The Foreign Service Journal - October 2017

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2017 63 His book, then, can be seen as part of this process. It is retrospective—a granu- lar yet gripping ground-level account of the political and human costs of war: its small successes, as well as its tragedies, absurdities and ironies. While Weston’s style is more descrip- tive than prescriptive, his tone is both angry and sorrowful, and the effect is a cry from the heart about the costs of war. This brings up the book’s title. The mirror test, he explains, is a challenge given to a seriously wounded and disfigured soldier: When he sees himself in a mirror, can he foresee a life of pride and honor? As the cover illustration of two American flags—one immaculate and one tattered—indicates, Weston is concerned about the deterioration of America’s image caused by the wars, both our self- image and our image in the eyes of the world. This very readable book can help us understand better the human and politi- cal costs of the last 15 years. Gordon Brown served in the U.S. Army before joining the Foreign Service. His 30-plus-year diplomatic career was centered in the Middle East and North Africa. He was the political adviser to the U.S. Central Command during the first Gulf War and re- tired as an ambassador. Amb. (ret.) Brown served on the FSJ Editorial Board from 2011 to 2017. French Lessons A History of the Iraq Crisis: France, the U.S., and Iraq (1991-2003) Frédéric Bozo, Columbia University Press, 2016, $34.82/hardcover, $44.32/Kindle, 408 pages. Reviewed By Diana Clark Gill When is a book about deciding whether to go to war in Iraq not a book about deciding whether to go to war in Iraq? Answer: when it is a cautionary tale, using the 2003 American war against Iraq as an example of the difficulties of maintaining a diplomatic relationship with a country that is bigger than yours, with more political clout, and yet one that is intent on making a bad global situation even worse. In other words, when it is the story of how France negotiated its antiwar position with the hawkish United States after 9/11. Frédéric Bozo, a professor at the Sorbonne in Paris with specialties in history and international relations, takes us behind the political curtain of the build-up to the U.S.-Iraq War of 2003. Powerfully, he shows how events between 9/11 and the beginning of the Iraq War were perhaps more than anything a crisis between an aggres- sive United States that wanted to act independently without constraints in punishing a recalcitrant Saddam Hus- sein over obstruction of United Nations weapons inspectors and major Euro- pean powers, who were insisting on the communal rule of international law as dictated by the United Nations. During the lead-up to war, French President Jacques Chirac communi- cated to President George W. Bush that he thought Washington was not only about to intervene in an area of the world of which it had little cultural understanding, but by doing so, would undermine the U.N. by flagrantly acting without the sanction of the Security Council.