BOOK - Fiasco: The American
Military Adventure in Iraq
Written By Thomas Ricks (Penguin Press)
Reviewed by Rusty Pipes
No other book chronicles the tactical mistakes and strategic blunders of the War in Iraq better than Fiasco.
Author Thomas Ricks is the New York Times Pentagon correspondent and has been interviewing soldiers who were stationed in Iraq right from the start and more importantly he has also interviewed quite a few of the commanders. The story of the quick rush to war is there, the quick victory, and of course the quicksand that grew from insurgency into civil war.
Though there is no direct input from the major authors of the war like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowicz, Fiasco points out the central shortcomings of the Administration’s planning – that there was no consideration of anything other than a best case scenario, and very little post-takeover planning done. Basically the military won on the battlefield and then without further orders from the Bushies, top commanders like Tommy Franks and Ricardo Sanchez did nothing else to fill the power vacuum that was created. Worse, orders from Washington made the vacuum more complete by disbanding Saddam’s army and his Baathist government.
It’s a massive amount of data written in short sections that eventually covers every major operation and every major player in theater. There’s the bull headedness of General Sanchez, the disconnected tenure of “Viceroy” Paul Bremer and the careful triage of General Prateus written with little connective narrative between. The sheer weight of the failures and lost opportunities will astound you.
© 2007 - Rusty Pipes