A War Against Truth: An Intimate Account of the Invasion of Iraq


368 pages
Contains Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55192-688-1
DDC 956.70443





Reviewed by Paul D. Dickson

Paul Dickson is a strategic analyst at the Directorate of Air Strategic
Plans, National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa.


A War Against Truth provides further evidence, as if any were needed,
that war is hell: innocents suffer, not all soldiers (or civilians) are
heroes, and the motives of politicians rarely stand up to the scrutiny
of the media. However, the author is on shakier ground when he delves
into politics, diplomacy, and history in an attempt to explain the U.S.
invasion of Iraq.

The book is filled with examples of the rote criticism of the United
States and Israel that permeates much of the media coverage and shapes
the media’s view of events in the Middle East. Roberts’s argument
that the war is simply part of American empire-building and that it has
created more problems than it has solved is forceful but hardly
persuasive. He fails to reconcile the horrific portrait he paints of
Saddam’s Iraq with the contention that post-invasion Iraq will be much
worse. By way of an attempt to square that circle, he implies that much
of the horror of pre-invasion Iraq was also the fault of the United
States, suggesting, for example (and incorrectly), that the U.S. “was
directly responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children.”
Unsupported claims such as this one have the unfortunate effect of
undermining the genuinely valuable insights into Iraq’s history and
its people provided elsewhere in the book.

In the end, the book is worthwhile, if only for the material on Iraqi
culture. The author’s concern over the fate of Iraq is evident
throughout, but it seems to have limited his ability to provide a
balanced account of the context of the war. Perhaps this book’s title
is more telling than Roberts realizes.


Roberts, Paul William., “A War Against Truth: An Intimate Account of the Invasion of Iraq,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/16516.