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Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq
     

Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq

3.9 16
by Michael R. Gordon
 

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There have been many reports about the Iraq war and the vicissitudes of the American occupation, yet none heretofore has been informed by the inside story. Rendered fairly and documented impressively, it offers a galvanizing account of the strategy, the personalities, the actual battles, the diplomacy, the adversary, and the occupation.

Cobra II is

Overview

There have been many reports about the Iraq war and the vicissitudes of the American occupation, yet none heretofore has been informed by the inside story. Rendered fairly and documented impressively, it offers a galvanizing account of the strategy, the personalities, the actual battles, the diplomacy, the adversary, and the occupation.

Cobra II is stunning work of investigative journalism by Michael Gordon, the chief military correspondent of The New York Times, winner of the George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting in 1989 and the one and only correspondent embedded in Allied land command; and General Bernard E. Trainor, former military correspondent for The New York Times and current military analyst for NBC. Brimming with new and compromising disclosures, the book promises to be a singularly authoritative and comprehensive account of the planning and prosecution of the Iraq war.

Michael Gordon had unparalleled access to top military brass and was in the war room with Tommy Franks, Donald Rumsfeld and the field generals who were key in the formulation and execution of the war strategy. He has interviewed an extraordinary range of officials, including Franks himself, Condoleezza Rice, Steve Hadley, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman (the third ranking State Department official), Jerry Bremer, General Meyers (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), as well as virtually every general, regimental commander and brigade commander. He has had access to classified military and diplomatic documents, military archives and internal after-action reports and oral histories not meant for public consumption.

About the Authors

MICHAEL GORDON is the chief military correspondent for The New York Times. Since he joined the newspaper in 1985, he has covered arms control, the proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons and other security issues. Mr. Gordon has been posted in Washington, Moscow and London and has covered the United States intervention in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf War, the Kosovo conflict, NATO's military deployment in Macedonia, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the Russian invasion of Chechnya, among other conflicts. Mr. Gordon is the co-author, along with Bernard E. Trainor, of The Generals' War, a critically acclaimed account of the Persian Gulf conflict.

BERNARD E. TRAINOR, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general, was a military correspondent for The New York Times from 1986-1990. He was the Director of the National Security Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from 1990-1996. Currently a military analyst for NBC, Trainor lives in Potomac Falls, Virginia.

Editorial Reviews

Sean Naylor
A work of prodigious research, Cobra II will likely become the benchmark by which other histories of the Iraq invasion are measured. Note the word invasion. Cobra II was the name United States commanders gave the operation to depose Saddam Hussein's regime. It is the story of the planning, execution and immediate aftermath of that invasion that is related by Michael R. Gordon, The New York Times's chief military correspondent, and Bernard E. Trainor, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general and former military correspondent for The Times, in Cobra II.
— The New York Times
Andrew F. Krepinevich
The book's core, however, centers not on Beltway deliberations but on the dash to Baghdad by the Army and the Marines.The authors do a fine job making one of the most lop-sided campaigns in memory interesting, but the surprises that the Americans encounter turn out to be even more compelling. Senior U.S. field commanders soon realize that their principal enemy is not the Iraqi army but irregular forces -- many of them foreigners -- employing guerrilla tactics. These are portents of the full-blown insurgency to come, but no one back in Washington proves capable of connecting the dots.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
On one level, narrator Wasson's mostly neutral delivery is apt. The authors' dispassionate prose imparts their impeccably researched story of the 2003 Iraq invasion-from concept to insurgency. Sourced at the highest levels, Cobra II captures the fog of war and war planning. But Wasson's read too often feels routine, as if recounting a local board meeting. Because he renders the numerous players and backdrops with equal tones, differentiating between them can be a challenge. This style of narration creates an anti-tension when juxtaposed with the book's revelations that an invasion plan was being formed not long after September 11, despite administration denials. Strictly supervising the plan was defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was intent on transforming the military into a lighter, leaner force. False assumptions, faulty intelligence, willful ignorance, personal politics and a lack of foresight all fed into the invasion strategy and subsequent messy outcome. During the audiobook's second half, which documents the march to Baghdad and enemy engagements, Wasson's energy picks up and he paints some impressive scenes of war. But in the end, a more vibrant read would have better complemented the significance of this penetrating work. Gordon reads the introduction and epilogue. Simultaneous release with the Pantheon hardcover. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Gordon, chief military corespondent for the New York Times, and NBC military analyst Trainor, retired from the Marine Corps, reportedly got special access for this behind-the-scenes account of preparing for war. With a 12-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“A work of prodigious research, Cobra II will likely become the benchmark by which other histories of the Iraq invasion are measured.”—The New York Times “Magisterial . . . With mountains of fresh detail on the war’s planning and progress with judicious analysis, Cobra II . . . will be hard to improve upon.” —The Economist“Stands as the best account of the war to dateÉoffers an instructive lesson on the consequences of inadequate strategic planning.”—The Washington Post Book World“ExcellentÉ Cobra II is everything that the Bush administration's plan for the war was not. It is meticulously organized, shuns bluff and bombast for lapidary statements, and is largely impervious to attack.”—The New York Times Book Review“RemarkableÉ a classic military history of the blow-by-blow fighting to Baghdad. Cobra II makes an irrefutable case for where the laurels lay for the victors and where the blame lies for the defeats.”—The Portland Oregonian

