'Escape' Is A Searing Indictment Of Nation-Building

March 17, 2015 11:03 AM

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Very early on in Escape from Baghdad!, before we realize how many murderous forces and literary genres are about to crash into each other, two friends are holed up in a safehouse in the South Ghazaliya neighborhood. Saddam Hussein has just been deposed; outside, the Madhi Army has just finished another minor street battle with a rival militia, and our heroes Dagr and Kinza are in possession of a stash of black market weapons and a captive: One of Saddam's head torturers.

As Dagr and Kinza – one a former economics professor, the other a reckless killer – debate the morality of executing a torturer, the U.S. Army comes knocking, "in their heavy armor and helmets, capable of kindness or casual violence as the mood took them, unreadable, random, terrifying." They bring ...

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