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Author oï Making the Corps and Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
FIASCO THE AMERICAN MILITARY A D V E N T U R E IN IRAQ
P R A I S E FOR THOMAS E. R I C K S MAKING THE CORPS "A thousand years from now, a historian looking at the U.S. military will do well to cite Ricks s book."—USA Today "A must-read for those concerned with civil-military relations in the United States."—Foreign Affairs "An important book . . . essential reading for anyone who cares about the role of the military in America."—The Washington Post Book World
"Masterly . . . [Ricks's] knowledge of the military, vast experience and association with military organizations, and keen insights into the military culture clearly come out in this superb book." —Gen. Anthony Zinni (U.S. Marine Corps, ret.), former commander, U.S. Central Command "The authors remarkable inside knowledge or today's military is evident on ever)' page."—Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (U.S. Army, ret.)
U.S. $27.')S Cm • I.. j.jb.50
DRAWING ON THE EXCLUSIVE COOPERATION of an extraordinary number of American military personnel, including more than one hundred senior officers, and access to more than thirty thousand pages of official documents, many of them never before made public, Thomas E. Ricks has written the definitive account—explosive, shocking, and authoritative—of the American military's tragic experience in Iraq. Previous books on the Iraq war have concluded in the summer of 2003, not long after the spring invasion, code-named Cobra II. And certainly understanding the crippling strategic mistakes inherent in the buildup and execution ol this first phase of combat in Iraq is essential, and Fiasco has much new to contribute to our understanding of the failures of both the civilian and military leadership to take even a minimally adequate long view. But the heart of the story Fiasco has to tell, which has never been told before, is that of a military occupation whose leaders failed to see a blooming insurgency for what it was and as a result led their soldiers in such a way that the insurgency became inevitable. If America's top military commanders had set out to create an Iraqi insurgency, they could hardly have done a better job, not least by countenancing the random arrest and imprisonment of wide swaths ol Iraqi men in the most humiliating of conditions. One of this book's many revelations is that "Abu Ghraib" is a misnomer because it suggests an isolated institution, when in fact a much larger network of prisons, run by poorly trained soldiers who frequently committed appalling abuses, deeply antagonized Iraqi society and drove men en masse into the insurgency. There are a number of American heroes in Fiasco, from wise commanders like generals Petraeus and Mattis and Col. McMaster, who didn't need to be told (continued on bdik flap)
iiontinued from front flap)
to implement classic counterinsurgency strategies, to the many heroic men and women on the ground who sweated and bled to do the best they could after not being prepared to fight the war they encountered. In the course of chronicling the war to mid-2006. Fiasco contains gripping accounts of battles such as 2nd Fallujah and Tall Afar, whose names should take their place alongside Iwo Jima and Porkchop Hill on a select list of honor. But effective tactics when harnessed to bad strategy equals military disaster, and in the end Fiasco's judgment that some of America's most powerful and honored civilian and military leaders were derelict in their duty proves inescapable. Too many American and Iraqi lives have been lost, and too much of America's might and influence has been squandered, for these individuals to escape a fair reckoning. Fiasco is that reckoning.
THOMAS E. R I C K S is The Washington Post's senior Pentagon correspondent, where he has covered the U.S. military since 2000. Until the end of 1999, he held the same beat at The Wall Street Journal, where he was a reporter for seventeen years. A member of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams for national reporting, he has reported on U.S. military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is the author of Making the Corps and A Soldier's Duty.
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FIASCO THE AMERICAN MILITARY ADVENTURE IN IRAQ
PENGUIN New York
THE PENGUIN PRESS Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. < Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) * Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) * Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110 017, India s Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England First published in 2006 by The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © Thomas E. Ricks, 2006 All rights reserved. Excerpt from Meet the Press, program of February 8, 2004, © 2006 NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA Ricks, Thomas E. Fiasco : the American military adventure in Iraq / Thomas E. Ricks. p. cm. ISBN 1-59420-103-X 1. Iraq war, 2003- 2. United States—History, military—21st century. I. Title. DS79.76.R535 2006 956.7044' 3—dc22 2006045357 Printed in the United States of America 5
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For the war dead
Know your enemy, know yourselfy One hundred battles, one hundred victories. SUN TZU, ancient Chinese military strategist, as quoted in Jeffrey Race's War Comes to Long An
The Sunni "Triangle": Heart of the Insurgency
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