Ugly War and Soldier of Misfortune

Ugly War and Soldier of Misfortune are a pair of books about the Iraq war. Let’s take them one at a time.

Ugly War

Ugly War grew out of a long essay – seven thousand plus words – I wrote one evening in my study. At a certain point you just get fed up, so you have to get those dammed up thoughts out of your head. That essay was worth preserving.

Here is the cover image for the free ebook available at

Here’s the book description at the same site:

Let me tell you a little about how this book came to be. From the start I opposed the Iraq war as vehemently as I’ve opposed anything our government has done. My family can tell you, “When you talk to him, stay away from the war. He gets too angry and upset.” That was before the war started. After the war, after the invasion, it was anger mixed with such a strong feeling of helplessness. Talking with members of my family was no way to have an effect. They already knew what I thought.

Thus the book.

Ugly War is available in paper. Please write to me for a free copy.

Soldier of Misfortune

Soldier of Misfortune is one of those books that happens because you finish one book, and you find you have more to say. Book sequels come out not necessarily to make more money, but because the first volume does not exhaust your thinking. I initially called this ebook Positive Findings, with the feeling that if I revisited war in Iraq, I might see something to be optimistic about at the other end. It did not happen: this subject discourages me wherever I enter it, and wherever I leave it. The passage of another decade merely makes my predictions of calamity more immediate.

One drawback of this volume is that I wrote it shortly before I began research about 9/11. The argument assumes that al Qaeda made itself our enemy when it attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, and that al Qaeda was the only organization responsible for the attacks. Not long after the Iraq war reached its bloodthirsty denouement, I began to read David Ray Griffin’s work on the origins of the 9/11. He wrote book after book on the subject. Every one of them found strong evidence to indicate al Qaeda was not solely responsible for what Griffin and others called the New Pearl Harbor.

I thought of rewriting the book to take 9/11 research into account, but that would be a heavy rewrite of  a book that discusses events no longer in the news. The book serves well as history, but the argument feels dated. A key point in Soldier of Misfortune is that we should not go to war against Iraq, when our real enemy is al Qaeda. The picture becomes more complicated when you realize al Qaeda is not the United States’ only enemy. Our own deep state – so much more powerful since 9/11 – is far more dangerous.

The following description explains the book’s contents:

Soldier of Misfortune considers the war in Iraq as it enters its middle stages in 2004 and 2005. It investigates the war party’s mistakes, poor reasoning, and ultimately catastrophic misjudgments. Read the book to discover why the war occurred, how to correct the mistake, and where the United States stands now. Chapters include Consequentialist Reasoning, Scale of International Morality, Evil or Incompetent: Wrong Either Way, Time to Rethink, and War’s End.

I’ve also thought about integrating this book and Ugly War into a single volume, but that would take some doing. Integration involves rewriting, and rewriting in this case involves updating contents to take ten more years of war into account. So for now I’ll leave this pair of books as is.

Ugly War is a available only as a PDF. Soldier of Misfortune is available as an ebook at Smashwords.