Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy

Overview


Today the U.S. military is more nimble, mobile, and focused on rapid responses against smaller powers than ever before. One could argue that the Gulf War and the postwar standoff with Saddam Hussein hastened needed military transformation and strategic reassessments in the post–Cold War era. But the preoccupation with Iraq also mired the United States in the Middle East and led to a bloody occupation. What will American strategy look like after U.S. troops leave Iraq? Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy ...
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Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy

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Overview


Today the U.S. military is more nimble, mobile, and focused on rapid responses against smaller powers than ever before. One could argue that the Gulf War and the postwar standoff with Saddam Hussein hastened needed military transformation and strategic reassessments in the post–Cold War era. But the preoccupation with Iraq also mired the United States in the Middle East and led to a bloody occupation. What will American strategy look like after U.S. troops leave Iraq? Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy examines the ways in which the Gulf War, the WMD standoff, the Iraq War, and the ongoing occupation have driven broader changes in U.S. national security policy and military strategy. Steven Metz answers three overarching questions: 1. How did the conflict with Iraq drive and shape broader changes in national security and military strategy? 2. Did policymakers and military leaders interpret the conflict correctly and make the most effective responses? 3. What does this process tell us about the process of change in America’s national security and military strategy and in the evolution of its strategic culture? Metz concludes that the United States has a long-standing, continuing problem “developing sound assumptions when the opponent operates within a different psychological and cultural framework.” He sees a pattern of misjudgments about Saddam and Iraq based on Western cultural and historical bias and a pervasive faith in the superiority of America’s worldview and institutions. This myopia contributed to America being caught off guard by Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, then underestimating his longevity, and finally miscalculating the likelihood of a stable and democratic Iraq after he was toppled. With lessons for all readers concerned about America’s role in the world, Dr. Metz’s important new work will especially appeal to scholars and students of strategy and international security studies, as well as to military professionals and DOD civilians. With a foreword by Colin S. Gray.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Metz’s work provides an excellent primer on a number of topics, including strategy in general, the history of the US-Iraq conflict, and counterinsurgency. The author also tackles the tough topic of the Middle East and its impact on US foreign and defense policy. That focus alone makes this book a worthwhile addition to any military officer’s library. But perhaps the most significant contribution Metz makes is found in his conclusion, where he demonstrates uncanny knowledge and insight regarding the future of US strategy following the conflict in Iraq. Leaders—political and military—are charged with looking to the future and devising and articulating a strategy that a nation can rely on as it marches forward. Steven Metz’s Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy is a superb tool to aid those leaders in that ongoing endeavor.”

"A well-researched, rich analysis of a war that will invariably shape American strategy and affect, if not determine, how the United States will react to future security challenges. . . . Metz has provided a great service."

"One for the top of your bookpile."

“Metz is as smart a thinker as they come. In Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy, he closely analyzes how the past two decades of America’s conflict with (and then within) Iraq reveals a crucial shortcoming for a global power to have: doing poorly at both strategy development and implementation. Metz’s book is simultaneously a history and a valuable guidebook for developing better strategic paradigms in the future.”

“This is a smart overview from one of our best strategic thinkers. Read it.”

“Steven Metz is considered by many to be one of America’s greatest strategists. It is no wonder, therefore, that this elegant book provides a balanced overview of the numerous ways in which America fails to devise strategy that can effectively guide inter-agency planning, capabilities development, and operations.”

“A tour-de-force assessment of America's long conflict with, and misunderstanding of, Iraq. Steven Metz displays a dazzling grasp of the nature of strategy and America's way of war, the challenges of insurgency and counterinsurgency, and the strengths and weaknesses of the George W. Bush White House--and how they all combined to produce failure in Iraq. Metz's book dissects the root causes of that failure more comprehensively and convincingly than any other work.”

“If you are looking for another superficial screed about Iraq told by a partisan hack and designed to reinforce your pre-existing biases, then stay as far away from this book as possible. Steve Metz has produced a thoughtful, well-reasoned work of true scholarship. He explains how the development of American strategy shaped our experiences with Iraq, and how our experiences in Iraq shaped the American military. You may not agree with everything in this book, but you cannot help being enlightened and challenged by it.”

“Two institutions failed the American people in the run-up to the ongoing war in Iraq. Neither the Congress nor the media provided oversight of the Executive Branch, which is constitutionally required of the first institution and expected of the latter. As a consequence a fundamentally flawed strategy was implemented by an equally flawed military plan. The results have been tragic and costly. Dr. Steven Metz does our nation a great service by exploring the causes of this U.S. strategic debacle, one that may well exceed that of the Vietnam War. Recognizing a problem and its cause are the first steps in setting things right. In this book Dr. Metz identifies the problem, explains what caused it, and most importantly, shows us a better path for the future.”

“Superb . . . Dr. Metz’s Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy is a book for which we have been waiting. This is a landmark text.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597971966
  • Publisher: Potomac Books
  • Publication date: 10/31/2008
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Metz is Chairman of the Regional Strategy and Planning Department and Research Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. He is the author of Eisenhower as Strategist: The Coherent Use of Military Power in War and Peace and Learning from Iraq: Counterinsurgency in American Strategy and articles in such journals as Washington Quarterly, Joint Force Quarterly, The National Interest, Defence Studies, and Current History. His research has taken him to thirty countries, including Iraq immediately after the collapse of the Saddam regime. Dr. Metz also serves on the RAND Corporation Insurgency Board. He lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Colin Gray is a professor of international politics and strategic studies and the director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Colin. S. Gray Gray, Colin. S.

1 Ascent of an Enemy 1

2 The Test of Battle 15

3 Transformation and Containment 49

4 Terrorism and Force 73

5 Decision and Triumph 101

6 Counterinsurgency 145

Notes 205

Selected Bibliography 235

Index 251

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