Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Nights in the Pink Motel. an American Strategist's Pursuit of Peace in Iraq

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Nights in the Pink Motel. an American Strategist's Pursuit of Peace in Iraq

Article excerpt

Nights in the Pink Motel. An American Strategist's Pursuit of Peace in Iraq. By Robert Earle. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2008. 256 pp. $34.95.

Hundreds of U.S. diplomats and officials have served in Iraq, and scores have written books about their experience. Many of those books attempt to amplify limited experience into policy treatises with results that, in hindsight, are unremarkable. To these, add Earle' s account of his own time as a senior aid to John Negroponte, whose 2004-05 tenure as ambassador to Iraq following the departure of Coalition Provisional Authority director L. Paul Bremer is now largely forgotten.

Earle might have added insight. He worked in Iraq during the height of the insurgency, a time during which many other diplomat-authors had already left. Instead, Nights in the Pink Motel - the title itself a cutesy name for the Green Zone - is full of inane anecdotes and irrelevant details that reflect less the nature of Iraq and more the culture shock of a pampered diplomat inserted into a military environment who focuses on such details as signs proclaiming, "No long guns in the dining facility." He conveys conversations in almost cartoonish terms.

Former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich "barks," and Maj.-Gen. Michael Streeter "moans." There is little insight into Negroponte's interactions with Gen. …

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