A COUPLE OF months ago, at a formal dinner at a club in Pall Mall of which John Simpson was a member until a couple of years ago, a British officer told of his experiences in the recent war in Iraq. Because of the vastness of the subject, the speaker's normal time of twenty minutes had been extended to thirty. When he sat down eventually after an hour and twenty-one minutes, I thought I was probably the only one in the hall who was grateful to the chairman for being gentleman enough not to interrupt him. It was natural for me to be gripped by his every word. I am of Kurdish origin and have written on Iraq for a host of organisations for three decades (to be exact, thirty years and nine months) - ever since, as a broadcaster in the Persian section of the BBC, I was foolish enough to smuggle myself under the noses of the Turkish army into northern Iraq to see how Saddam prepared for his first war, against the Kurds.
Apologies for the digression. Simpson.: As the audience fanned out into Waterloo Place, the ladies were especially loud in their complaints. The men were in better moods as many of them had passed the time dozing. So, the first question to be asked about another large book on Saddam is,