Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq

In This Review

Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq
By Charles Duelfer
PublicAffairs, 2009
480 pp. $27.95
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Duelfer served as deputy chair of the UN weapons inspection mission in Iraq from 1993 to 2000. Then, after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, he joined, and ultimately led, the Iraq Survey Group, a 1,400-person body charged with finally getting at the truth about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. In Hide and Seek, Duelfer weaves into his detailed personal narrative an appraisal of U.S. policy and performance, the Iraqi officials he knew, and the hydra-headed UN. None escapes his stern judgment: Bill Clinton's "wait-until-he-drops-dead strategy" toward Saddam Hussein was inane. The Bush administration, after overthrowing Saddam (a policy that Duelfer favored), badly mishandled Iraq. UN inspections and sanctions are crude instruments with a limited shelf life. Hide and Seek, however, is better appreciated not as a book that fuels or foils any particular interpretation of the United States and Iraq since the early 1990s but as a reconstruction of those years from the perspective of an insider involved in a mission destined to fall short.