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375422621
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/14/2006
Pages:
640
Product dimensions:
8.12(w) x 9.48(h) x 1.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

Cobra II


By Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor

Random House

Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0375422625


Chapter One

Chapter 1
Snowflakes from the Secretary


In late 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld summoned the senior military leadership to his office on the E-ring of the Pentagon. It had been an extraordinarily eventful period for the administration of George W. Bush. Kabul had recently fallen. U.S. commandos and Pashtun commanders in southern Afghanistan were on the hunt for Osama bin Laden. In Bonn, Germany, the United States and diplomats from allied nations were prepared to anoint a new group of Afghan leaders.

During his short tenure at the Pentagon, Rumsfeld had established himself as an indomitable bureaucratic presence. It was a commonplace among the Bush team that the military needed stronger civilian oversight, and Rumsfeld exercised control with the iron determination of a former corporate executive. He had a restless mind and was given to boast that he was genetically impatient.

When he arrived at the Pentagon, Rumsfeld made clear that his goal was nothing less than to remake the U.S. military to fashion a leaner and more lethal force. Notepads were strewn throughout his outsized office. When the defense secretary had an idea he scribbled it down. Four-star generals and high-ranking aides were accustomed to receiving snowflakes: tersememos that captured his latest brainstorm or query and that landed with a thud.

Rusmsfeld had been receiving his daily CIA briefing shortly before the American Airlines plane plowed into the building on September 11. Afterward, he had staked out a clear position on how the Bush team should respond. The United States should take the fight to the Taliban and Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, but it would not end there. The Pentagon needed to take an even more forceful step that would let its enemies know that the United States was now involved in a global war against the terrorists and the renegade states that helped them. The U.S. needed to land a series of blows well beyond Afghanistan. The question was where and when to strike.

The defense secretary's meeting had been called to ponder the war plan for another potential adversary. General Richard B. Myers, the pliable chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) who was picked by Rumsfeld because of his reputation as a team player, was there. So was Peter Pace, the ambitious vice chairman who was already being talked about as an officer who might follow in Myers's footsteps. Greg Newbold, the three-star general who served as chief operations deputy for the JCS, had the main assignment for the session. He was to outline Central Command's OPLAN 1003-98, the military's contingency plan in the event of a war with Iraq.

Newbold was armed with a pile of slides as the generals and Rumsfeld sat around a conference table. As Newbold outlined the plan, which called for as many as 500,000 troops, it was clear that Rumsfeld was growing increasingly irritated. For Rumsfeld, the plan required too many troops and supplies and took far too long to execute. It was, Rumsfeld declared, the product of old thinking and the embodiment of everything that was wrong with the military.

