Lanier's Reviews > The Assassins' Gate: America In Iraq

The Assassins' Gate by George Packer
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's review
Dec 16, 2009

really liked it
Recommended to Lanier by: Sean H.
Recommended for: History and Political buffs
Read in November, 2011

Coming home from a night-in-progress, I started this book, thinking, 'S**8 Sean, I'm not into your thick non-Fiction tomes on the wars of meglomaniacal clowns and their cronies,' but I started to really get into the Prologue and finally got it.

I won't lie, it's not the easiest for me to follow, since Sean is the History teacher and fascinated by all things historical. Yet, along the lines of nearly every book pushed on Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert's shows, it's a book I feel I must work to comprehend.
The premise is actually quite simple: The War in Iraq as an experiment that was planned out perhaps 3-5 years prior to the actual invasion, as a means at attempting to create stability in the Middle East. Really, we all knew it had nothing to do with bin Laden, al Qaeda and all the rest, but the book brings in intellectual thinkers such as Wolfowitz, desperately trying to manipulate the squeamish "doves" not too crazy about entering another potential Vietnam and authors like Kanan Makiya who warned of the dangers and problems in the region in the mid 1980s.

The shocker of it: Cheney was NOT the grand instigator that we may have originally thought—at least not as far a the first 55 pages is concerned. Packer describes him as a quiet businessman who happened to be thrust into a role that fit his personality to a tee.

Robert Kagan, one of Packer's greatest sources helps to clarify the buildup and much of the philosophies and closed-door discussions happening in the few years before Sept. 11, 2001, which he calls "the turning point."

"Did we keep alive a certain way of looking at American policy at a time when it was pretty unpopular? Yes. I think probably you need to have people do that so you have something to come back to. And, in a way, then you have a ready-made approach to the world," (38).


Last read in Jan. 2010
59—Eschatology (lit. 'study of the last') is a part of theology and philosophy concerned with what are believed to be the final events in the history of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world. While in mysticism the phrase refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and reunion with the Divine, in many traditional religions it is taught as an actual future event prophesied in sacred texts or folklore. More broadly, eschatology may encompass related concepts such as the Messiah or Messianic Age, the end time, and the end of days.

98—2nd P = Feisal Istrabadi
“I knew no one who spent four decades in exile knew what was going on in Iraq. I didn’t and Kanan didn’t. The only difference was I was a hell of lot more cautious. He always made promises he could not keep,” (Chicago lawyer, said of Istrabadi).

And then there's their own "Body of Lies" tangle:
106—7—Body of Lies (BoL)

110-11—Bush’s take-away #1

112—What about “nation building”?

116—“costs of Post-War

117—Wolf’s delusions concerning Afghanistan “Predators”—bottom, BoL
118—“There was no Plan B.” “Major, your deluding yourself.”

119—General Anthony Zinni, “a power vacuum if Saddam Fell…”

From these notes, I meant to expound upon them and follow-up. Yet, it's been nearly 11 months and still I haven't gotten back to this amazingly complex book.

More in time.....


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Reading Progress

12/16/2009 page 58
01/03/2010 page 150
32.12% "An interesting idea called taqiya, or spinning webs of lies in order to deceive, correlates perfectly with Inatius's, 'Body of Lies'."
01/30/2010 page 213
45.61% "The whole Bremer clusterf*** with one wrong move after another in what could've been a great blueprints for Mid-East democracy."
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