In This Review

The Iraq War

By John Keegan
Knopf, 2004
272 pp. $24.95
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Keegan-not so much a journalist as a military historian who happens to work for a newspaper-has written an account of the Iraq war that benefits from a long historical prologue (which includes discussion of the post-World War I British attempt to pacify Iraq) and his skill at capturing the dynamics of a military campaign. Keegan, however, must now wish that he had waited to complete the book, as events have conspired to put the war, which he describes in a positive and even partisan tone, in a more dismal light. The postwar scene gets cursory treatment, under the heading of "The Aftermath," and this is the story now waiting to be told. More than the campaign itself, it is the diplomatic isolation during the build-up and the incompetence and trauma of the occupation that may define a turning point in U.S. foreign policy-and the end of the Vulcans' rise.