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Ignorant Armies: Sliding into War in Iraq

by Gwynne Dyer

As I sit writing this review, the U.S. and some of its allies are going to war against Iraq. Journalist Gwynne Dyer predicted this turn of events in his new book, Ignorant Armies. His intention here is to help readers make sense of the confusing barrage of events and media reports, many of which, as he points out, are as agenda-setting as the events themselves. Dyer succeeds brilliantly in his objectives, and this book should be required reading for anyone seeking to clarify their perspective on the conflict in Iraq.

Dyer’s authority lies in his clear arguments and rational thinking, both of which are refreshingly void of any political or ideological agenda. His is the voice of true if insouciant independence, finding a space of objective analysis among the predominantly jingoistic chorus of American media. Dyer reveals and analyzes, with piercing lucidity, the convergence of conservative media coverage with the historically challenged American masses. He astutely demonstrates how different elements both inside and outside the Bush administration have wittingly and unwittingly contributed to a flow of events that have led to the war.

Dyer is especially critical of American justifications for the war. With caustic, sardonic humour he chronicles the dangerous folly and ill-conceived moves of President Bush and his close circle. He convincingly argues that there is no single reason for Bush’s eagerness for war, but rather a confluence of factors, including proactive efforts on the part of Israeli lobbyists to convince the U.S. that Israel’s enemies are America’s enemies.

Dyer eventually maps out a number of possible scenarios that could unfold as the war progresses, none of them particularly hopeful. What little hope there is lies in Dyer’s book being read by the right people.