Myers asked Rumsfeld how many troops he thought might be needed. The defense secretary said in exasperation that he did not see why more than 125,000 troops would be required and even that was probably too many. Rumsfeld's reaction was dutifully passed to the United States Central Command.1

"My regret is that at the time I did not say, 'Mr. Secretary, if you try to put a number on a mission like this you may cause enormous mistakes,' " Newbold later recalled. "Give the military the task, give the military what you would like to see them do, and then let them come up with it. I was the junior military guy in the room, but I regret not saying it."2

The 1003 plan was ripe for review and was based on the assumption that it would be Iraq that would start the fight. Nonetheless, the plan, which had been regularly exercised in war games, reflected long-standing military principles about the force levels that were needed to defeat Iraq, control a population of more than 24 million, and secure a nation the size of California with porous borders. Rumsfeld's numbers, in contrast, seemed to be pulled out of thin air. He had dismissed one of the military's long-standing plans and suggested his own force level without any of the generals raising a cautionary flag.

General Tommy Franks, the CENTCOM commander, would draw up the new plan, but Rumsfeld would poke, prod, and question the military at every turn. Defense Department civilians would move into Franks's planning cells to monitor his work, and the general would be summoned to Washington repeatedly to present his evolving plan and receive new guidance from his civilian master. The JCS chairman and his staff would be little more than onlookers. Two momentous signals had been sent at Newbold's briefing. Iraq would be the next phase in the Bush administration's self-declared "global war on terror" and the defense secretary would insist on an entirely new kind of Iraq war plan.


When he was running for president, George W. Bush had signaled that he wanted to overhaul the U.S. military. His father's earlier victory in the Persian Gulf, Bush said in a 1999 speech at the Citadel, was an impressive accomplishment, but also one that had taken six months of planning, amassing of military forces and supplies, and preparation. That was too long for the sole remaining superpower to project its power throughout the world. Bush pledged to develop lighter, more mobile, and more lethal forces.

Nor did Bush see the need for the sort of lengthy peacekeeping operations or difficult nation-building missions that the administration of Bill Clinton had undertaken in the Balkans. The purpose of the military, Bush argued, was to fight and win the nation's wars, not to linger to bring stability to newly ordained states. A strong secretary of defense would be appointed and he would have a broad mandate to develop a new military structure. Generals and admirals who supported the new program would be promoted. Billions of dollars in new spending would be channeled for the research and development of missile defense and other high-
technology military systems.3

The speech was drafted by some of the so-called Vulcans, the cluster of conservative former national security officials who had formed the nucleus of a shadow government during the Clinton years and would later find a place at the top of the new administration. The idea of using advanced reconnaissance systems, command and control networks, and precision weapons to strip away the fog of war and strike the enemy with devastating effect had attracted a small, but influential, group of adherents, and the Vulcans were among them. It was supposed to be nothing less than a revolution in military affairs that would reduce the requirement for large land armies, and with Bush's election some of the self-proclaimed revolutionaries would be in charge.

Once in office, Bush made good on the pledge to support a powerful defense secretary, settling on Rumsfeld, a choice that was strongly endorsed by Vice President Dick Cheney, who sensed that his former mentor would not only have a strong hand at the tiller but would serve as an ally in policy debates.

At sixty-eight, Rumsfeld was full of energy and brimming with confidence. He had been a wrestler in college, a combative and solitary sport, run with the bulls in Spain, followed his father into the Navy, been NATO ambassador, won a seat in Congress, earned a small fortune as the CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and run two government commissions: one on ballistic missile threats from Third World countries and the other on space policy. Rumsfeld was both the youngest and the oldest person to serve as defense secretary, having served as the Pentagon chief under President Gerald Ford. He had not been among the drafters of the Citadel speech, but he wholly supported the theme.

As Rumsfeld prepared to take on his responsibilities at the Pentagon he met with William S. Cohen, the Maine Republican who served as Bill Clinton's secretary of defense. Cohen, who had traveled widely in the post, advised Rumsfeld to go to Wehrkunde, the premier European security conference, which was held annually in Munich over a February weekend. Rumsfeld, he said, needed to get to know the European allies, as otherwise there would not be another opportunity to do so until a NATO meeting the following June. Rumsfeld resisted the idea, arguing that he could not afford to loosen his grip on the Pentagon even for a weekend. Rumsfeld eventually relented and went to Munich, delivered a speech on missile defense, pronounced allied unease about the project to be utterly incomprehensible, and rushed back. The episode was telling: Rumsfeld's principal battleground was the Pentagon, his concern over relations with the allies was secondary, and he was uneasy leaving others in charge even for a day.

