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Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the SAS and the Secret War in Iraq Paperback – February 1, 2011
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
With unparalleled access to sources inside the SAS itself, Urban paints a picture of how our finest fighting men could be truly effective . . . An essential record of a remarkable military period * The Times * The book the MoD doesn't want you to read * Daily Mail * A ground-breaking, often chilling account . . . remarkable * Sunday Times *
About the Author
Mark Urban is Diplomatic and Defence Editor for Newsnight. He is the author Big Boys' Rules, Rifles and Fuslilers
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Rumors about Task Force 88 (Google "Task Force Black" and it will take you right to TF-88) have been floating around for some time. This book completely throws back the covers behind the action of the world's top Tier 1 units, their critical role in the Iraq war, and the political gamesmanship, intelligence coups and failures, and the difficult decisions made on a daily basis during the war. The verbiage is realistic, and the author went to great lengths to get every single detail as correct as possible. Some key takeaways:
1) For those that keep wondering who the top Tier-1 unit in the world is, this book answers that definitively. Delta Force (CAG) pretty much leads the entire time, with the SAS paired to the hip with Delta, the SBS regarded as "Tier 2" Special Forces by their SAS counterparts, and Seal Team Six barely getting mentioned. It's clear that throughout the Iraq war, Delta and the SAS were the tip of the spear units that did most of the heavy lifting and carried out most of the top missions. The first half of this book details the Delta missions and op-tempo and how the SAS basically had to fight politically just to get in the game for some of the top missions.
2) The book depicts the events on the ground in Iraq in painstakingly clear details. It's not an easy read, and the violence took me back to very unpleasant times when the media coverage in the US showed the carnage in Iraq on a daily basis and the precious loss of life. If you are squeamish about such details, fair warning - this may not be the book for you
3) Most importantly, the book makes it clear that there was zero, absolutely no strategy whatsoever on the part of US and Coalition military planners on how to fight the insurgency, and most of all, win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Reading this book makes me realize how much we owe our military professionals for not only having to basically "make it up as they went along", but also ensure they get it right more than they get it wrong, for the sake of the entire world. With events continuing to unfold in the Middle East, this should be required reading by officers in all branches of the military, if it's not already.
Overall - a fantastic, just incredible read. My favorite non-fiction military book to date.