Salon just carried
an insightful review of my book
that triggered a mudslide of nasty letters from the magazine's readers.
"If you enjoyed 'Fiasco,' thrilled to have
your prejudices about the clueless Bush administration confirmed, it's your
responsibility to read 'The Gamble' to have some prejudices challenged,"
wrote the reviewer, Joan Walsh, Salon's editor-in-chief. I think she
really captured the ambivalence at the heart of the book, the sense that staying
in Iraq is far from appealing, but may be the least worst choice available. Her
review concludes that, "I still want
troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. But reading this well-reported book may
have changed even my notion of what that means."
Her readers didn't like hearing that, and posted a variety
of angry responses. Here's the note I sent to Walsh after reading some, but not
all, of the 117 responses:
Looking over the comments on your review, I
think what a lot of people are failing to grasp, or are resisting
understanding, is that there are no good answers in Iraq. The question many of
them don't seem to want to face is, what is the least bad answer?
It was a pre-emptive war launched on false
premises that distracted us from the task at hand in Afghanistan. Everything
that has happened in Iraq since then is the fruit of that poisoned tree. Given
that original sin, what do we do? Staying in Iraq isn't appealing. Leaving
risks genocide and regional war.
So what do your more vehement readers recommend?
What do you do if both courses of action are bad, even immoral?"
Meanwhile, tensions between Kurds and Arabs are rising in
northern Iraq and could lead to war, according to a story by the
intrepid Leila Fadel.
Hat tip on this to old Juan
ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images