Bush's Wars

Bush's Wars

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by Terry H. Anderson
     
 

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From journalistic accounts like Fiasco and Imperial Life in the Emerald City to insider memoirs like Jawbreaker and Three Cups of Tea , the books about America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could fill a library. But each explores a narrow slice of a whole: two wars launched by a single president as part of a single foreign policy.

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Overview

From journalistic accounts like Fiasco and Imperial Life in the Emerald City to insider memoirs like Jawbreaker and Three Cups of Tea , the books about America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could fill a library. But each explores a narrow slice of a whole: two wars launched by a single president as part of a single foreign policy. Now noted historian Terry H. Anderson examines them together, in a single comprehensive overview.

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush told advisor Karl Rove, "I am here for a reason, and this is how we're going to be judged." Anderson provides this judgment in this sweeping, authoritative account of Bush's War on Terror and his twin interventions. He begins with historical surveys of Iraq and Afghanistan known respectively as "the improbable country" and "the graveyard of empires," and he examines U.S. policies toward those and other nations in the Middle East from the 1970s to 2000.

Then Anderson focuses on the Bush Administration, carrying us through such events as the terrorist's attacks of 9/11, the invasion of Afghanistan and the siege of Tora Bora, the "Axis of Evil" speech, the invasion of Iraq and capture of Baghdad, and the eruption of insurgency in Iraq. He ranges from RPGs slamming into Abrams tanks to cabinet meetings, vividly portraying both soldiers in the field and such policymakers as Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice. Anderson describes the counter-insurgency strategy embodied by the "surge" in Iraq, and the simultaneous revival of the Taliban. He concludes with an assessment of the prosecution of the wars in the first years of Barack Obama's presidency.

Carefully researched and briskly narrated, Bush's Wars provides the single-volume, balanced history that we have been waiting for.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A historian harshly assesses the Bush Administration's efforts to combat terrorism and wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Brushing aside the former president's claim that he cannot be fairly judged until after his death, Anderson (History/Texas A&M Univ.; The Pursuit of Fairness: A History of Affirmative Action, 2004, etc.) insists that the legacies and lessons of the Bush presidency are already ripe for appraisal. After supplying useful potted histories of Iraq, "the Improbable Country," and Afghanistan, "the Graveyard of Empires," and a 30-year review of U.S. policy toward and battles with al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, the author brings the reader up to 9/11. From there, he focuses on George W. Bush's presidency, an account of unrelieved hubris, malfeasance, deceptions and incompetence. The short version, widely available prior to this book's publication, is as follows: Having ignored signals that should have alerted them to al-Qaeda's attacks, Bush officials pressed for laws that curbed domestic civil liberties, even as they engaged in extra-legal methods to fight a misguided and certainly misnamed "war on terror." Then, taking advantage of a traumatized electorate, an incurious, revenge-minded president, aided by Cheney, Rumsfeld and a brace of Pentagon neocons, abetted by a pliant CIA and a duped Colin Powell, cherry-picked evidence, lied to the country and rushed into a disastrous war for oil in Iraq against an unsavory dictator, easily demonized because he possessed WMDs, an accusation never proven. This horribly wrong turn in Iraq squandered the world's good will, allowed Osama bin Laden to escape capture and the Taliban to regroup in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, a mismanaged, bloody Iraq occupation depleted our treasury, depressed our military and robbed us of any moral credibility. Untroubled by the succeeding administration's adoption of many of the Bush policies—Guantánamo remains open, the Patriot Act was extended—or by recent upheavals in the Muslim world that have demonstrated once again the difficulties of a properly calibrated American diplomatic and military response, Anderson approvingly cites a fellow professor's judgment that, when it comes to Bush, there may be "no alternative but to rank him as the worst president in U.S. history."

A relentlessly tendentious account sure to delight Bush critics and infuriate admirers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199747528
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
07/01/2011
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

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