Neocon Men

The Assassins' Gate
America in Iraq
George Packer
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25, 454 pp.

As the epigraph for his new book on the politics of America’s intervention in Iraq, George Packer has chosen a verse by the Arab nationalist poet Nizar Qabbani: “Dive into the sea, or stay away.” The poet’s charge aptly captures the thesis of The Assassins’ Gate: a great enterprise requires unequivocal commitment; to act half-heartedly is worse than not acting at all.

From the day it began planning to invade Iraq, according to...

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About the Author

Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University. His most recent book is Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.