I’m almost embarrassed to write about this book because I finished it way back at the beginning of the year. So much for wanting to remember the things I read. I took it with me to the beach over summer — funny holiday reading perhaps, but it’s a satisfying, pithy and comprehensive book, a great example of Text Publishing’s quick-response, issue-based publishing (see also Henson Case, The).
There are seven chapters, each by a different author addressing a fraught facet of the war in Iraq. Gaita has arranged them in a simple, intuitive order, beginning with Robert Manne’s breakdown of relevant events, progressing through Hilary Charlesworth’s mindful assessment of the legality of the war, and ending rather chillingly with Mark McKenna’s chapter called ‘Howard’s Soldiers’. Though the viewpoints range in the angle taken, the overall tone rather leans towards emphatic, which is not surprising given the take-no-prisoners title.
Why the War was Wrong served an important purpose for me in that it brought together arguments on a state of current affairs in an accessible and coherent way. Much broader and deeper in coverage as a whole than newspapers and even the essays singly, it was a much-needed platform from which to ascertain the nature of my own unease about Iraq.