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Blind Into Baghdad: America's War in Iraq Paperback – August 15, 2006
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This book confirms what I have come to fear. The war in Iraq was a huge mistake. It never should have been considered, much less launched. Afghanistan was one thing. It needed to invaded, and the Taliban needed to be kicked out. Maybe its not too late to get it right. Iraq, I fear, is the proverbial quagmire.
There were many in the administration who did not want the damned war. Many in the Pentagon felt the same way. The dismal history of Britain's involvement after WWI should have been a clue. Hubris, on the part of a few, blinded Bush--and others-- in their decision making. The Bush crowd seemed to act like Johnson's wizards getting us into Vietnam.
Perhaps the rapid victory in Afghanistan put the administration on a new high of self-confidence--excessive self-confidence. It appears they rapidly came to see themselves as a winning team, the super warriors--able to overrun a country between lunch and breakfast.
Problem is, they put no thought into what would occur once they had Baghdad. Colin Powell warned Bush. So did others. Its one thing to take a country, another to run it.
I believed there were "weapons of mass destruction." Maybe there were. Maybe they were moved to Syria. If so, the invasion made things worse. Now, the Syrians might have them. If not, being in Baghdad with not enough troops, and the vain hope of democracy taking hold, is pretty thin gruel. Bush got us into it, but God only knows how we will get out.Read more ›
The author provides both an introduction and a conclusion to the book that are unique to the book and set the articles in harmony as a whole.
There are other books that excel as retrospective reconstruction and finger-pointing, among which I would include HUBRIS, Squandered Victory, The End of Iraq, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, and most recently, State of Denial, but this is the only book to focus on all that we knew prior to the war about the daunting difficulties facing us in making the peace, and why the political leadership of the Executive did not want us to think about that, and why the political leadership of the Congress refused to play its role as a co-equal branch with the power of both the purse and the declaration of war exclusive to it.
James Fallows documents how virtually every sensible element of the federal government, from the military to the diplomats to the commerce and treasury and agriculture and others, all KNEW that invading Iraq was going to open a Pandora's box of sectarian violence, ethic conflict over resources, a collapse of good order, the failure of infrastructure the US would not be able to repair quickly enough, and on and on and on and on!Read more ›
Fallows himself begins by describing the book's perspective (page x):
"The subject of the book is America's preparation for and conduct of its war in Iraq, whose combat phase began in March 2003. because that war played so large a part in the U. S. government response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, assessing the war naturally raises questions about the wisdom, competence, and effectiveness of the overall strategy against Islamic terrorism.
The cumulative argument of the book is that this strategy was gravely flawed in both design and execution."
The chapters cover various aspects of the Iraqi invasion and its aftermath. The chapter entitled "The Fifty-First State?" is based on interviews with knowledgeable players before the invasion of Iraq. The focus was on what was likely to happen after the invasion, since all assumed that the American forces would walk over the Iraqi army. The essay's predictions do not all pan out (and Fallows adds footnotes to note more current information). However, it is interesting to see how a number of these predictions did come to fruition.
Other chapters explore Paul Bremer's terminating the Iraqi Army and his extreme de-Baathification program, how George Bush's original war on terror focusing on Afghanistan began to lose focus with the invasion of Iraq, and so on.
His conclusions are exceedingly harsh and may irritate many readers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Whether Democrat, Republican, or just an informed American, the book presents an opinion that's backed up with facts and references. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great and disturbing book. I had to order this for class but really enjoyed reading it, even though it was required.Published 13 months ago by Dr D
An excellent “history in the moment” book about the early years of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq which should rightly anger readers of any political stripe. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Scott Whitmore
James Fallows, the Atlantic Monthly's national correspondent, produced a series of articles between 2002 and 2005 on the planning and execution of the war against Iraq. Read morePublished on October 15, 2007 by William Podmore
In Blind into Baghdad, Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, cobbles together a series of articles he wrote between 2002 and 2004 to explore the road to war and... Read morePublished on September 7, 2007 by scg
In Blind into Baghdad, Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, cobbles together a series of articles he wrote between 2002 and 2004 to explore the road to war and... Read morePublished on May 6, 2007 by Michael Rubin
Blind into Baghdad is all the more impressive for the fact that nearly all of the content was researched, written, and published as events were unfolding. Read morePublished on December 29, 2006 by Kenneth Umbach
This book was painful to read. Not because of any shortcoming of the writing, but because the analysis was so accurate. There's no argument that George W. Read morePublished on November 17, 2006 by Invisigoth