by Mike Tucker
As counterfactual as it may seem to claim that "hell is over" anywhere in Iraq, Tucker makes the case for the Kurds. Drawing on interviews with peshmergafighters, Saddam-era political prisoners and survivors, Kurdish politicians and others who celebrate the overthrow of a Ba'athist regime that was particularly murderous toward Iraqi Kurds, Tucker gives his subjects space to tell of massacres at places like Hatra and of armed resistance to—and daily hardship under—Ba'athist repression. Tucker's Kurds express deep thanks to America for ousting Saddam, but also recall betrayal—"Kissinger's betrayal" in 1975 and that of George H.W. Bush in 1991—when the U.S. found it expedient to allow Iraq a free hand to crush Kurdish resistance. "The Kurds are looking for U.S. actions... which prove that America's honor is real," he writes, and for Tucker, a former Marine, "honor" and other aspects of warrior culture trump messier geopolitical considerations; he is convinced that the key to U.S. success in Iraq lies in recognition of "Kurdish integrity, honor and culture," along with close military and political cooperation with Iraqi Kurds. As a record of oppression, this book will find a place among emerging Saddam-era testimonies, but its bald political advocacy offers little that's unfamiliar.
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