The book first identifies the influence of the Vietnam era on the use of U.S. military power and the decision for war in 1990. The book then outlines the important factors of Iraqi history and culture which dominated relations between the two nations during the 1980s and 1990s. In subsequent chapters, the 1991 campaign of Desert Storm is analyzed from both the U.S. and Iraqi perspectives; then the military, economic and diplomatic actions of the period between the two more conventional, military parts of the conflict are assessed. The final chapters analyze the highly successful, 2003 conventional campaign from both perspectives; the ineffective post-war stabilization operations in Iraq which began with the failure to transition under the Coalition Provisional Authority; and the eventual development and implementation of a more effective strategy in Iraq - combining new doctrine and a "Surge" of forces to protect the population in a renewed counterinsurgency campaign. In a concluding chapter, the key lessons for the future are reviewed, including the importance of effective strategic decision-making and the mindset required to prosecute modern war.
Fallujah, the cradle of an insurgency that plunged Iraq into years of chaos and bloodshed, conjures up images of the brutal house-to-house fighting that occurred during the 2004 U.S. invasion of the iconic city. The violence peaked again two years later when American Marines and Iraqi government forces struggled with a reinvigorated insurgency and the prospect of premature withdrawal by U.S. forces.
Now in paperback, Fallujah Awakens--widely praised for presenting a balanced description of this crucial transition from both the American and the Iraqi perspectives--recounts the complex story of the remarkable turn around that began to take place in 2006-2007. As an embedded journalist, Bill Ardolino was in a unique position to observe and explain how local tribal leaders and U.S. Marines forged a surprising alliance that enabled them to secure the heavily contested battleground.
Based on more than 120 interviews with Iraqis and Americans, he explores how a company of Reservists, led by a medical equipment sales manager from Michigan, succeeded where previous efforts had stalled. Circumstance combined with smart leadership enabled Marines to build relationships with members of a Sunni tribe--once written off as dangerous and intractable--who pushed al Qaeda and other insurgents from their notoriously rebellious area.
Accidental killings, intertribal rivalries, insurgents, and intrigue all conspired to undo the tenuous alliance forged on Fallujah's peninsula. But the partnership was cemented after a Marine commander's risky decision to welcome nearly 100 injured civilians onto a secure American facility after a ruthless chemical attack by al Qaeda.
Ardolino's exhaustive documentation will prove valuable to military students, analysts, and historians and will help policy makers better understand what is and is not possible in counterinsurgency. Photographs and maps further enhance the reader's understanding of the struggle for Fallujah, from tribal dynamics to the geography of firefights.
Why did George W. Bush invade Iraq? What were the real motives, the overarching policy decisions that drove events from September 11 until the war began?To a large extent, we still don t know. But by now we do know in some detail, as Thomas Powers carefully explains in the essays collected here, how the administration made its case for war, using faulty intelligence to argue that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and posed a mounting threat to the Middle East. Once Iraq was occupied and the weapons turned out not to exist, the case for war seemed to disappear as well. Bit by bit the evidence the documents suggesting that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger, the aluminum tubes that the United States claimed were meant for uranium enrichment, the Iraqi defector code-named Curveball who claimed Saddam had mobile biological weapons labs has been exposed as unreliable, misinterpreted, cherry-picked, exaggerated, or just fake.But as faulty as the intelligence was, it was always only a pretext, a way of persuading Congress, America, and the world to support a war that President Bush had already decided to wage. The real question remains: Why did Bush insist on a war of choice, refusing to accept any solution short of an American occupation of Iraq? The answers Powers proposes to that question, which assess the Iraq invasion as an insistence on responding to political and cultural conflicts with military action, suggest an overarching failure of American policy in the region that, as long as it remains insufficiently understood and publicly debated, will make it difficult for any president to change course.No one is better prepared than Powers to evaluate the way the Bush administration used intelligence to make its case for war, used the CIA for political ends, and used arguments of secrecy to advance both its geopolitical agenda and its claims for executive power. But beyond the now-familiar stories of nonexistent WMDs, The Military Error proposes a new, deeper analysis of the error of using military force, which has succeeded primarily in generating opposition and increasing resistance to American aims. America went into Iraq full of bright hopes and confident ideas, but Powers argues that those ideas, based on the ability of force to solve problems, defeat opponents, and make friends, were largely illusions. Such illusions, as we learned at great cost in Vietnam, die hard, but we can make decisions about our future role in Iraq only by understanding the errors that got us embroiled there in the first place."
