(Fiasco The American Military Adventure in Ira) PDF READ Ë Thomas E. Ricks
Or total world domination I couldn t say if they sat with cats on their knees that they stroked constantly or even if they had revolving bookcases where those who sought to undermine US interests would be brought to be punished or even if this punishment would involve large numbers of piranha All I was sure of was that someone was in charge and someone knew what was going on and when stuff happened it happened for a reason of their choosing and that reason was designed to always further US interestsI imagine some people might well think that this was a terrible and frightening vision of the world and of US foreign policy I guess they would even be grateful that I have been proven wrong I m not so sure that I am glad I ve been proven wrong I still haven t uite gotten over the shock of Bush effectively saying Well heck we ve looked and looked but I ll be damned if we can find those WMDs anywhere Oh well I d probably say C est la vie but I hate those damn cheese eating surrender monkeys so much I ll just have to say at least we re all free It is one thing to mess around with the world when ou have a plan but to do so when the full extent of our post invasion plan is Once we ve kick in the door the people who live there will be so delighted to see us that they re bound to throw a party is terrifying I think I would prefer the guy with the cat to be uite honestThere were parts of this book where it was clear that if there had been a strategy to win the peace in Ira that is if US soldiers had not so consistently alienated the civilian population then things might have worked out uite differently My favourite uote was from a soldier who said that the only things the Irais understood were force and violence Given the soldier was unable to speak any of the local language and had no awareness of the local culture that he was slamming his boot into the face of his assessment was probably completely accurate the only way he could possibly make himself understood was by smashing someone and nearly frightening them to death That this could not be in the long term interests of the invading power hardly needs to be said Or maybe it needs to be said over and over and over again I can t decide whichNot everyone in Ira not even all of those in the leadership of the US forces comes out of this book badly General Petraeus seems like a man with his head screwed on properly and one of the very few people of any authority who comes out of this book reasonably well Many people soldiers invariable understood early on in the piece that they were fighting an insurgency and therefore knew that what was needed was to use counter insurgency tactics to win the hearts and minds of the local population that they needed to do whatever it took to not further alienate the locals That those who ought to have been providing the strategy to facilitate this understanding were in fact actively undermining any talk of an insurgency meant that any hope of a coordinated effort that followed an effective strategy was doomed to failure When those with the task of providing leadership run around saying that every American soldier killed is proof that things are getting better I guess the logic being its counter intuitive so therefore it must be right can t but have made those on the
Ground Feel Increasingly Cynical And feel increasingly cynical and As someone said we will win every battle here and still end up losing the war because we aren t fighting the kind of war that would allow us to win As ou can see this book s long meditation on the importance of strategy continues from start to finishIt is interesting to note that every aim stated prior to going to war by the Bush administration has subseuently failed to be realised If ou wanted to believe in a God that finds ironic ways to punish hubris this could easily serve as a defining example of that God s works I don t just mean that we never found WMD but Ira could hardly be seen today as the example to the rest of the Middle East of the benefits of democracy that was once one of the stated aims of the war Ira wasn t previously involved in terrorism but now it is the Middle East s most effective training ground for radical Islamic terror fighters It would be hard to make up a comprehensive failure of both vision and policy I guess it is uite an achievement when people like Bush Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz have gotten it so wrong and are still able in their own minds to say they have gotten everything completely right well at least it defies satireThis isn t just my own personal hindsight bias talking Many people and the deepest and saddest irony being that many of these people were in the US military warned against this absurd adventure only to be ignored and worse by their civilian leaders This is a remarkable book and one that provides a very disturbing insight into the asylum that for a
Frighteningly Long Time Had long time had taken over by the lunatics If humans were able to learn from history then this fiasco would be one of the lessons I would put on the curriculum The failure of the 1991 Gulf War to take out Saddam Hussein left a small contingent of hawks looking for redress Most notable among these was then Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz who reported to Defense Secretary Dick Cheney As a policy of containment took hold Wolfowitz complained for action against Saddam but in the Bush 41 administ Thomas Ricks image from the Bangor Daily News Fiasco offers a very detailed look into the disaster that has been the US invasion of Ira For those of us who have read than a few books on the subject there is an unavoidable repetition of information seen elsewhere but there is sufficient new material to justify one s time Ricks covers the range of errors from the political to the strategic to the tactical to the diplomatic and offered analysis as to what went wrong and why But he also shows where lessons were learned from recent experience although one of the major failures of the war was an unwillingness to learn from prior conflicts and tells of success stories where they occurred I learned about some of the military people involved in the war Generals Franks Petraeus Odierno Sanchez McMaster than I knew before and that alone was worth the price The book offers an excellent range of subject matter and is written in a very accessible manner EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author at Task Purpose and Twitter Thomas Ricks work at The Atlantic The Daily Beast Foreign Policy Research Institut. F senior military officers giving voice to their anger for the first time Unabridged CDs 20 CDs 24 hours.