At the Defense Department, Rumsfeld was quick to demonstrate and solidify his authority. Each month, the defense secretary was required to approve sensitive reconnaissance operations. The missions were listed in a top secret binder, and once when an action officer came in to get Rumsfeld's okay he noted in passing that the State Department had already reviewed the list and had not seen any problems. The innocent comment was like waving a red flag before a bull. Rumsfeld refused to sign, saying he would need to study the binder first. For several days, there was a mysterious lull in reconnaissance operations as the new defense secretary made clear that the building he was trying to bend to his will could not take him for granted. There were small changes that sent a message as well. The elaborate honor ceremonies for visiting dignitaries were declared to be an unnecessary frill and cut back.4

As Rumsfeld saw it, the biggest obstacles to his authority and vision were institutional. All of the Joint Chiefs of Staff--the leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, who were presided over by a chairman selected by the president--were holdovers from the Clinton administration. Soon after arriving at the Pentagon, Rumsfeld met with General Hugh Shelton, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former Special Operations Forces commander and an imposing physical presence. Shelton sought to assure Rumsfeld that there was no such thing as Clinton generals and admirals. Shelton and the chiefs would be loyal to the new administration. Rumsfeld, however, was concerned that the JCS and its staff had emerged as a rival source of power. The new defense secretary complained that the Joint Staff was too large and recommended that it be reduced by dispensing with Shelton's office of legislative affairs and his office of public affairs. Shelton stood his ground, arguing that the JCS chairman, by law, was the principal military adviser to the president and the National Security Council as well as the secretary of defense and that he needed a staff to support those responsibilities. Besides, Shelton argued, the civilian staff that reported to the defense secretary was even larger.

At one point, Shelton received a tip from a friendly member of the defense secretary's staff that Rumsfeld planned to fire Scott Fry, the Navy admiral who served as the director of the Joint Staff, which supported the chairman, and who never clicked with the new defense secretary. Shelton burst into Rumsfeld's office unannounced and said he would resign if Fry was replaced. Rumsfeld would then have two vacancies on his hands. Rumsfeld, who had made no secret of his disdain for Fry, insisted he had no such plan. The episode spoke volumes about the strains between the new civilian leadership and the military during the early months of Rumsfeld's tenure. Shelton was determined to defend the prerogatives of his office and its independence. Rumsfeld approached defense like a businessman who saw himself on the top of a steep pyramid.5

In his quest to remake the armed forces, Rumsfeld did not hesitate to go outside the military and tap a network of formal and informal advisers. Rumsfeld was fascinated by the views of Andrew Marshall, the seventy-nine-year-old head of the Defense Department Office of Net Assessment, a sort of Pentagon think tank, who saw satellites, information systems, long-range precision weapons, and advanced military technology as a way to check the rise of China. Marshall had not been an influential figure during the Clinton administration, and Cohen had proposed moving Marshall's office across the Potomac River and installing him at the National Defense University. Cohen relented following protests from Marshall's high-level friends, including Rumsfeld, who wrote Cohen a letter describing Marshall as a national treasure.6

At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld's program was dubbed "transformation," and it soon acquired the aura of an official ideology. The secretary was enamored of missile defense and space weapons, the issues he had worked on during his years out of office. He was also skeptical about the Army leadership, which he considered to be too old-fashioned, wedded to heavy forces, and too slow to change. Bush's Citadel speech had spoken of developing land forces that were more mobile and easier to deploy. Further, even with the hefty budget increases the new administration was projecting, there was not enough money to fund all the programs on the Pentagon wish list. With 476,000 troops, Army personnel costs were a major claimant on the budget--and, for the proponents of transformation, a sponge that soaked up much of the funding that could be used for space-based radars and other new systems they hoped would replace the cumbersome "legacy" systems of the Cold War.7

With Rumsfeld at the helm, some long-standing critics of the Army leadership felt that they had an ally at the top. Douglas A. Macgregor, an iconoclastic Army colonel who believed his service had too much of a Cold War focus, was one of them. When Macgregor ran into Steve Cambone, Rumsfeld's closest and most loyal aide, Cambone jested that Rumsfeld thought the Army's problems could be solved by lining up fifty of its generals in the Pentagon and gunning them down.8

General Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, and Tom White, the secretary of the Army, sometimes felt as if they were a bureaucratic target and were not amused. Shelton, for his part, felt that Rumsfeld was not so much a visionary as parochial. Rumsfeld, the JCS chief told associates, had been a Navy fighter pilot, seemed partial to the Navy and the Marines, and was biased against the Army because it had mechanized forces and had taken on Balkan peacekeeping missions that the Bush administration considered to be a distraction.<

Continues...


