Short review: Ilario Pantano’s Warlord is both the best and worst book yet written about the Iraq campaign. Worst, because Pantano’s story so typifies our time and how we railroad warriors out of our military to satisfy the appetites of political correctness. Best, because while profane it is beautifully written and elegant in its storytelling. It’s a Marine’s book about a Marine’s kind of war, yet it’s also a biography and a courtroom drama and in its own way a hymn to our country. Pantano is as true a patriot as this land has ever produced. Warlord, with its battles in Al Anbar and military courtrooms and its sweep from the streets of Hell’s Kitchen to Marine sniper school, is the definitive book about America’s longstanding conflict with Saddam’s Iraq and the forces of jihad.

Read it. And understand that Pantano’s story represents the real tragedy of our time: We put legalese above sacrifice and honor, and we try to hang the warriors who defend us when they need our support the most.