Inside the real Iraq

"At 5:34 am, on Thursday, March 20, 2003, the United States began a war of its own choosing, buoyed by grand ambition and perhaps folly. At that moment, its power unparalleled, the American military began its long march toward Saddam Hussein's citadel of Baghdad, across the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and past the cities of Ur and Babylon. Its aim was to conquer and then remake an ancient land in its own brash, confident image. Its expressed intention was to spread democracy throughout the Middle East. It offered the catchwords it used reflexively - liberation and freedom - to a country whose own values it did not understand."

That's the first paragraph in Chapter 3, of Anthony Shadid's book Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War. Shadid was one of many western journalists that covered the war in Iraq, but he was the only one to win a Pulitzer Prize (in 2004) for his reporting. Of Lebanese descent, Shadid was born and raised in Oklahoma and speaks fluent Arabic. That language ability, plus many years of work experience in the Middle East, enabled Shadid to gain access to the opinions and feelings of many Iraqi people. Shadid's articles, and this book, give readers valuable insight into the complexities of Iraq and what is happening to the people in that country.

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