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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Other new titles on the Iraq War, terrorism and the Middle East include:

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* Worst Enemy: The Reluctant Transformation of the American Military, by John Arquilla (Ivan R. Dee, $27.50). The U.S. Army needs to become lighter, more nimble and more innovative, argues this professor of defense analysis.

* The Five Front War: The Better Way to Fight Global Jihad, by Daniel Byman (Wiley, $25.95). Besides recasting the role of the military, says the director of Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies, we should "think hard about the abysmal world opinion of America."

* After Iraq: Anarchy and Renewal in the Middle East, by Gwynne Dyer (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's, $24.95). According to the author, the Iraq War is essentially over, and the United States has lost. "Everything is now up for grabs: regimes, ethnic pecking orders within states," and we had better prepare ourselves for outcomes we will be powerless to affect.

* Going to War: How Misinformation, Disinformation, and Arrogance Led America into Iraq, by Russ Hoyle (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's, $27.95). After laying out the details of how the United States deluded itself regarding Iraq, Hoyle, a former senior editor at the New York Daily News, calls for reform of our intelligence-gathering process. Otherwise, he notes, "future debacles like the intelligence failures that led America into Iraq are probably just a matter of time."

* Mirror of the Arab World: Lebanon in Conflict, by Sandra Mackey (Norton, $25.95). Although Lebanon is hardly a typical Middle Eastern state, Mackey argues that it provides "a case study of the Arab world" because, among other attributes, it is "the most transparent of all Arab states."

* God Willing: My Wild Ride with the New Iraqi Army, by Eric Navarro (Potomac, $27.50). Navarro is a Marine captain whose assignment has been to whip Iraqi recruits into a fighting force. At the end of the book, he offers a variation on John McCain's 100-year timetable for getting the job done: "Based on my experiences as an adviser to the New Iraqi Army, I believed that we would have to stay for at least twenty years or, more likely, forever, if we wanted to make our conception of the new democratic Iraq work."

* The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures, and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi, by Aram Roston (Nation, $27.50). The life and times of the Iraqi businessman whose lobbying and assurances helped persuade the Bush administration that Saddam had to go.

* The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East, by Olivier Roy (Columbia Univ., $24.95, forthcoming in April). Taking a broad view of his subject, a French analyst claims that although a dominant power ordinarily tries to maintain the status quo, Americans have destroyed it and upset the strategic balances of the Middle East.

* Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq, by Michael Scheuer (Free Press, $27). Don't blame just Bush and Cheney for the Iraq debacle, urges the author, who spent two decades working for the CIA. The problem extends beyond them, to what he calls "the bipartisan governing elite," which is motivated by "an unquenchable ardor to have the United States intervene abroad in all places, situations, and times."

-- Dennis Drabelle


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