From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq

From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq

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From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm, John K. Wood

From Kabul to Baghdad and Back provides insight into the key strategic decisions of the Afghan and Iraq campaigns as the United States attempted to wage both simultaneously against al-Qaeda and its supporting affiliates. It also evaluates the strategic execution of those military campaigns to identify how well the two operations were conducted in light of their political objectives. The book identifies the elements that made the 2001 military operation to oust the Taliban successful, then with combat operations in Iraq as a standard of comparison, the authors analyze the remainder of the Afghan campaign and the essential problems that plagued that effort, from the decision to go to war with Iraq in 2002, through the ill-fated transition to NATO lead in Afghanistan in 2006, the dismissal of Generals McKiernan and McChrystal, the eventual decision by President Obama to make the Afghan campaign the main effort in the war on extremism, and the final development of drawdown plans following the end of the war in Iraq. No other book successfully compares and contrasts the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan from a national strategic perspective, analyzing the impact of fighting the Iraq War on the success of the United States campaign in Afghanistan. It is also the first book to specifically question several key operational decisions in Afghanistan including: the decision to give NATO the lead in Afghanistan, the decisions to fire Generals McKiernan and McChrystal and the decision to conduct an Iraq War-style surge in Afghanistan. It also compares the Afghan campaigns fought by the Soviet Union and the United States, the counterinsurgency campaigns styles in Iraq and Afghanistan and the leadership of senior American officials in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In the final chapter, the key lessons of the two campaigns are outlined, including the importance of effective strategic decision-making, the utility of population focused counterinsurgency practices, the challenges of building partner capacity during combat, and the mindset required to prosecute modern war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612511689
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Publication date: 10/12/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

John R. Ballard, Ph.D. is Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs at the National War College, David W. Lamm is the Deputy Director of the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies and John K. Wood is an Associate Professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies – all at the National Defense University in Washington, DC.

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Figures ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Acronyms and Abbreviations xvii

Prologue xxv

1 Fighting Two Enemies: A Historical Perspective 1

2 The Attacks of 9/11 and the Decision to Go to War in Afghanistan: A Historical Perspective 20

3 The Opening Gambit: Enduring Freedom and Unconventional Success 43

4 Iraq and the Iraqi Freedom Campaign: Shift of National Strategic Focus 77

5 Fighting two Wars: The Afghan Campaign as a Secondary Theater 111

6 The Casey Strategy in Iraq, from Fallujah to Tal Afar 139

7 Parallel Campaigns 164

8 The 2007 Baghdad Surge and the End of Combat Operations in Iraq 195

9 Developings the Afghan Surge Strategy 214

10 Conflict Termination in Afghanistan 238

11 A Final Assessment: Fighting Two Wars 272

Notes 303

Selected Bibliography 351

Index 357

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