review Fiasco The American Military Adventure in Ira,
Mething about that statement didn t uite sit well with me but I thought sure there might be a valid point to that at least looking at it from one angle From a different angle however I think it s possible to judge based on progress reports How else are ou going to know if Keeping and Breeding Australian Pythons you re being successful or not ifou don t analyze progress and make corrections where needed along the waySecondly people have treated the book like it does nothing but point out failures and put the whole situation in a bad light a worse light than is actually necessary I totally disagree Read the book It reads like a history book with brief summaries of what happened when from events leading up to the actual invasion to the here and now and what was said by which key figures and at what point on the time line Yes the failures were outlined and Hester Roon yes a lot of bad things have gone on over there But the successes that occurred over there however fleeting they may have been were also included I didn t find this a biased book at all I ve come away from reading it with a much much higher respect for our military My eyes have been opened to a lot and my view on this war has changed a bit which has surprised me I m not so sure I m one of those people who is ready to demand we bring all our troops back home instantly I think as I have forears that they were unfairly thrown into a disaster waiting to happen But to add insult to injury they were given a small fraction of the resources needed to be successful and expected to perform miracles overnight How can A Wayside Tavern you expect success whenou don t have a clear plan for everything or the tools needed So es regardless of who s to blame here it has been a fiasco in ways than one Now I think it s time they get the full support they need to do what needs to be done The only problems that remain in my mind are the uestions of whether or not it s too late and whether or not the resources for full support exist It should ve been done right the first go round right from the start but we can t do much about the past now unfortunatelyThis administration should truly be ashamed of itself Something else that resulted from reading this book was how utterly embarrassed I am of our government It s one thing to make mistakes but it s another to refuse to admit to being wrong and to refuse to do anything to right those wrongs At other peoples expense They have never seemed to grasp that it s not just their lives being affected by their ignorant decisionsGod help the next President who has to try to clean up this mess Although there is lots of detail provided in this aptly titled book about the fiasco that has been the US adventure in Ira that isn t really the main point of this book or the reason why anyone should read it It is also not the main lesson to be gained from reading it This book is than anything else an extended meditation on the central importance that military strategy ought to have played in the preparations execution and most importantly the peace that was to have followed the invasion of Ira To make this plain early in the book an important definition is provided strategy That is a grand sounding word and it is freuently misused by laymen as a synonym for tactics In fact strategy has a very different and uite simple meaning that flows from just one short set of uestions Who are we and what are we ultimately trying to do here How will we do it and what resources and means will we employ in doing it The four answers give rise to one s strategy Ideally one s tactics will then follow from them that is this is who we are this is the outcome we wish to achieve this is how we aim to do it and this is what we will use to do it But addressing the uestions well can be surprisingly difficult and if the answers are incorrect or incomplete or the goals listed not reachable then the conseuences can be disastrous As someone once said strategy is the science tactics the art The failures in Ira were in both science and art but the reasons for these failures are placed suarely on the failure of strategy and leadershipThe fact is repeatedly made that the US was never uite sure who the we were in this conflict and therefore made repeated mistakes in understanding what we were supposed to be doing in Ira and therefore what it would take to do itThere is a wonderful part where it is explained that one of the major strategies was that a truly international force would spontaneously assemble to manage the peace when this miracle assembly of an international force did not eventuate there uite simply was no Plan B The central link to all of these mistakes was the leadership in Washington who so strongly believed their own version of reality that they simply could not conceive the possibility of their being wrong A truly stupid person is someone who can never admit to
Being Wrong Ever Andwrong ever And maxim has never held true than it did in Washington throughout the Bush Administration s handling of the Ira invasion No amount of evidence from the field was ever allowed to stand in the way of the absolute conviction that everything was going along swimmingly and working out to planIf like me ou would gladly eat Bill Gates alive for inflicting PowerPoint on the world this book will help Twig the Fairy and the Goblin Masquerade (Twig the Fairy you to justifyour loathing It seemed that orders were rarely given from the Pentagon other than in the form of a PowerPoint presentation Oh Microsoft ou have much to answer for Before the War I saw an interview on Australian television with a military historian of some description He was asked what will happen if it turns out that no weapons of mass destruction are found in Ira no chemical weapons plants no stores of biological weapons People were already wondering why these weapons hadn t been used against the forces while they were assembled on the Irai boarder rather than waiting for these to invade when it would seem a bit too late The guy responded
