The Saddam Hussein Reader: Selections from Leading Writers on Iraq

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9781560254287: The Saddam Hussein Reader: Selections from Leading Writers on Iraq

Saddam Hussein has worn many hats since the last President Bush branded him "the dictator of Iraq" who "systematically raped, pillaged, and plundered" Kuwait before driving him from the country in 1991. Before the Gulf War, Hussein was a U.S. ally who led a modern, secular, and westernized Middle Eastern nation. Afterward, he was a defeated dictator on the brink of being ousted, the brutal repressor of the Kurds, and a cagey sanctions-dodging head of state, first foiling and then halting United Nations arms inspections. He has positioned himself as pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, and the victim of crippling, murderous U.S. embargoes. As permanent Security Council member states called for an end to sanctions against Iraq, the Clinton administration maintained that Hussein was a ruthless leader who had put his people in the path of illness, bombs, and starvation to further his own ends. The current Bush administration has singled him out for removal. In this book, writers from across the political spectrum and across the world tackle Hussein's many public and private faces, discussing this complicated man and his long-suffering country. The result is a contentious and enlightening exploration of the secular Iraqi dictator who has become public enemy number one in America's near-holy war against terrorism. Selections are from leading commentators, such as Shyam Bhatia, Efraim Karsh, Khidr Abd Al-Abas, Elaine Sciolino, Fred Halliday, Mansour Farhang, Dilip Hiro, Christopher Hitchens, Edward Said, Kanan Mayika, Eqbal Ahmed, Andrew and Patrick Cockburn, Robert Fisk, and more.

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From Publishers Weekly:

As this strong collection of essays and excerpts shows, the issue of Iraq goes far beyond whether the United States should invade and attempt to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The pieces, culled from numerous articles and books by leading writers on the Iraqi dictator over the last few years, include a brief bio detailing Saddam's rise from an impoverished childhood, a look at U.S. support for Saddam to counterbalance Iran and an examination of the reasons for the 1991 Gulf War and its aftermath. In one of the more insightful pieces, Israeli scholar Ofra Bengio describes how the Iraqi propaganda machine exploits whatever symbols it can to create the myth of the all-powerful Saddam: "Iraqi propaganda methods recall modern marketing techniques, always thinking up new gimmicks to sell the product." A useful piece by U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Isherwood explores the possible options that the United States faces now, and the pros and cons of each. The human rights group Middle East Watch details the institutions that Saddam uses to terrorize his own people and maintain his grasp on power. Taken as a whole, the pieces gathered by Munthe, an editor in politics and Middle East studies at I.B. Tauris, lean left, with some noted critics of U.S. policy-Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and Ramsey Clark among them-overrepresented. Still, this collection serves as a welcome and very timely primer on the Saddam question.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Munthe, commissioning editor in politics and Middle East studies at I.B. Tauris, has assembled a brilliant selection of concise essays meant to encourage "wider thinking" on the subject of Saddam Hussein. Written by reliable historians and commentators (e.g., Edward Said, Barry Rubin, Amir of Bahrain, Christopher Hitchens), the essays offer a rare treatment of a complex personality; most books and essays on Hussein use deconstruction as a tool to understand the issues rather than stepping back to look at the causes of the current situation in Iraq. Here, readers will learn more than the history of Iraq and its president; they will learn about the flaws in American and international policies regarding Hussein, the costs involved in instituting policy, and the important concept of rogue states in today's policy planning and analysis. Spanning 40 years and including a couple of essays speculating on the future of Iraq, this book raises plenty of interesting questions for policy students and experts alike. While Munthe does state that "the [essays] should be read with their authorship very much in mind," the choices remain objective and are balanced across the Arab and Western political spectrum. Strongly recommended for public and academic libraries alike.
Ethan Pullman, SPIA/Economics, Univ. of Pittsburgh
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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