On a clear night in late June 2005, four U.S. Navy SEALs left their base in northern Afghanistan for the mountainous Pakistani border. Their mission was to capture or kill a notorious al Qaeda leader known to be ensconced in a Taliban stronghold surrounded by a small but heavily armed force. Less then twenty-four hours later, only one of those Navy SEALs remained alive. This is the story of fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of Operation Redwing, and the desperate battle in the mountains that led, ultimately, to the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history. But it is also, more than anything, the story of his teammates, who fought ferociously beside him until he was the last one left-blasted unconscious by a rocket grenade, blown over a cliff, but still armed and still breathing. Over the next four days, badly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell fought off six al Qaeda assassins who were sent to finish him, then crawled for seven miles through the mountains before he was taken in by a Pashtun tribe, who risked everything to protect him from the encircling Taliban killers. A six-foot-five-inch Texan, Leading Petty Officer Luttrell takes us, blow by blow, through the brutal training of America's warrior elite and the relentless rites of passage required by the Navy SEALs. He transports us to a monstrous battle fought in the desolate peaks of Afghanistan, where the beleaguered American team plummeted headlong a thousand feet down a mountain as they fought back through flying shale and rocks. In this rich, moving chronicle of courage, honor, and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers one of the most powerful narratives ever written about modern warfare -- and a tribute to his teammates, who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
An unprecedented account of life in Baghdad s Green Zone, a walled-off enclave of towering plants, posh villas, and sparkling swimming pools that was the headquarters for the American occupation of Iraq.
"The Washington Post" s former Baghdad bureau chief Rajiv Chandrasekaran takes us with him into the Zone: into a bubble, cut off from wartime realities, where the task of reconstructing a devastated nation competed with the distractions of a Little America a half-dozen bars stocked with cold beer, a disco where women showed up in hot pants, a movie theater that screened shoot- em-up films, an all-you-could-eat buffet piled high with pork, a shopping mall that sold pornographic movies, a parking lot filled with shiny new SUVs, and a snappy dry-cleaning service much of it run by Halliburton. Most Iraqis were barred from entering the Emerald City for fear they would blow it up.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews and internal documents, Chandrasekaran tells the story of the people and ideas that inhabited the Green Zone during the occupation, from the imperial viceroy L. Paul Bremer III to the fleet of twentysomethings hired to implement the idea that Americans could build a Jeffersonian democracy in an embattled Middle Eastern country.
In the vacuum of postwar planning, Bremer ignores what Iraqis tell him they want or need and instead pursues irrelevant neoconservative solutions a flat tax, a sell-off of Iraqi government assets, and an end to food rationing. His underlings spend their days drawing up pie-in-the-sky policies, among them a new traffic code and a law protecting microchip designs, instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoring electricity production. His almost comic initiatives anger the locals and help fuel the insurgency.
Chandrasekaran details Bernard Kerik s ludicrous attempt to train the Iraqi police and brings to light lesser known but typical travesties: the case of the twenty-four-year-old who had never worked in finance put in charge of reestablishing Baghdad s stock exchange; a contractor with no previous experience paid millions to guard a closed airport; a State Department employee forced to bribe Americans to enlist their help in preventing Iraqi weapons scientists from defecting to Iran; Americans willing to serve in Iraq screened by White House officials for their views on "Roe v. Wade; "people" "with prior expertise in the Middle East excluded in favor of lesser-qualified Republican Party loyalists. Finally, he describes Bremer s ignominious departure in 2004, fleeing secretly in a helicopter two days ahead of schedule.
