Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Andrew Tilghman

Andrew Tilghman was an Iraq correspondent for the Stars and Stripes newspaper in 2005 and 2006. His article "The Myth of AQI" is the cover story of the October issue of Washington Monthly.

Last week I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
My recent reporting about U.S. intelligence operations in Iraq finally prompted me to pick up a copy of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll. Looking at the Afghan war in hindsight is compelling because no one was able to see what the real story was at the time -- the birth of al Qaeda and the rise of political Islam. It makes me wonder how history will view the war in Iraq 20 years from now. And the book suggests that whatever that may be, it will both profound and completely unexpected.

My interest in war and insurgencies also led me to recently reread Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell's account of the ragtag international brigade of leftists fighting Franco's government in the 1930s. It's a great window on that bit of history. But more importantly it reminds me that Orwell is among my favorite writers in the English language. His depictions of real soldiers at war, completely unsentimental, are among the best I've found.
Read Tilghman's "The Myth of AQI."

--Marshal Zeringue