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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumsfeld vs Petraeus: Shock & Awe vs Military Diplomacy, February 10, 2009
This review is from: The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 (Hardcover)
Pulitzer Prize winner Ricks comes to this book with over 20 years of experience in journalistic coverage of US military interventions. His access to key military figures is comparable to Woodward's access to the Bush White House. In this book he provides verbatim statements from key players as to how the war changed from a Rumsfeld war into a Petraeus war, with details about the new approach. What a difference in personnel and strategies! - Most of the brass under Petraeus would never have invaded Iraq in the first place. Instead of being hawks they are intellectuals - and it shows in their carefully considered methodology.

The story Ricks tells is compelling. Bush recognized his dilemma (despite his public optimism about the war) and lucked into the necessary fix through the expertise of Petraeus & company. Unfortunately, Ricks anticipates difficulties in exiting Iraq, predicting "the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered by us and by the world have not yet happened."

This is a comprehensive and definitive read and should be required reading for anyone who wants to know what went on - direct from the horses' mouths. It gives a whole new perspective on how future military entanglements will unfold. Shock and awe may have to share turf with military diplomacy - not such a bad idea.
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