The war started with a brilliant series of pre-emptive bangs that shattered Iraqi leadership and seized the most valuable areas of Iraq. How did the US military machine, assumed to have insufficient air power, too few troops, and little momentum take a country the size of California within three weeks?
In the 1991 victory in the Gulf War, the United States lead a much larger coalition force into a heavy air campaign followed by a lightening quick ground campaign. In the years that followed, the United States military experienced a continuing series of reductions in the national defense budget.
What was left unrecorded was the incredible degree of competence with which the US military leadership managed the reduction in resources, balancing force structures against personnel requirements against procurement needs and logistic realities.
Any one considering the great military victory achieved in Iraq must ask the following questions: Who was bright enough to plan to have the weapons systems in the right place at the right time? Who orchestrated this vast complex array of sophisticated military machinery-ships, submarines, missiles, armor, and soldiers-all needing fuel, ammunition and water?
The answer is the much-maligned civil and military leaders of the American defense establishment, working in concert with the most advanced defense-based corporations in the world. While there were those anxious to parade the iniquities of a two-billion dollar bomber, most often failed to appreciated the genius required to conceive of, much less create a system which can use a satellite to send signals to a B-1B to program a precision guided missile to take out a Soviet T-72 tank parked in a mosque-without damaging the mosque!
Admittedly, there were lapses in the Iraqi war, such as the looting of museums by members of the Ba'ath party just a day after many had declared Baghdad liberated and the raids on hospitals, another problem that could have easily been remedied by a show of U.S. presence and force. And there were technological complications as well, including the aching misfortune of death by friendly fire. The author deals with these shortcomings in a straightforward manner.
Operation Iraqi Freedom: What Went Right and Why; What Went Wrong and Why gives intimate insight into the way in which the armed services, particularly the United States Air Force, managed to overcome genuine budgetary, political, and military difficulties to create the finest military force in the world, one that operated with the most extreme care to avoid collateral damage and to prevent loss of life.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Ballard’s thorough examination of these multiple operations within the context of a single conflict provides readers with rare and insightful perspectives on the complexity of modern war and the challenges of operational command. He first identifies the influence of the Vietnam era on the use of U.S. military power and the decision for war in 1990 and then outlines the important factors of Iraqi history and culture that dominated relations between the two nations during the 1980s and 1990s. Subsequent chapters examine the conduct of Desert Storm from the American and Iraqi perspectives and the military, economic, and diplomatic actions of the period between the two conventional campaigns. Final chapters analyze the 2003 offensive on Baghdad, the postwar stabilization operations that began with the failure to transition under the Coalition Provisional Authority, and the eventual implementation of a warfighting strategy that combined new doctrine and a surge of forces to protect the population in a renewed counterinsurgency campaign. A concluding chapter reviews key lessons for the future, including the importance of effective strategic decision making and the operational mindset required to prosecute modern war successfully.
A stunning work of investigative journalism, Cobra II describes in riveting detail how the American rush to Baghdad provided the opportunity for the virulent insurgency that followed. As Gordon and Trainor show, the brutal aftermath was not inevitable and was a surprise to the generals on both sides. Based on access to unseen documents and exclusive interviews with the men and women at the heart of the war, Cobra II provides firsthand accounts of the fighting on the ground and the high-level planning behind the scenes. Now with a new afterword that addresses what transpired after the fateful events of the summer of 2003, this is a peerless re-creation and analysis of the central event of our times.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
With unflinching candor, Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez describes the chaos on the Iraqi battlefield caused by the Bush administration's misguided command of the military, as well as his own struggle to set the coalition on the path toward victory. Sanchez shows how minor insurgent attacks grew into synchronized operations that finally ignited into a major insurgency and all-out civil war. He provides an insider's account of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, explaining the circumstances that led to the abuses, who perpetrated them, and what the formal investigations revealed. Sanchez also details the cynical use of the Iraq War for political gain in Washington and shows how the pressure of an around-the-clock news cycle drove and distorted critical battle decisions. The first book written by a former on-site commander in Iraq, Wiser in Battle is essential reading for all who wish to understand the Iraqi incursion and the role of America's military in the new century.
As Jay Stout reveals, the air war had actually been in the planning stages ever since the victory of Operation Desert Storm, twelve years earlier. But when Operation Iraqi Freedom officially commenced on March 20, 2003, the Marine Corps entered the fight with an aviation arm at its smallest since before World War II. Still, with the motto “Speed Equals Success,” the separate air and ground units acted as a team to get the job done.
Drawing on exclusive interviews with the men and women who flew the harrowing missions, Hammer from Above reveals how pilots and their machines were tested to the limits of endurance, venturing well beyond what they were trained and designed to do. Stout takes us into the cockpits, revealing what it was like to fly these intense combat operations for up to eighteen hours at a time and to face incredible volumes of fire that literally shredded aircraft in midair during battles like that over An Nasiriyah .
With its dynamic descriptions of perilous flights and bombing runs, Hammer from Above is a worthy tribute to the men and women who flew and maintained the aircraft that so inspired their brothers in arms and terrified the enemy.
From the Hardcover edition.
Many called for the transformation of the US military in the years after the end of the Cold War, seeking the changes in organization and doctrine that would complete the RMA innovation and a commitment to counter-insurgency, peace keeping and nation building missions. This volume describes the origins, uses, and limits of the RMA technologies, examines how each of the five US armed services (categorising the Special Operations as a separate service) made their adjustments both to the technologies and the use of force, and how the role of the civilian officials and the defense industry altered in this process of change and avoidance of change.
The book examines the internal politics of the services as well as civil/military relations to identify the external pressures on the services for significant change in their doctrine and weapons. Many have noted the failure of the services to innovate in what can be called the 'Second Inter-war Period' (the years after the Cold War). This book offers explanations for this failure and arguments about the possible range and desirability of military innovation in the post-Cold war era.
This book will be of great interest to students of strategic studies, US defence politics, military studies, and US politics.
Harvey M. Sapolsky is Professor of Public Policy and Organization in the Department of Political Science at MIT and former Director of the Security Studies Program. Benjamin H. Friedman is a Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies at the Cato Institute and a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at MIT. Brendan Green is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at MIT and an affiliate of the Security Studies Program.