Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan


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Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by Beth Bailey

Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2016

Investigates the causes, conduct, and consequences of the recent American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Understanding the United States’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is essential to understanding the United States in the first decade of the new millennium and beyond. These wars were pivotal to American foreign policy and international relations. They were expensive: in lives, in treasure, and in reputation. They raised critical ethical and legal questions; they provoked debates over policy, strategy, and war-planning; they helped to shape American domestic politics. And they highlighted a profound division among the American people: While more than two million Americans served in Iraq and Afghanistan, many in multiple deployments, the vast majority of Americans and their families remained untouched by and frequently barely aware of the wars conducted in their name, far from American shores, in regions about which they know little.

Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan gives us the first book-length expert historical analysis of these wars. It shows us how they began, what they teach us about the limits of the American military and diplomacy, and who fought them. It examines the lessons and legacies of wars whose outcomes may not be clear for decades.

In 1945 few Americans could imagine that the country would be locked in a Cold War with the Soviet Union for decades; fewer could imagine how history would paint the era. Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan begins to come to grips with the period when America became enmeshed in a succession of “low intensity” conflicts in the Middle East.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781479826902
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 12/18/2015
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 655,258
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Beth Bailey is Foundation Professor at the University of Kansas, where she is a member of the Department of History and Director of the Military and Society Center. Her most recent book is America’s Army: Making the All-Volunteer Force. The recipient of numerous prizes and fellowships for her scholarship, she has won two Distinguished Writing Awards from the Army Historical Foundation.

Richard H. Immerman is Professor of History, Edward Buthusiem Distinguished Faculty Fellow, and Marvin Wachman Director of the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy at Temple University and the Francis W. De Serio Chair of Strategic and Theater Intelligence at the Army War College. His most recent book is The Hidden Hand: A Brief History of the CIA. From 2007–2009 he served as Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analytic Integrity.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction Beth Bailey Richard H. Immerman 1

Part I The Wars and Their Origins

1 The Wars' Entangled Roots: Regional Realities and Washington's Vision Michael A. Reynolds 21

2 9/11: Bush's Response Terry H. Anderson 54

Part II The Possibilities and Limits of American Military and Diplomatic Strategy

3 Intelligence and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Richard H. Immerman 77

4 Assessing Strategic Choices in the War on Terror Stephen Biddle Peter D. Feaver 99

5 Military Strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq: Learning and Adapting under Fire at Home and in the Field Conrad C. Crane 124

6 Human Rights as a Weapon of War Jonathan Horowitz 147

Part III Waging and the Wages of War

7 The Combatants' Experiences Lisa Mundey 175

8 Fighting (against) the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan David Farber 194

9 Limited War in the Age of Total Media Sam Lebovic 220

10 "Watching War Made Us Immune": The Popular Culture of the Wars Andrew C. McKevitt 238

Part IV Lessons and Legacies

11 Veterans' Readjustment after the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars David Kieran 261

12 The Lessons and Legacies of the War in Iraq Robert K. Brigham 286

13 The Lessons and Legacies of the War in Afghanistan Aaron B. O'Connell 308

Timeline 333

Glossary 343

Notable Persons 351

About the Contributor's 355

Index 359

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