Thomas E Ricks on the US Surge in Iraq

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Charlie_Cong, Feb 20, 2009.

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  1. As you probably remember, an author called Thomas Ricks wrote an widely-acclaimed book about the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq called Fiasco.

    Since then he's written a book about the subsequent surge: The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 which has recieved similar plaudits.

    I hold no brief for the author, although I thought Fiasco was excellent, but will definately buy his new book one after reading the article below on Amazon.

    For me two things stand out most. Firstly, we commonly assume that the surge "worked", so its interesting to hear him say - so far as he's concerned - Iraq's fundamental problems have not yet been addressed.

    Secondly, and more interestingly for all of us, is the question of how they achieved the success they have gained - "You cannot commute to the fight" etc. Basically their tactics and doctrine have been everything we said we were more intelligent & experienced than the Yanks to carry out, but so signally failed to do in Basra.

    US Generals are as beholden to their President as ours are to the PM, yet managed to turn their strategy around, while ours led presided over failure in Basra.

    The full interview is at:


    My italics - C_C
  2. Ricks turned up on the Daily Show a while back. Looks like this will be a trilogy. He was full of praise for Gen Odierno, he gave him a deservedly hard time in Fiasco. Reckons he had the moral courage to recognize failure and change tack dramatically. Ricks now credits Raymond with much of the success of the last couple of years. Big Paladin loving lug picked up Gen. P's game changing COIN manual and ran with it. Of course that was only possible once micro-managing Rummie was finally fired.

    Whether the improvements are sustainable remains moot. Iraq shows little sign of resolving its structural problems.
  3. msr

    msr LE

  4. It is an interesting read. He only spends about 2-3 pages on Basra, and is critical of what happened down there. He praises a Brit named Emma Sky throughout the book.