In Much The Way I Would Have Responded I Guessmuch the way I would have responded I guess a way that utterly confirmed every cynics deepest fears by saying that the US would either find WMD or the US military would have to manufacture them Either way it was simply not an option to invade Ira and then not find weapons of mass destruction that much was abundantly clearWhen I was ounger I liked to believe that somewhere in the US there were a group of conspirators maybe the CIA or perhaps something even shadowy and secret who would sit around a table and maybe that table would even be round and develop plans Ronicle of the Ira War and a searing judgment of its gross strategic blindness drawing on the accounts Critically important but very difficult book to read As one who long supported Ira II to read such a thorough evisceration of the justification and strategic prosecution of the war was frankly heart rending There were errors of negligence bull headed ness stress at every level There are two hopeful elements first I learned of this book because it is being taught as part of the curriculum at West Point This demonstrates an atypical and invaluable institutional capacity for self learning Second although slowly the US military itself kept searching for tactical adjustments at the field level to the institutional failings of DC Great innovation rarely occurs at the center a strength of the West in general and the US military in specific Touted by John McCain and others as the definitive Ira War book Fiasco gives a detailed blow by blow account of the US 2003 invasion of Ira Writing as objectively as possible Ricks nevertheless gives a scathing account of the mismanagement of the war by Donald Rumsfeld Paul Bremer Paul Wolfowitz Doug Feith and the fiasco s chief architectsThe book is fascinating on many levels showing where people went wrong not only tactically but also ideologically Interestingly the only person who comes out looking good is Petreus who Bush recently put in charge Too little too late What most surprised me about the book is that it gives the impression that with better management and a plan the invasion might have actually worked out on some level a proposition I had been reluctant to believeThe book concludes with four scenarios of what will happen when we leave the bad the worse the worst an a chilling fourth nightmare scenario If Jelena '93 you re reluctant to buy this just read this last part while standing in the aisle at Borders I ve always enjoyed Thomas Ricks reporting in WaPo WSJ etc as well as his earlier book Making the Corps What I appreciated most about Fiasco was its crisp prose and simple level headedness In that Fiasco confirmed a belief that I have slowly been coming to that even after we invaded Ira it still really might have been ok not good necessarily but ok But we blew opportunity after opportunity to do the right thing and it really is unredeemable now The thing that weirds me out the most though Realizing how much of this basic narrative was available to me while I was neck deep in grad school Granted I was a military history freak in jr high and high school and still read the news avidly even during seminary But if I could spot so many of our I had initially read the audio book of Ricks follow up to this book The Gamble and was impressed enough to get the print version of Fiasco It did not disappoint as a book even if it highlighted the problems with the current Ira WarRicks is a very fair judge He speaks well of many of the fine commanders on the ground men like Gen David Petreaus who are doing the best with what they have He faults primarily the dual response from Washington both civilian and some military to see a worst case scenario as a reason to go into Ira in the first place while counting on a best case scenario for an exit stradegy This leads to poor planning for the reconstruction phase and not enough people asking What if Likewise Ricks is uick to point out when certain individuals do realize how bad Retrospective on another important book published someears ago on Ira How has the work held upThomas Ricks book Fiasco was part of
an increasing body of literature featuring and books based on the words and experiences of insidersincreasing body of literature featuring and books based on the words and experiences of insiders and military officials talking after the fact
RAISING UESTIONS ABOUT THE WISDOM OF THE ORIGINAL DECISIONuestions about the wisdom of the original decision invade Ira and the occupation and nation building efforts thereafter This work and others as well raises important uestions about the extent to which the American effort to create democratic nation building in Ira was doomed from the start Any number of books and articles in the subject of what it takes to create democracy and what it takes to engineer democracies speak to a project that had a low chance of success from the get go And This is the definitive book on the Ira War to date It provides ample evidence that the GW Bush regime along with the Pentagon and the CIA made a false casus belli for war with Ira
keenly anticipating an easy victory with Irais greeting American soldiers with garlands ofanticipating an easy victory with Irais greeting American soldiers with garlands of as liberators That alas was not to be Further what was galling was that the US had absolutely NO comprehesive plan or set of plans for rebuilding the Irai economy and re establishing basic services for the Irai people By basic services I mean water electricity sanitation services and civil institutions such as the courts and fire and police services Nor were enough troops provided not only for waging the war but also for securing the borders and laying the foundations for a timely return to normality in Ira What was also appalling was that the US government principally used the services of organizations sent to restore basic services in Ira which were made up of people who had ABSOLUTELY NO TRAINING OR EXPERIENCE for the reconstruction projects they headed Indeed many of these people several of them were recent college graduates were chosen because of their political fealty to Bush CheneyTo uote the author it now seems likely history s judgment will be that the US invasion of Ira in the spring of 2003 was based on perhaps the worst war plan in American history It was a campaign plan for a few battles not a plan to prevail and secure victory Its incompleteness helped create the conditions for the difficult occupation that followed The invasion is of interest now mainly for its role in creating those problemsI strongly urge any discerning reader with an interest in US foreign policy to read this book with care comparing it with David Halberstam s The Best and the Brightest When Fiasco first came out naturally there were many opinions on it ranging from fantastic to trash I kept some of the bad reviews I d seen and heard in mind as I read this book trying to look for evidence to prove those bad reviews were well founded Frankly I didn t find any such evidence Two things come to mind here Firstly in one community online that I peek into now and then I skimmed over a discussion on the boards about it a few months ago One person argued the title of the book stating it was unfair to judge this war by such a title a fiasco until the war had come to a close and we had all evidence to judge by So. From the Washington Post's two time Pulitzer winning senior Pentagon reporter the definitive military ch.