The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of IraqBook - 2006
From the critics
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As poorly positioned to keep order as the Americans were, many Iraqis at first were thankful for the removal of Saddam's regime or simply too numbed by the rapid turn of events and display of American power to complain. But when order and essential services were not immediately restored, American prestige eroded quickly. There was a chink in the victor's armor. As local Iraqis were quick to note, the Americans could put a man on the moon but could not provide electricity.
The problem was not just one of numbers. The United States also lacked the right sort of troops for the postwar phase: it needed to have more civil affairs units, military police, and interpreters. The result was that Anbar Province became the seat of much of the resistance to the U.S. occupation and Fallujah became a metaphor for postcombat failure in Iraq.
"But after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, the requirements were reversed: mass, not speed, was requisite for sealing the victory. Military technology was less decisive against an opponent that faded away into Iraqi cities only to fight another day. Nor were SOF efforts and CIA operations generally effective against an elusive adversary. To gain control of the Sunni Triangle and pursue the Fedayeen, Baath Party militia, and enemy formations before they had a chance to catch their breath, rearm, and regroup, the United States needed more boots on the ground. As a result of a deficit of forces, Anbar Province in western Iraq, the heartland of Sunnism and Baathist support, was treated as an 'economy of force' operation and only sparsely covered by American troops. There were not sufficient troops to seal the borders, guard the copious arms caches, and dominate the terrain, all of which allowed the province to become a sanctuary for insurgents.”
"Asked about the lessons of the still unfinished war, the defense secretary [Donald Rumsfeld] was quick to tout the virtues of military transformation. 'I think if I had to pull out one lesson that we've learned over the past four or five years, it would be that in the twenty-first century we're going to have to stop thinking about things, numbers of things, and mass, and think also and maybe even first about speed and agility and precision.'"
"The doctrine on peacekeeping operations is that the initial month or so is critical."
"With so many suspected [WMD] sites there did not seem to be enough troops to go around."
"The Anbar province, which includes the towns of Ramadi, Falluja, and Haditha ... remained an 'economy of force' operation. Every time the Americans massed force to put out one fire they created a vacuum elsewhere that the insurgents rushed to fill."
"The briefing made the point that however many forces might be required to defeat the foe, maintaining security afterward was determined by an entirely different set of calculations, including the population of the occupied nation, its geographic size and terrain, and degree of urbanization. There was no single troop-to-population ratio that governed all cases. For example, if the United States wanted to maintain the same ratio of troops to population that it had in Kosovo, where there were 40,000 peacekeepers and two million citizens, it would have to station 480,000 troops in Iraq. If Bosnia was used as a benchmark, 364,000 troops would be needed .... But if the Bush administration used Afghanistan as a template, then only 13,900 would be required. The implicit question was whether Iraq would be more like the Balkans or Afghanistan."
"Unless Saddam's regime cracked at the start of the war, the Hybrid [plan], in effect, would be akin to sprinting around a track and stopping to catch your breath before resuming the race."
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Over at Amazon, you'll find 128 reviews of this book, of which, some are summaries, so I'm not going to recreate the wheel.
Plus, the publisher description you can link to from the details tab (or via this link here: https://goo.gl/oVwd9t) does a very good (and brief) job of it. It's straight from the Library of Congress, so the quality is good and the tone is objective.
If you're looking for something that goes into a bit more detail, one of the most objective positive reviews I read over at Amazon was this one here:
"Must Read," by Steven Peterson, a top reviewer for Amazon:
And one of the best critical reviews of this book (and one I agreed with on many points) is here:
"A Mixed Bag -- Flawed, but with Good Information," by TigerTC
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