Excerpted from Cobra II by Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Michael R. Gordon is the chief military correspondent for The New York Times, where he has worked since 1985. He is the coauthor, with Lieutenant General Bernard E. Trainor, of The GeneralsÕ War. He has covered the Iraq War, the American intervention in Afghanistan, the Kosovo conflict, the Russian war in Chechnya, the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and the American invasion of Panama. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

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Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book explains in great detail all the forces that went into the Iraqi war, both political and militarily. It also gives good insight on how Iraq's government and military anticipated and responded to the American-led invasion. Though most of this book consists of the soldier's perspective, it delves into some very interesting administrative actions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very insightful book and greatly needed due to the media's pathetic, manipulative and liberal reporting of the post-war efforts in Iraq.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once the reader gets used to military-speak (rank, divisions, weapons, kinds of helicopters, special forces will confuse the non-military reader), this book is a reliable account of the Iraq war from the soldier's point of view. Despite bad intelligence, Rumsfeld's micromanagement of the war, wishful thinking on the administration's part, a battle plan for the wrong kind of war (actually an asymmetrical war fought with guerrilla tactics on the Iraqi side), one has to come away with admiration for the individual soldier and marine. They endure hardship hard to imagine from the civilian point of view.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This friendly account of the US attack on Iraq is by Michael Gordon, an American journalist embedded with the US forces, and US General Bernard Trainor. It presents ¿an inside look at how a military campaign that was so successful in toppling Saddam Hussein¿s regime set the conditions for the insurgency that followed.¿ General Franks, the commander of the US forces, predicted that they would be in Baghdad in two weeks, but unexpectedly fierce resistance, command failures and logistical problems all stalled the attack. The authors conclude that the USA fought the wrong war. Bush and Blair told us that it would be a repeat of World War Two. But, as the authors point out, ¿The Iraq War was a war of choice, not necessity.¿ This was no war of self-defence, but an illegal colonial war of aggression. It was not a war against a regime and its army, but against `the Iraqi people themselves¿. From day one, the invading forces faced `determined fighters employing guerrilla tactics¿, but the US command failed to adapt to this. The authors write, ¿There were indications from the first days of the invasion of the insurgency and guerrilla tactics to come, but they were ignored at the highest levels in Washington and at the Central Command. ¿ A journey through the war¿s hidden history demonstrates why American and allied forces are still at risk in a war the president declared all but won on May 1, 2003.¿ The US command placed too much reliance on technology - its hi-tec reconnaissance, surveillance and communications systems and its precision weaponry ¿ which certainly enabled the rapid advance to Baghdad and the infliction of huge numbers of casualties with relatively light US losses. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld had claimed that with `military transformation¿ US forces would have perfect intelligence on the enemy. But, as the authors note, ¿on the battlefield in Iraq the theory was not up to the challenge.¿ Also, the US special operations and intelligence efforts were ineffective: the CIA had predicted mass capitulation and a pro-US Shia uprising. Rumsfeld said it was ludicrous to think that it would take more troops to secure the peace than to win the war he counted on Iraqi troops to help run the occupation and he thought the occupation would last three months. But more troops are always needed to control cities than countryside and Iraq is 75% urbanised, compared with Bosnia and Kosovo¿s 50% and Afghanistan¿s 18%. The smaller the occupying force, the higher the civilian casualties, because smaller forces rely more on firepower, to make up for their lack of manpower. The occupying forces proved too small to seal Iraq¿s borders or guard its munitions or establish security or detain prisoners properly or rebuild Iraq or enforce democracy. This is not to argue for more troops ¿ the USA has not got them anyway and has no allies to provide them, apart from the ever-servile Labour government ¿ but to point out that the occupation has no chance of rebuilding Iraq or of establishing democracy: the USA¿s stated aims are impossible to achieve. So all the talk about planting democracy in Iraq and the Middle East was just to fool liberals into backing the war. The occupation has brought increased crime, massive looting, 60% unemployment, increased child mortality, undrinkable water and intermittent electrical power. US policy has widened sectarian strife: it discriminated against Sunni Muslims, but then, to stop Shia Muslim candidates winning the promised local elections, it aborted the elections, thus alienating the Shia too. The invasion and occupation followed the advice that US General Charles Horner gave to Franks: ¿In the end, if we are going to lead then we must be considered the madmen of the world, capable of any action, willing to risk any thing to achieve our national interests. ¿ If we are to achieve noble purposes we must be prepared to act in the most ignoble manner.¿
