Academic journal article Military Review

NIGHT DRAWS NEAR: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War

Academic journal article Military Review

NIGHT DRAWS NEAR: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War

Article excerpt

NIGHT DRAWS NEAR: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War, Anthony Shadid, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2005,424 pages, $26.00.

While numerous Western journalists were embedded with U.S. troops during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, most of them left as soon as major combat operations concluded. Anthony Shadid, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post, was not only embedded with the Iraqi people, he stayed well past the initial, premature proclamations of victory. Night Draws Near draws on his years of work in Iraq, powerfully reminding the reader of the suffering that civilians undergo in war and leveraging Shadid's unique perspective as an Arab-American fluent in Arabic to convey the dissatisfaction, confusion, and resentment that define daily life for many Iraqis.

Relying on sources ranging from a fairly pro-American Shiite psychiatrist to an impoverished family of an insurgent killed by U.S. forces, Shadid weaves historical background, firsthand observations, and numerous interviews into a loosely chronological exploration of Iraq's recent history.

Although Shadid shows remarkable balance, the book's picture of the situation is bleak, implying at points that there is little hope for understanding between a country intent on delivering "freedom" and the people of Iraq. Saddam's reign made the notion of freedom-already foreign to most Arabs, who are more concerned with justice-a terrifying one since his tyranny had bred dependence and criminality, neither of which are ideal ingredients for stable self-rule.

Shadid never vilifies U.S. forces. Instead, he portrays them as earnest and sincere, but somewhat fumbling. …

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