Knights (The Washington Institute for Near East Policy) offers a detailed military narrative of America's struggle against Iraq's Baathists between 1990 and 2005, which sets the stage for his critique of US military power in the region and the asymmetric resistance capabilities of US adversaries. Drawing on interviews with American military and pol
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.
Since 2001, independent unembedded journalist Dahr Jamail has been filing reports from Iraq, chronicling the unfolding disaster there. This behind-the-scenes book takes readers past the lies of political leaders, past the cowardice of the mainstream press, into the streets, homes and lives of Iraqis living under the US-led occupation.
The Marines' campaign to secure Anbar Province in Iraq will rank as one of the Corps' historic battle achievements. Dick Shultz's brilliant account of that campaign is rich in lessons learned and examples of adaptability. The Marines Take Anbar will be a classic study in counter insurgency. -- Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Ret.)
The U.S. Marine Corps' four-year campaign against al Qaeda in Anbar is a fight certain to take its place next to such legendary clashes as Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Chosin, and Khe Sanh. Its success, the author contends, constituted a major turning point in the Iraq War and helped alter the course of events and set the stage for the Surge in Baghdad a year later. This book brings to light all the decisive details of how the Marines, between 2004 and 2008, adapted and improvised as they applied the hard lessons of past mistakes.
In March 2004, when part of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) was deployed to Anbar Province in the heart of the Sunni triangle, the Marines quickly found themselves locked in a bloody test of wills with al Qaeda, and a burgeoning violent insurgency. By the spring of 2006, according to all accounts, enemy violence was skyrocketing, while predictions for any U.S. success were plummeting. But at that same time new counterinsurgency initiatives were put in place when I MEF returned for its second tour in Anbar, and the Marines began to gain control. By September 2008 the fight was over. Richard Shultz, a well-known author and international security studies expert, has thoroughly researched this subject. His book effectively argues the case for the Marines changing the course of the war at Anbar, which is contrary to the conventional wisdom that the Surge was the turning point.
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.
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.
"Why We Lost is neither a memoir nor a window into private meetings and secret discussions. It is a 500-page history . . . filled with heartfelt stories of soldiers and Marines in firefights and close combat. It weighs in mightily to the ongoing debate over how the United States should wage war." -- Washington PostOver his thirty-five year career, Daniel Bolger rose through the ranks of the army infantry to become a three-star general, commanding in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Perhaps more than anyone else, he was witness to the full extent of the wars, from 9/11 to withdrawal from the region. Not only did Bolger participate in top-level planning and strategy meetings, but he also regularly carried a rifle alongside soldiers in combat actions. Writing with hard-won experience and unflinching honesty, he argues that while we lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, we did not have to. Intelligence was garbled. Key decision makers were blinded by spreadsheets or theories. And we never really understood our enemy. Why We Lost is a timely, forceful, and compulsively readable account of these wars from a fresh and authoritative perspective. "Compelling." -- Wall Street Journal
"Bolger is a superb writer, and the book's most riveting passages are those describing what it's like to be an infantryman at the sharp end of battle." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer
In the Gray Area explores the bond between Folsom and the fourteen men that comprised his advisor team, as well as the tenuous relationship forged between the Marines and their Iraqi counterparts as they struggled to assume independent control of - and maintain security in - Iraq's western al-Anbar province. Highlighting the obstacles faced by Marine advisors as they live, work, eat, and operate with an army whose language and culture are vastly different from their own, Folsom creates a compelling picture of the challenges faced by the Marine Advisor Teams working with the Iraqi Army to drive al-Qaeda from al-Anbar.
In the Gray Area builds on Folsom's The Highway War, his award winning memoir of his experience as the commanding officer of Delta Company, First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps, which was one of the first into Iraq in March 2003. In The Highway War, he conveyed the stress, excitement and uncertainty of modern ground warfare from the viewpoint of a young combat leader. In the Gray Area centers on an Iraqi Army that is more mature and on the cusp of independence from its American partners, and it takes place during a period in which there are increased calls for the United States to withdraw from Iraq. In his new book, Folsom shows his maturation as a commander as he thoughtfully details the difficulties posed by a possibly premature American departure from Iraq and questions if the advisor mission is really the key to our attempt to exit Iraq?