W. Lee Warren. No Place to Hide: A Brain Surgeon’s Long Journey Home from the Iraq War. Zondervan, 2014.
W. Lee Warren was an American medic in Iraq during the Iraq War. He
treated Americans and Iraqis, including Iraqi insurgents. He even met
Saddam Hussein after Saddam’s overthrow. This book is largely about the
operations that he performed on Americans and Iraqis, and the carnage
with which he came into contact. Writing his story was a way for him to
address his post-traumatic stress.
The most insightful parts of the book, in my opinion, were Warren’s
spiritual and political reflections. I could identify with his
spiritual reflections. He was once a person who believed that he had to
look all-right to the outside world, especially Christians, even when
things were not all right. He learned, however, that there were things
in life that he could not control, and that worship was coming to God in
a state of honest vulnerability.
While Christian author Philip Yancey states in the book’s afterword
that Warren leaves to others the debates about whether the Iraq War was
right or wrong, Warren did offer political opinions about the war.
Overall, Warren struck me as rather ambivalent. Warren believed that
the Americans were the good guys, noting that Americans treated the
enemy combatants who were wounded or dying, whereas the enemy did not do
the same for the Americans. Warren also indicates that he believes
that the Iraq War was, at least in part, about bringing democracy to
Iraq. At the same time, Warren laments the torture that certain
American soldiers performed at Abu Ghraib, asking what would have
happened if they chose instead to love their enemies and end the cycle
of sorrow and hate. On page 275, Warren wishes that he could have asked
both George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein if the war was truly worth it:
“In the grand scheme of things, what have you gained from all the
palaces and parades, from the bombs and the bullets and the dollars
spent and the lives lost?” Warren also reflects about how a number of
Iraqis were becoming insurgents in order to feed their families.
This was a thoughtful book—-often technical, but thoughtful.
Note: I received a complimentary review copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com/)
book review bloggers program. The program does not require for my
review to be positive, and my review reflects my honest reaction to the
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