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A Camp Divided (Iraq)


Book Reviewer
Good post T-W.

I've just finished reading Robert Kaplan's << Imperial Grunts>>
[ ISBN : 1-4000-6132-6, Random House , 2005 ]
which I can thoroughly recommend to anyone who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan....and any Brit who despairs of USFOR approach. The last because it will be reassuring to know that on an intellectual level, plenty of USFOR understand the problems.

He happened to have been attached to 1/5 US Marines on the outskirts of Fallujah in April 2004 when the order was given to swap from softly-softly to fixed bayonets. His account of the action there is worth a read alone. Not least, because of his conclusion that

" the decision to invest Al-Fallujah and then pull out just as victory was within reach demonstrated both the fecklessness and incoherence of the Bush administration. While a case can be made for either launching a full-scale marine assault or continuing the previous policy of individual surgical strikes, a case cannot be made for launching a full-scale assault only to reverse it because of political pressures that were easily foreseeable in the first place. "
Some reviewer's have said he is too close to the military, others that he has a Neocon imperialist agenda ( despite the quote re Bush and co above ) but from my pov, he reveals some of the same frustrations within the USFOR as this article reveals: the constant see-sawing between the slow, painful Hearts and Minds (SASO) stuff which takes decades and what Kaplan calls the ' Big Army' approach - in, out, home in time for tea and medals all round.

Well worth a read.

Le Chevre

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