demoralized and the war was being lost,” he writes. “Happy news for the Right was that there was no insurgency, then no civil war; we always had enough troops, and we were winning hands-down, except for the left-wing lunatics who were trying to unravel it all. They say heroin addicts are happy, too, when they are out of touch with reality.”

Yon has even harsher words for some conservative defenders of the war at the end of the book. This is no white wash of events.

Nuance has been a difficult thing to achieve in commentary about the war, and I have been no exception at times. Yon somehow combines experience and expertise to an even-handed moral authority without coming off brutal or bloodless and disinterested.

I encourage everyone to read it.

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