Bodansky, ex-director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and author of Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America, offers many bold and contentious claims in this sprawling history of the Iraqi conflict up to Saddam's capture. Saddam, he asserts, was deeply involved with al-Qaeda, and indeed dispatched a (never""activated"") 500-man terrorist battalion to North America in 2002. Iraqi forces were awash in WMDs, which they planned to (but never did) launch at American soldiers, and which were finally spirited away to Syria or buried in the sand. And Syria and especially Iran, which now allegedly hosts al-Qaeda's headquarters, have been busily fomenting turmoil in Iraq and terror throughout the region. Bodansky affirms the Bush Administration's case for regime change and its larger""axis-of-evil"" worldview. But he deplores the invasion itself--Saddam could have been toppled by a coup instigated by Russia or the Arab states, he says--and despairs of the American nation-building project in Iraq, which he feels faces an unstoppable jihad by a coalition of Islamists, Baathists, Sunnis, Shiites, al-Qaeda and even many Kurds, supported by an increasingly anti-American populace. Bodansky offers a microscopically detailed portrait of the byzantine politics of the various Iraqi factions and their regional sponsors, along with a vigorous critique of the chaos, intelligence failures, political ignorance and military overkill that characterize the American occupation. Unfortunately, the book's jumbled narrative, reliance on unnamable insiders and unverifiable intelligence reports make it difficult to assess its more controversial claims--especially those about Iraqi WMDs, which are typically made off-handedly with few evidentiary citations. The result is an intriguing, but less than compelling, analysis of the Iraqi quagmire.