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A review in the New Yorker of Tom Rick’s new book about General Petraeus reveals its author, Dexter Filkins of the NYTimes as well, an unreliable source, to put it kindly. He glibly claims of the early Iraq War: “When the real invasion got under way, in March, 2003, American soldiers came under attack from a hidden enemy that was wearing no uniform at all.” In that case who were all those corpses wearing Iraqi Army uniforms that I saw and photographed on the way up North? (see below) What were those burning/burnt out Republican Guard vehicles? And who were those thousands of khaki-clad prisoners in the custody of the 3ID?

Perhaps Filkins didn’t arrive in Iraq until much later in the conflict and simply hasn’t done his homework – though I recall his own book (which I reviewed here) suggests that he was in country at the time. But where were the New Yorker’s famed fact checkers when his story came in? Shouldn’t an editor have checked the piece with a trustworthy source like the magazine’s own sterling reporter Jon Lee Anderson?

I’m curious about the book and to hear what Filkins (who is an experienced and intrepid war correspondent) has to say but if he gets facts like that wrong in the first paragraph I wonder if it’s worth reading the rest of the review…

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