The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq

Overview

Consistently compared with the work of Hunter S. Thompson and Michael Herr, The Freedom provides a fearless and unsanitized tour of the disastrous occupation of Iraq, in all its surreal and terrifying detail. Drawing on the best tradition of war reporting, here is a rare book that “embeds” with both sides—the U.S. military and the Iraqi resistance.

Acclaimed journalist Christian Parenti takes us on a high-speed ride along treacherous roads to the centers of the ongoing conflict ...

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Overview

Consistently compared with the work of Hunter S. Thompson and Michael Herr, The Freedom provides a fearless and unsanitized tour of the disastrous occupation of Iraq, in all its surreal and terrifying detail. Drawing on the best tradition of war reporting, here is a rare book that “embeds” with both sides—the U.S. military and the Iraqi resistance.

Acclaimed journalist Christian Parenti takes us on a high-speed ride along treacherous roads to the centers of the ongoing conflict in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Sadr City through the first year of the occupation. He introduces us to relatives waiting anxiously outside the holding fortress of Abu Ghraib and takes a night drive around Baghdad with the insurgents. He recounts the military’s use of drugs and prostitutes, the imperial buffoonery of the Green Zone, and the religious ecstasy of the Shiites. And he allows us to witness, close up and in riveting detail, the cataclysmic violence, rampant gangsterism, and quotidian heroism that is today’s Iraq.

As predicted by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, when “historians of tomorrow start writing, they will doubtless have copies of The Freedom close at hand.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"For those who desire a taste of what occupied Iraq feels and smells and tastes like for the war correspondents, soldiers and Iraqis dealing with the mess that is ‘free’ Iraq, The Freedom is essential reading." —San Diego Union-Tribune

"[Parenti] has an eye for the perfect image, a wonderful ear for dialogue and a prose style that floats across the page." —Las Vegas Mercury

"The Freedom, a short, fast-paced book, scenic like a good film script, is steeped in the irony and horror of war." —Los Angeles Times

Las Vegas Mercury
He has an eye for the perfect image, a wonderful ear for dialogue, and a prose style that floats across the page.
Publishers Weekly
This collection of dispatches from in and around Baghdad emerges from Nation reporter Parenti's time embedded with U.S. soldiers as well as ventures out on his own. The book's main interest is that it provides access to people not heard from often enough: with a translator, Parenti interviews sheikhs, hospital staff, young prostitutes, aid workers and the families of civilians killed by American troops or disappeared into prisons like Abu Ghraib. The results make what's happening on the ground significantly more vivid and disturbing than most conventional news reports. Parenti also describes incompetence and corruption in reconstruction efforts, as well as killings and humiliations of Iraqi citizens that work to push young men into the ranks of the insurgency. He talks to American soldiers in the barracks and on patrol who hope that (but aren't sure if) they are doing the right thing. Over Parenti's three trips to Iraq from December 2003 to June 2004, relationships between all aspects of the U.S. military and Iraqi society become further entrenched in violence, hatred and chaos, all exacerbated by a lack of potable water and a still disabled electrical grid. It's a grim story, and it feels real. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595580375
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Pages: 211
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 7.56 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author


Christian Parenti is the author of The Soft Cage and Lockdown America. He is a visiting fellow at the CUNY Graduate School’s Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, and his articles appear regularly in The Nation. He lives in New York City.
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Table of Contents

1 To Babylon 1
2 Fear city, capital of chaos 15
3 Imperium delirium 35
4 With the grunts 59
5 Meeting the resistance 77
6 Voyeur's banquet : dead people for breakfast and dinner 99
7 From dreamland to Falluja 115
8 Land of the lost 141
9 Subjects of the new regime 153
10 Things fall apart 171
11 Chaos the sovereign 187
12 Disneyland burning 197
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2005

    Excellent study of the horrors of occupying Iraq

    This excellent book gives a vivid picture of the horrors of the US-British occupation of Iraq. It is now three and a half years since Bush promised to get 'the people who knocked these buildings down'. Instead, he attacked the one Middle Eastern country where there was no Al Qa'da. What does the occupation mean? 40,000 prisoners, torture, atrocities, beatings, humiliation, intimidation, killings, death squads, house searches, raids, demolitions. No jobs, no water, no electricity, no rebuilding, no security. Power plants, telephone exchanges, sewage and sanitation systems all still in ruins. The US government pledged $18.4 billion for rebuilding Iraq, but any money goes straight through to firms like Halliburton, which gets $1 billion of taxpayers' money every month, saving it from bankruptcy. (Cheney had bought Dresser Industries for $7.7 billion, without noticing that it owed billions in damages.) Bechtel got the $1.8 billion contract to rebuild Iraq's water, sewage and electricity systems. Both Halliburton and Bechtel have been fined for corrupt practice. Another US firm got a $780 million contract, despite convictions for fraud on three federal projects and a total ban on receiving US government work. The coalition gets ever smaller, the insurgency ever larger: the longer the occupiers stay, the more insurgents there seem to be. Rumsfeld, while publicly promising a swift victory, said in a private memo that the USA is in for a 'long, hard slog' in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cheney said in April 1991, 'I think to have American military forces engaged in a civil war inside Iraq would fit the definition of quagmire, and we have absolutely no desire to get bogged down in that fashion.' It's an old story. T. E. Lawrence wrote in August 1920, 'The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse that we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows.' We should be demanding that the troops come home, and let the people of Iraq run their country in the way that they want to. Imposing foreign rule is not democratic, but despotic.

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