Sunday, September 30, 2007

Book Review - Imperial Life in the Emerald City

After a long hiatus .....

Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Very rarely have I read a book where reality and fact has been presented in such an amazing way that it becomes a page turner. Where the misgivings or should I say mis-doings of a country (just one more in the case of this one) have been so very clearly and beautifully documented and presented. This folks is nowhere though close to the full picture but yet makes the point - very clearly makes the grand point

The book is about Post-war Iraq (the recent war ....) - the fall of Saddam ...the before and after state of affairs, the establishment of a Democratic Iraq, the Americans who made millions of dollars - some in real but most in false contracts,about educational institutions, about iraqi military people who became insurgents, about industries which were so devastated that probably they will never recover and about so many other things that are wrong ....just fundamentally wrong that it makes your head reel.
Not that CNN and other some other journos /reporters have not reported about this earlier but this book makes for such an interesting read through a series of interviews,people and incidents that you almost live through a lot of it.

Makes you wonder whether the Iraq in the Saddam era - wasn't it better off. Wasn't it better when a majority of people could roam around freely, wasn't it better when there was enough generation of electricity to ensure that there were not frequent power outages, wasn't it better when students could go to their universities and wasn't it better when Iraq was a self sufficient country with at least the magic substance called "Oil' to play around with.

I dont know whether I am right or whether Rajiv is right - but all I know is that after Vietnam and Afghanistan (and probably Cuba ....and many other nations), this is yet another place where this country ..this so called 'Big Police of the world ....has gone wrong.

Iraq as a democracy and the war that the US claims to have won out there is a joke ... and this book probably brings it out better than anything I have read or seen previously