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an ex-military officer who was involved in the invasion of Iraq, I found the book to be frusterating and misleading. The author comes up with false assumptions based on manipulating the facts. He rightfully gives credit to the Army and Marines for their work but repeatedly (and wrongfully) criticizes the Air Force and CIA while giving a lukewarm picture of SOF forces. He also favors tales regarding the 'action packed adventures' of the 3rd ID but only touches on the mistakes made in Iraq (which is supposed to be the main point of the book).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Discussion of the Iraq War focuses as much on politics as on combat, and the debate about its management will continue for decades. This contentious global event mixes bad intelligence, bad politics, bad planning, huge antagonistic personalities and a smattering of good intentions. Authors Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor describe the power and limitations of new technologies, and detail the war's history, battles and personalities. Their gripping battle accounts have the power of a war novel. The Iraq conflict suffered from the fog of war that plagued almost every other modern clash, so discerning clear policy motives is difficult. Few heroes emerged from the halls of adminstration, where leaders bitterly disagreed with each other and with many in the outside world. Understanding this complex global event requires mastering many social and economic forces. We find that this large, well-researched volume is ¿ so far ¿ the indispensable, definitive source on the Iraq War.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Through documents and multiple interviews, the authors have meticulously traced the events of Iraq war up to ~ 6 months post-invasion. The book gives a very interesting insight how the US fight wars today : from the stategic decision-making to the tactics of street battles. I am completely ignorant in the military affaires, and the book will probably tell much more to someone with military experience, but I found the narration captivating and easy to understand nevertheless. IMHO, the book successfully avoids slipping into the Bush/Rumsfield-bashing or Bush/Rumsfield-applause. It only tries to tell the story. So if you just want an echo for your views on the war and Bush ( whatever they are), read something else. Otherwise, this book helps to understand a lot about this war .
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed how the authors portrayed the processes which national policymakers and military officials went through in the lead up to the Iraq War and this book definentely provided me with expanded insight into the conduct of the actual invasion and the post-war rebuilding of the Iraqi nation. It is a great indepth historical account of the Iraq War and it is my belief that it is thus far the defining piece of literature on the war.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once you drive by all of the hype that went into the start of this war, you end up in a place of confusion. Why exactly are we in this incredible ocean of quicksand? When all of the spinning stops you realize that it was done on a wing and a prayer. Removing Hussein was surely a laudable goal and the authors don't forget to remind you of this fact. Nevertheless, when you pull back the curtain, what you see is not so much a well-considered strategy but a belief system that pushed to the side more level headed voices. Finally, the true believers will feel weak to admit failure and so they don't as a result, we are all locked into a kind of Groundhog Day in Iraq -- every day going forward looks like the same violent day repeated over and over with no visible way out. No light at the end of this tunnel. Those on both sides of the issue will indeed find this book informative beyond the chattering classes that populate the TV screens and obscure the truth. This cuts through the fog of this war.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When you finish this book you will be both proud and ashamed of the people who are in high positions in our government, particularly those whom you trusted. Gordon has written an exciting and historical book about the Iraqi war which details the planning (or lack of),execution and post-invasion of the military effort. Very moving and enlightening. I also recommend highly Friedman's THE WORLD IS FLAT, and a great follow-up book, THE BLACK BOOK OF OUTSOURCING by Brown & Wilson. You will be smarter and more prepared for reading these books.
Ali Salim More than 1 year ago
Teribble