Out of One, Many

From The New York Times:

Iraq_2 Two new books set out to improve our understanding, each providing a window into particular aspects of the current situation in Iraq. Both authors are fascinating, indeed idiosyncratic figures, and each has played a role in the events of the last three years: Fouad Ajami, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, has been a regular White House visitor as an unofficial adviser to the Bush administration. Peter W. Galbraith, a former Senate staff member and ambassador to Croatia, has been a constitutional adviser and political counselor to the Kurdish leadership in Iraq.

If Ajami is the self-made outsider from the Lebanese hinterland who has reached the corridors of power, Galbraith is an aristocrat of American foreign policy who has thrown in his lot with the stateless Kurdish people. A son of the economist John Kenneth Galbraith, presidential adviser and United States ambassador to India, he first encountered the Kurds during his long tenure as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff. Although his book is titled “The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End,” nearly a third of it is devoted to the story of Hussein’s oppression of the Kurds and Galbraith’s efforts on their behalf before and during the Kurdish uprising that followed Operation Desert Storm. When President Clinton sent him to Croatia in 1993, he not only turned his attention away from Kurdistan but also became a second-generation ambassador.

More here.