- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Richard Vigilante Books; 1st edition (February 28, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0980076323
- ISBN-13: 978-0980076325
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 130 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Moment of Truth in Iraq: How a New 'Greatest Generation' of American Soldiers is Turning Defeat and Disaster into Victory and Hope 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
I HAVE NEVER BEEN PROUDER TO PUBLISH A BOOK
Michael Yon changed my mind about the war in Iraq, by making me understand it for the first time.
From the very beginning I was against the war. I thought it would be a disaster, another Vietnam. And until I had the privilege of working on this book with Michael I was always for immediate pull-out: why should one more American die for a doomed effort?
Michael--who is as close to totally non-political as anyone I know--showed me two things. First, because I judged by Vietnam, the war of my youth, I had radically underestimated what American soldiers could do. I knew they could blow away any regular opponent on any battlefield. But wage a counterinsurgency against an enemy with broad support in the population? Win the "hearts and minds," to use the Vietnam era phrase that now can be used only ironically? That was asking too much, I thought.
I was 100 percent wrong. Today's American soldiers excel at counterinsurgency, because they excel at the most important thing: winning over the people by inspiring them with their own courage and compassion, discipline and determination. Reading this book is like watching the movie Apocalypse Now, but in an alternate universe in which the opposite always happens. Every time our soldiers get into an incredibly tense situation with some Iraqis who might be friends or might be enemies or murderers, some situation in which what's needed is amazing calm and courage to keep things from blowing up and ending in a blood bath, our guys pull it off!
Just wait until you read the Chapter "High Noon" (my favorite), the story of the American soldiers who have to arrest a corrupt but politically popular Iraqi police chief we had put in office in the first place because he had been a real hero in fighting the terrorists. He had to be removed by Americans to show the Iraqis we really did believe in the rule of law. The whole thing could have blown up into a one-town civil war with hundreds dead on both sides. Won't tell you how it ends, but you will be amazed and very proud.
The other thing Michael helped me understand is the difference between terrorists we just have to kill (often foreigners, or local criminals) and local insurgents we should have been working with all along. For almost five years I could not tell from watching the news--and certainly not from listening to the Administration--who the enemy was, what they wanted or why they were fighting. Not surprisingly it turns out that understanding the various people we were fighting--some of whom have since become great allies--was the key to winning the war, which we are now clearly doing.
I am convinced that everything I once thought about the war was wrong. The truth is we are doing a great thing in Iraq, most of the Iraqi people really do want to be a united democratic nation and already consider America their greatest friend and ally. It would be a crime to turn tail now and abandon them now.
I owe all that to Michael's book, which is why I believe publishing Moment of Truth in Iraq may be the best thing I have ever done for my country.
From the Inside Flap
Never underestimate the American soldier. That's the moral of former Green Beret Michael Yon's brilliant battle-by-battle, block-by-block tale of how America's new `greatest generation' of soldiers is turning defeat and disaster into victory and hope in Iraq.
The American soldier is the reason General David Petraeus's brilliant strategy of moving our soldiers off isolated bases and out among the Iraqi people is working. Working to find and kill terrorists, reclaim neighborhoods, and help lead Iraq to democracy.
Iraqis respect strength. They know that American soldiers are "great-hearted warriors" who rejoice in killing the Al Qaeda terror gangs that took over whole cities and "raped too many women and boys, cut off too many heads, brought drugs into too many neighborhoods."
But Iraqis also discovered that these great warriors are even happier helping rebuild a clinic or a school or a neighborhood. They learned the American soldier is not only the most dangerous man in the world, but the best man too.
Moment of Truth in Iraq is packed with Yon's trademark thrilling and often heart-rending tales from the battlefield:
* The American commander fed up with phony Al Qaeda `documentaries' that showed terrorists shooting at bombed out American vehicles as if they had beaten us in open battle. The commander and his men staged the "bombing" of a broken down truck, then when the terrorists came to put on their act, Navy SEAL snipers killed every one.
* Follow the exploits of the great "Deuce Four" battalion that became the center of a "warrior cult" dreaded by terrorists and revered by Iraqis.
*Think Iraqi soldiers can't fight? Read about the elite Iraqi SWAT team taking down a terror cell for the murder of four American soldiers and a brave Iraqi guide.
*Think Americans are occupiers, not liberators, of Iraq? Tell that to the wounded Iraqi interpreter, who, convinced he was about to die, begged his U.S. commander to have his heart cut out and buried in America.
* Learn why so many Iraqi boys dream of becoming American soldiers.
Brutalized by Saddam for decades, Iraqis hungered for strength entwined with justice and tempered by mercy. The American soldier delivered.
We are winning the war in Iraq, not primarily with our overwhelming technology, not with shock and awe destruction, but with the even more powerful force of American values--with the courage and leadership, strength and compassion of soldiers who know both how to kill the bad guy and comfort the child.
Here is the true, untold story of the American soldier and the courage and values that are bringing victory for America--and Iraq.
Top customer reviews
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If the average American's knowledge of the United States' military presence in Iraq was based solely on mainstream media coverage, he or she would be hard-pressed to derive anything positive, let alone apolitical. In fact, the entire seven-plus year War in Iraq (as presented by the majority of media outlets) has been habitually summarized by the following negative highlights: WMDs (or lack thereof), deadly IEDs, "civil war", "insurgency", rising American death toll, civilian deaths and Abu Ghraib. The media portrayal of the average American soldier has even been more despicable and negative: as either a helpless victim of an unjust war or a brutish thug hell-bent on killing enemy and innocents alike. The problem is that the presentation of what is happening in Iraq often appears to be nothing more than a processed, pre-packaged version of events that are aimed more in supporting a political agenda (pro or anti-war) rather than reality.
What Michael Yon so effectively articulates is that the American soldiers serving in Iraq are fulfilling their duties both honorably and effectively. They are not helpless, they are not victims, they are not thugs and they most certainly are not dying in vain. While acknowledging the political twists associated with many of the reports covering the War in Iraq, he successfully steers the reader away from the politics and focuses on presenting what he sees and hears from both American and Iraqis ... and his stories are amazing, emotional and intense. Easily recognizable is the sense that Yon garners a high level of trust among the units he covers in his book (quite possibly due to his military background); this trust adds to the credibility factor of his writing ... like Ernie Pyle.
The stories are riveting, tragic and thought-provoking. Yon's account of a small unit action in urban area, where anyone and everyone not donning a US uniform could be the enemy, puts the reader in the shoes of the soldier, forced to make split-second decisions that could end in the death of the enemy, fellow soldiers, innocents or himself. He also reveals the insidious true nature of Al Qaeda in Iraq as an enemy that preaches strict adherence to Islamic law but habitually violates that law through its actions. Yon writes how the use of diplomacy and tact, not bullets and brawn, have enabled the US military to make great strides in earning trust from local Iraqi leaders, as well as converting former enemies to fight alongside the Americans. The spirit among the troops he covers is infectiously positive even though they are aware of their effort is often being portrayed as a failure to the American public. And the story of the little Iraqi girl, Farah, does more than anything to justify the righteous nature of our servicemen and women in Iraq.
"Moment of Truth in Iraq" is arguably one of, if not THE, best written documents of the American military in Iraq. Yon has done a magnificent job of presenting a vividly colorful account of the honorable duty being performed by of our troops fighting such an ambiguous and political modern war. His book provides a refreshing point-of-view that is sorely missing in the mainstream media's portrayal of the war and it may even be powerful enough to change one's opinion of the war as simply being "wrong".