Michael Burleigh

Grease My Palm

Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security

By

W W Norton 262pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Thieves of State is instructive, though not in ways Sarah Chayes intended. Intellectuals are often attracted, like moths to the flame, to power, especially if that power consists of regimental insignia on the arms and phalanxes of aides called Bob or Chuck with laser wands to highlight PowerPoint presentations of kinetic kill rates.

In the following passage, Chayes describes a ‘gaggle’ at the Afghan headquarters of General David Petraeus, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF):

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