Bernard-Henri Levy is a contemporary French philosopher that I studied in college. He stands out as one of the few from the academic hippy generation in France that found coherence and incisive logic to be his favored tools rather than play and linguistic shell games.
When Daniel Pearl, of the Wall Street Journal, was beheaded and dismembered in Pakistan for the crime of snooping his nose into underworld business that fiercely guarded it's own secrecy, and for being a Jew of course, Levy embarked on a journey through Pakistan, DC, and London to see if he could find some answers to lingering doubts he had about the motive for such a hideous crime. He has 30 books under his belt since he first became fascinated by India and Pakistan, and this book is a riveting read that pulls from all of that experience.
Here's a taste from the Foreword to Who Killed Daniel Pearl? by Levy, which lays out the most convincing anti-Iraq war argument I have ever heard. Note the distinct lack of bitterness and ad hominem attack in his tone, and try to grapple with the seriousness of his warning to us:
Completing (this book), I understand better why this war, from its initial premises, inspired in me such a feeling of malaise.
It is certainly not that I am a pacifist.
It is not that i am less sensitive than others to the idea of seeing Iraqi people, who were dying a slow death forgotten by the world, delivered from their tyrant.
But there I was, returning from that other world. During the entire time of the debate over the question of the priority of overthrowing Saddam and whether the planet's fate was at stake in Baghdad, I was in the black hole of Karachi. And I couldn't, and still can't, help imagine that this war in Iraq - beyond it's human and political costs, beyond the civilian deaths and the new spin it will give to the wicked wheel of the war between civilizations - attests to a singular error of historical calculation.
A regime already largely disarmed while in the depths of Pakistan's cities, nuclear secrets were traded.
A tyrant in his autumn, a phantom of 20th century history, while, back there in Karachi, tomorrow's barbarous configurations were being concocted.
One of the last political dictators being consigned to ancient bestiaries - and, on the other side, beasts of unknown species rising up, with limitless ambitions, for whom politics is at best a useful fiction.
And against this dictator, supporting this circus of a war to feed world opinion, a makeshift coalition where - supreme joke - we pretended to enlist this same Pakistan that i saw turning into the Devil's own home.
That is also the Pearl case.
An invitation not to mistake this century for another.
An opportunity to explore this silent hell, full of the living damned, where our next tragedies are hatching.