War Trials by Will Yates
War Trials by Will Yates* is a non-fiction book on the case against Joseph McCleary who was on trial for the drowning of an Iraqi teenager. Anyone knowing the story knows that he was acquitted, but it did not end there and 2 more investigations took place, which only brought more misery for him and his former colleagues. The book starts with Joe’s life in Liverpool, his experience in the army, and the trial against him in Britain. His struggles are understandable and hearing stories like this can make all of us more aware of what soldiers who are coming back from conflicts need and also the support they need when they are there fighting.
In May 2003 an Iraqi teenager Ahmed Jabar Karheem drowned after caught looting in Iraq. In 2006 a court martial took place which found Joe not guilty. It was a tragic accident, but, by reading the book one can only wonder if anything could have been done differently in that situation. With limited resources, problems from rebels, high expectations from locals who were also looting, for various reasons, including because of their incredible low standards of living when the ones in charge were living in luxury. Iraq went through wars, when it attacked Iran and after that with Kuwait in the Gulf War. It’s no wonder people wanted to loot so they could feel they were regaining some of the control back, besides having the items they were looting, but it was no way a civil society could have developed in that situation. So, what UK and US troops had to do was not an easy task. Also, they were trained military men and not police which needs a different kind of training to keep public order.
From this point of the view the book delivered. It was fascinating to read, albeit I would have preferred a more unbiased approach as it is still a non-fiction book. The reason I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 is because the structure was too much as a novel and I didn’t like that. It is a narrative non-fiction, thus has things like dialogues. The storyline instead of being chronological jumped from Iraq to Britain and I was not keen on that. This might make the book more interesting for people who usually read fiction though. Overall it’s a good book and I would recommend it.
War Trials by Will Yates
Details about the picture: –
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen & Sword Military
Year it was published: 2021
Genre(s): History – 21st Century
About the author: Will Yates is a freelance writer, documentary producer and investigative researcher for television, film and radio. He has spent more than 18 years producing factual programming for Channel 4, BBC, The National Geographic, The Travel Channel, and The History Channel. His credits include researching the 2005 BAFTA-winning Channel 4 docu-drama, The Government Inspector, about the Iraq War and the suicide of British weapons inspector Dr David Kelly.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword
*I was sent a copy of War Trials by Will Yates for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.