cover image The Best War Ever: Lies, Damned Lies, and the Mess in Iraq

The Best War Ever: Lies, Damned Lies, and the Mess in Iraq

John Stauber, Sheldon Rampton. Jeremy P. Tarcher, $11.95 (258pp) ISBN 978-1-58542-509-9

Having dissected the events and reporting that led to the invasion of Iraq in 2003's Weapons of Mass Deception, Rampton and Stauber now unravel the Bush administration's ""web of disinformation"" around its handling of the war. In the tradition of Austrian journalist Karl Wiegand, who observed after WWI that ""Politicians lie to journalists and then believe those lies when they see them in print,"" the authors detail the work of Bush's PR apparatus and the media's uncritical response. They provide elegant, effective analysis of examples including the media's approach to Colin Powell's now infamous UN speech affirming the existence of Saddam Hussein's WMDs, the politics behind the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as a CIA agent, the Pentagon's use of Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi as an inside source, and the complicated relationships New York Times reporter Judith Miller (who also reported on Iraq's possession of WMDs) had with the high ranking people in the administration. Rampton and Stauber make their argument with verve while carefully documenting their claims; this is muckraking without mudslinging.