In one of the boldest gambles in modern military history, just three battalions and fewer than a thousand men launched a violent thrust of tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles into the heart of a city of 5 million people and, in three bloddy days of combat ended the Iraqi war. Thunder Run is the story of the surprise assault on Baghdad-one of the most decisive battle in American combat history-by the Spartan Brigade, the Second Brigade of the Third Infantry Division (Mechanized).
More than just a rendering of a single battle, Thunder Run is a candid account of how soldiers respond under fire and stress and how human frailties are magnified in a war zone.
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.
One of the Best Books of the Year:
New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Boston Globe, and Time
An instant classic of war reporting, The Forever War is the definitive account of America's conflict with Islamic fundamentalism and a searing exploration of its human costs. Through the eyes of Filkins, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, we witness the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, the aftermath of the attack on New York on September 11th, and the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Filkins is the only American journalist to have reported on all these events, and his experiences are conveyed in a riveting narrative filled with unforgettable characters and astonishing scenes.
Brilliant and fearless, The Forever War is not just about America's wars after 9/11, but about the nature of war itself.
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.
America's second war against Iraq differed notably from its first. Operation Desert Storm was a limited effort by coalition forces to drive out those Iraqi troops who had seized Kuwait six months before. In contrast, the major combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 was a more ambitious undertaking aimed at decisively ending Saddam Hussein's rule.
After several days of intense air strikes against fixed enemy targets, allied air operations began concentrating on Iraqi ground troops. The intended effect was to destroy Iraqi resistance and allow coalition land forces to maneuver without pausing in response to enemy actions. Iraqi tank concentrations were struck with consistently lethal effect, paving the way for an allied entrance into Baghdad that was largely unopposed. Hussein's regime finally collapsed on April 9. Viewed in hindsight, it was the combination of allied air power as an indispensable enabler and the unexpected rapidity of the allied ground advance that allowed coalition forces to overrun Baghdad before Iraq could mount a coherent defense.
In achieving this unprecedented level of performance, allied air power was indispensable in setting the conditions for the campaign's end. Freedom from attack and freedom to attack prevailed for allied ground forces. The intended effect of allied air operations was to facilitate the quickest capture of Baghdad without the occurrence of any major head-to-head battles on the ground.
This impressive short-term achievement, however, was soon overshadowed by the ensuing insurgency that continued for four years thereafter in Iraq. The mounting costs of that turmoil tended, for a time, to render the campaign's initial successes all but forgotten. Only more recently did the war begin showing signs of reaching an agreeable end when the coalition's commander put into effect a new counterinsurgency strategy in 2007 aimed at providing genuine security for Iraqi citizens.
The toppling of Hussein's regime ended the iron rule of an odious dictator who had brutalized his people for more than 30 years. Yet the inadequate resourcing with which that goal was pursued showed that any effective plan for a regime takedown must include due hedging against the campaign's likely aftermath in addition to simply seeing to the needs of major combat. That said, despite the failure of the campaign's planners to underwrite the first need adequately, those who conducted the three-week offensive in pursuit of regime change performed all but flawlessly, thanks in considerable part to the mostly unobserved but crucial enabling contributions of allied air power.
Crimes of War--Iraq provides a comprehensive legal, historical, and psychological exploration of the war in Iraq from the same editorial team whose 1971 Crimes of War was a landmark book about Vietnam and the revelation of American war crimes. The editors apply standards of international criminal law, as set forth at Nuremberg after World War II, and by subsequent developments regarding individual responsibility and accountability. These principles have to do with the waging of aggressive war, attacks on civilian centers of population, rights of resistance against an illegal occupation, and the abuse of prisoners. Explorations of psychology and human behavior include levels of motivation and response in connection with torture at Abu Ghraib; the phenomenon of the atrocity-producing situation in both Vietnam and Iraq (in which counter-insurgency, military policies, and angry grief could cause ordinary people to participate in atrocities); the behavior of doctors and medics in colluding in torture at Abu Ghraib; emerging testimony of American veterans of Iraq concerning the confusions of the mission, and the widespread killing of civilians; and accounts of broadening unease and psychological disturbance among men and women engaged in combat.
An utterly original literary and intellectual collaboration by two of our keenest moral and political observers has produced a nonfiction Heart of Darkness for our time: the first full reckoning of what actually happened at Abu Ghraib prison, based on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with the Americans involved. Standard Operating Procedure reveals the stories of the American soldiers who took and appeared in the iconic photographs of the Iraq war-the haunting digital snapshots from Abu Ghraib prison that shocked the world-and simultaneously illuminates and alters forever our understanding of those images and the events they depict. Drawing on more than two hundred hours of Errol Morris's startlingly frank and intimate interviews with Americans who served at Abu Ghraib and with some of their Iraqi prisoners, as well as on his own research, Philip Gourevitch has written a relentlessly surprising account of Iraq's occupation from the inside out-rendering vivid portraits of guards and prisoners ensnared in an appalling breakdown of command authority and moral order. What did we think we saw in the infamous photographs, and what were we, in fact, looking at? What did the people in the photographs think they were doing, and why did they take them? What was standard operating procedure and what was being creative when it came to making prisoners uncomfortable? Who was giving orders, and who was following them? Where does the line lie between humiliation and torture, and why and how does that matter? Was the true Abu Ghraib scandal a result of an expos or a cover-up? In exploring these questions, Gourevitch and Morris have crafted a nonfiction morality play that stands toendure as essential reading long after the current war in Iraq passes from the headlines. By taking us deep into the voices and characters of the men and women who lived the horror of Abu Ghraib, the authors force us, whatever our politics, to reexamine the pat explanations in which we have been offered-or sought-refuge, and to see afresh this watershed episode. Instead of a few bad apples, we are confronted with disturbingly ordinary young American men and women who have been dropped into something out of Dante's Inferno. Standard Operating Procedure is a book that makes you think and makes you see-an essential contribution from two of our finest nonfiction artists working at the peak of their powers.
On 26 February 1991, cavalry troops of "Cougar Squadron," the 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, charged out of a sandstorm during Operation Desert Storm and caught Iraq's Republican Guard Corps in the open desert along the North-South grid line of a military map referred to as the "73 Easting." Taken by surprise, the defending Iraqi armor brigade was swept away in salvos of American tank and missile fire in what became the U.S. Army's largest tank battle since World War II.
Douglas Macgregor, the man who trained and led Cougar Squadron into battle, recounts two stories. One is the inspiring tale of the valiant American soldiers, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains who fought and won the battle. The other is a story of failed generalship, one that explains why Iraq's Republican Guard escaped, ensuring that Saddam Hussein's regime survived and America's war with Iraq dragged on.
Certain to provoke debate, this is the latest book from the controversial and influential military veteran whose two previous books, Breaking the Phalanx and Transformation Under Fire, are credited with influencing thinking and organization inside America's ground forces and figure prominently in current discussions about military strategy and defense policies. Its fast-moving battle narrative, told from the vantage point of Macgregor's Abrams tank, and its detailed portraits of American soldiers, along with vivid descriptions of the devastating technology of mounted warfare, will captivate anyone with a taste for adventure as well as an interest in contemporary military history.
On March 23, 2003, in the city of An Nasiriyah, Iraq, members of the 507th Maintenance Company came under attack from Iraqi forces who killed or wounded twenty-one soldiers and took six prisoners, including Private Jessica Lynch. For the next week, An Nasiriyah rocked with battle as the marines of Task Force Tarawa fought Saddam's fanatical followers, street by street and building to building, ultimately rescuing Private Lynch.