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Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq Paperback – February 27, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
I am also impressed by the degree of access to materials that Gordon must have had access to. I know that the prepub releases mentioned that Gordon had unprecedented access to both reports and personnel in researching this book. That is even more apparent as you read through the content. Gordon, who is chief military correspondent for the New York Times does a masterful job of telling the story of the Iraq War. Retired General Trainor, a Marines Marine, lends his insight and expertise and I'm sure made sure that Gordon stayed on task.
All together, Cobra II is a masterful book, written by two experienced individuals....experts in their respective fields. I think you will feel informed in a way that perhaps you haven't felt in the past after reading this book. You'll want to read this one.
Far from a well coordinated strategy, their work paints a portrait of a war plan almost entirely driven by twin ideological beliefs, the first being that a military victory could be won by a small agile army of fewer than 100,000 men and the second that their would be no need for a long term American presence. The reason for the last belief, so tragically mistaken in retrospect, was the idea that the Iraqis would quickly and peacefully form a civil society and, to the degree it was needed the international community would pick up the slack. The holders of these two beliefs? Vice President Dick Cheney and Sec. Def. Rumsfeld, to whom President Bush gave full authority to run the war as they saw fit. As this work demonstrates with a shocking degree of detail, all those who opposed this world view found themselves sidelined in the lead up and the execution of the war.
Gordon and Trainor offer examples such as the State Department and Sec. Powell who warned the President, the VP, and the Sec. Def of the near certainty of a break down of civil society following the conflict. They were ignored. Military officers with experience in Bosnia and Haiti made raised similar warnings. They too were ignored.Read more ›
Bush II, prior to his election, signaled that he wanted to overhaul the U.S. military - Gulf I had taken too long to plan and execute. Bush also did not see the need for lengthy peacekeeping and nation-building, such as the U.S. had undertaken in the Balkans. These viewpoints were presumably major factors in selecting Donald Rumsfeld, who shared them, as Secretary of Defense.
From the very beginning military leaders recommended close to 500,000 troops for Iraq, especially for the post-war phase. Rumsfeld, showing irritation at the first presentation of such a plan, was asked by Chief of Staff "How many did he thought might be needed?" Rumsfeld's reply was 125,000, "and even that was probably too many." The military's plan reflected long-standing military principles about force levels needed to defeat Iraq, control a population greater than 24 million, and secure a nation that size of California, with porous borders. Rumsfeld's numbers, in contrast, seemed to be pulled out of thin air.
Many planning iterations and about 1.5 years later, the U.S. attacked Iraq with the number of troops Rumsfeld initially fixed on. The U.S., however, was not alone in making major miscalculations. Saddam's top priority was internal threats and Iran - the U.S. was a distant third. According to Saddam, the Republican Guard had stopped the U.S.Read more ›
The book is also strong insofar as it details at a very high level of detail the fighting from March to June of 2003. "Fiasco" and other Iraq books have tended to treat this phase of the war as uninteresting, but we should not forget at the time that we were warned of a Stalingrad-like conventional campaign. Instead, the US soundly defeated the Iraqi conventional military, just as it did in the first Gulf War.
The book has a number of important flaws. First, it has little on the failures of international diplomacy to secure allies before the war, Turkish land routes, or European contributions to the post-war planning. It also gives short shrift to allies in its history of Cobra II, omitting even a detailed discussion of the British campaign in Basra.
Second, like "Fiasco" and Bob Woodward's new book, it often has unverifiable sources. A reader or scholar cannot really weigh evidence from an unnamed senior military official giving his information on an unknown date. The authors also fail to disclose any plans to keep their data in archival format or otherwise make it available to scholars. This book is merely the simulation of a scholarly history; it is, instead, simply a lengthy piece of journalism, with all of the flaws of that idiom.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a veteran of Operation Desert Spring in the months before the invasion, and as a participant of the invasion, this book helped to piece together some of the events that I... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mike
I want to give the book a review without adding a bunch of feelings concerning the subject matter. It's incredibility relevant given the rise of ISIS. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Dstew74
Outstanding book that brought together all levels of war and planning (strategic, operational, and tactical). Read morePublished 22 months ago by She says/He says...
If you want to know what happened early on in the war, you need to read this book. Read Endgame by Gordon & Trainor if you want to know the story of the ending of the Iraq... Read morePublished on May 17, 2014 by Jerry E. Brooks
It's a required book for U.S. Marine Corps staff college, so I had to get it. Really should have read this book long ago. Read morePublished on April 10, 2014 by Amazon Customer