Ali Al Sistani

Blind Liberation
April 23, 2007

The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace By Ali A. Allawi (Yale University Press, 518 pp., $28)   Say what you will about the American experience in Vietnam, that war was well written. A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan had a character who could have stepped out of the pages of Graham Greene. John Paul Vann was an even more arresting figure than Alden Pyle in The Quiet American. "The odds, he said, did not apply to him," Sheehan wrote of the unforgettable man who embodied the war'shubris and the war's undoing.

Save the Date
February 14, 2005

On September 23, shortly after interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi insisted to a joint session of Congress that "we are succeeding" in Iraq, I met with one of his subordinates in an Arlington hotel. Thamir Al Adhami, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had traveled to Washington not as part of Allawi's entourage, but to participate in a nation-building seminar for Iraqi officials sponsored by the U.S.

The Last Casualty
February 06, 2005

The moment one lands at Baghdad Airport, all the political arguments, all the philosophical certainties, all the things that Iraq has come to represent in the American imagination simply melt away. What's left is a place--a not very nice place. From the backseat of a beat-up sedan steered by a gun-toting Iraqi driver, the streets of Baghdad look no different than they did during my last trip here six months ago—except for the large number of Iraqi police, who seem to be everywhere. The smell of burning trash is ubiquitous, as is the sound of gunfire.