This is a startling portrait of an Oz-like place where a vital aspect of our government s folly in Iraq played out. It is a book certain to be talked about for years to come."
James Verini arrived in Iraq in the summer of 2016 to write about life in the Islamic State. He stayed to cover the jihadis' last great stand, the Battle of Mosul, not knowing it would go on for nearly a year, nor that it would become, in the words of the Pentagon, "the most significant urban combat since WWII."
They Will Have to Die Now takes the reader into the heart of the conflict against the most lethal insurgency of our time. We see unspeakable violence, improbable humanity, and occasional humor. We meet an Iraqi major fighting his way through the city with a bad leg; a general who taunts snipers; an American sergeant who removes his glass eye to unnerve his troops; a pair of Moslawi brothers who welcomed the Islamic State, believing, as so many Moslawis did, that it might improve their shattered lives. Verini also relates the rich history of Iraq, and of Mosul, one of the most beguiling cities in the Middle East.
In April 2003, soon after Operation Iraqi Freedom had been declared a success, President Bush sent retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner to Iraq to rebuild the country. As Garner's executive officer, the author of this book was part of the senior leadership circle charged with three tasks. They were to reconstruct Iraq's infrastructure, provide humanitarian assistance, and lay the foundation for a democratic process to take hold. But not long after their arrival in the rubble and ruin of Iraq, the political, military, and economic wheels ground to a halt and theirs became mission improbable. In this book, Air Force Colonel Kim Olson tells how and why. Readers are privy to the candid discussions of U.S. generals frustrated by operating in a policy void. They sit at the table with Iraqi leaders who warn of an impending insurgency if the proclamations crafted by ill-informed and arrogant policy makers are implemented. And they share Olson's fear as Saddam's death squads attempt to assassinate her in an explosion of bullets.
This gripping, firsthand account of what went wrong is seen from Olson's unique point of view as a senior female military officer, pilot, wife, and mother. Many of the stories she tells are known to only the handful of people involved, including a mission to rescue two Iraqi women and details of early meetings with tribal leaders to discuss building a coalition government--an effort quashed by Garner's successor. Her haunting descriptions of Shiite families searching for loved ones in Saddam's killing fields and malnourished children in the town of Umn Qasr untouched by the International Oil-for-Food Program, will remain with readers long after they close the book. From the decisions of political leaders and military commanders to everyday encounters with the Iraqi people and informal conversations with soldiers, such a wealth of honest, insider information is rare. No other author weaves together military, political, and humanistic insights so effectively.
The United States went to war in Iraq to eliminate the threat from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction--which turned out not to exist. As the war drags on, the strange case of the weapons that were not there remains a matter of bitter debate, for it underscores the fact that the goals and the motivations of the Bush administration officials who argued for war are still largely obscure. Yet in fact there exists crucial and little-publicized evidence that lets us understand the secretive, even deceptive, way that the the US launched a war of choice in the Middle East in March 2003.At the beginning of May 2005, just before the British elections, the London Times published the "Downing Street Memo," the leaked secret minutes of a July 2002 meeting of senior British intelligence, foreign policy, and security officials. The memo made clear that eight months before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush had already decided on war. The British officials who attended the meeting were told that the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," that the US wanted to avoid consulting the UN, and that few plans were being made for the aftermath of war. Largely ignored in the US press for weeks afterward, The New York Review of Books published the memo in its entirety with an extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Mark Danner. Danner explains how the memo clarifies the broader--and largely concealed--history of the events leading up to the Iraq war. He shows that the Bush and Blair administrations advocated the resumption of UN weapons inspections as a means not to avoid war but to ensure it. Most importantly, Danner argues that in the face of the memo's clear evidence of deception, the press, public, and Congress still have not held the administration responsible. The Secret Way to War, with a preface by by Frank Rich, includes Mark Danner's strongly argued analysis of the Downing Street Memo as well as the complete text of the memo and seven other leaked British documents. Collectively, the documents show the members of Tony Blair's government and their counterparts in Washington struggling to find legal and political rationales and strategies for regime change in Iraq.