Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco

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Things didn't go wrong in postwar Iraq because the United States lacked a plan. Things went wrong because the United States was blinded by ideology and ignored planning that was already underway. Losing Iraq tells the story of the tragedy of Iraq, from the first discreet meetings to plan the political transition through the debacle the United States finally created. Losing Iraq is a stunning and revealing look at our recent past--with a candid take on how we can prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again.
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About the author

David L. Phillips is Director of the Nobel Laureates Initiative at the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. He is also a Visiting Scholar at Harvard's Center for Middle East Studies, and Program Director of American University's Center for Global Peace. He lives in New York City.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Basic Books
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Published on
Apr 28, 2009
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780786736201
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"David Enders has a stunning independent streak and the courage to trust his own perceptions as he reports from outside the bubble Americans have created for themselves in Iraq."
---Joe Sacco, author of Safe Area Gorazde

"Baghdad Bulletin takes us where mainstream news accounts do not go. Disrupting the easy cliché s that dominate U.S. journalism, Enders blows away the media fog of war. The result is a book that challenges Americans to see through double speak and reconsider the warfare being conducted in their names."
---Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death

"Journalism at its finest and on a shoestring to boot. David Enders shows that courage and honesty can outshine big-budget mainstream media. Wry but self-critical, Baghdad Bulletin tells a story that a few of us experienced but every journalist, nay every citizen, should read."
---Pratap Chatterjee, Managing Editor and Project Director, CorpWatch

"Young and tenacious, Dave Enders went, saw, and wrote it down. Here it is-a well-informed and detailed tale of Iraq's decline under American rule. Baghdad Bulletin offers tragic politics, wacky people, and keen insights about what really matters on the ground in Iraq."
---Christian Parenti

"I wrote my first piece for Baghdad Bulletin after visiting the mass graves at Al-Hilla in 2003. The Baghdad Bulletin was essential reading in the first few months after the end of the war. I handed that particular copy to Prime Minister Tony Blair. I am only sorry that I cannot read it anymore. David Enders and his team were brave, enterprising, and idealistic."
---Rt. Hon. Ann Clwyd, member of the British Parliament


Baghdad Bulletin is a street-level account of the war and turbulent postwar period as seen through the eyes of the young independent journalist David Enders. The book recounts Enders's story of his decision to go to Iraq, where he opened the only English-language newspaper completely written, printed, and distributed there during the war.

Young, courageous, and anti-authoritarian, Enders is the first reporter to cover the war as experienced by ordinary Iraqis. Deprived of the press credentials that gave his embedded colleagues access to press conferences and officially sanitized information, Enders tells the story of a different war, outside the Green Zone. It is a story in which the struggle of everyday life is interspersed with moments of sheer terror and bizarre absurdity: wired American troops train their guns on terrified civilians; Iraqi musicians prepare a recital for Coalition officials who never show; traveling clowns wreak havoc in a Baghdad police station.

Orphans and intellectuals, activists and insurgents: Baghdad Bulletin depicts the unseen complexity of Iraqi society and gives us a powerful glimpse of a new kind of warfare, one that coexists with-and sometimes tragically veers into-the everyday rhythms of life.
From leadership expert, former Navy SEAL, "American Grit" feature player, and author of Worth Dying For: A Navy SEAL's Call to a Nation, Rorke Denver, the bestselling account of how he helped create the U.S. Navy SEALS of today. Rorke Denver trains the men who become Navy SEALs--the most creative problem solvers on the modern battlefield, ideal warriors for the kinds of wars America is fighting now. With his years of action-packed mission experience and a top training role, Lieutenant Commander Denver understands exactly how tomorrow's soldiers are recruited, sculpted, motivated, and deployed.

Now, Denver takes you inside his personal story and the fascinating, demanding SEAL training program he now oversees. He recounts his experience evolving from a young SEAL hopeful pushing his way through Hell Week, into a warrior engaging in dangerous stealth missions across the globe, and finally into a lieutenant commander directing the indoctrination, requalification programs, and the "Hero or Zero" missions his SEALs undertake.

From his own SEAL training and missions overseas, Denver details how the SEALs' creative operations became front and center in America's War on Terror-and how they are altering warfare everywhere. In fourteen years as a SEAL officer, Rorke Denver tangled with drug lords in Latin America, stood up to violent mobs in Liberia, and battled terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Leading 200 commando missions, he earned the Bronze Star with V for valor. He has also served as flag aide to the admiral in charge and spent the past four years as executive officer of the Navy Special Warfare Center's Advanced Training Command in Coronado, California, directing all phases of the basic and advanced training that prepare men for war in SEAL teams. He recently starred in the film Act of Valor. He is married and has two daughters.

Ellis Henican is a columnist at Newsday and an on-air commentator at the Fox News Channel. He has written two recent New York Times bestsellers, Home Team with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and In the Blink of an Eye with NASCAR legend Michael Waltrip.

With all the SEALs' recent successes, we have been getting a level of acclaim we're not used to. But something important has been missing in this warm burst of publicity . Correcting that is my mission here.
My own SEAL dream was launched by a book. My hope is that this one teaches lessons that go far beyond the battlefield, inspiring a fresh generation of warriors to carry on that dream.
-Lieutenant Commander Rorke Denver
America's leading expert on democracy delivers the first insider's account of the U.S. occupation of Iraq-a sobering and critical assessment of America's effort to implant democracy

In the fall of 2003, Stanford professor Larry Diamond received a call from Condoleezza Rice, asking if he would spend several months in Baghdad as an adviser to the the American occupation authorities. Diamond had not been a supporter of the war in Iraq, but he felt that the task of building a viable democracy was a worthy goal now that Saddam Hussein's regime had been overthrown. He also thought he could do some good by putting his academic expertise to work in the real world. So in January 2004 he went to Iraq, and the next three months proved to be more of an education than he bargained for.

Diamond found himself part of one of the most audacious undertakings of our time. In Squandered Victory he shows how the American effort to establish democracy in Iraq was hampered not only by insurgents and terrorists but also by a long chain of miscalculations, missed opportunities, and acts of ideological blindness that helped assure that the transition to independence would be neither peaceful nor entirely democratic. He brings us inside the Green Zone, into a world where ideals were often trumped by power politics and where U.S. officials routinely issued edicts that later had to be squared (at great cost) with Iraqi realities. His provocative and vivid account makes clear that Iraq-and by extension, the United States-will spend many years climbing its way out of the hole that was dug during the fourteen months of the American occupation.

From Bullets to Ballots considers non-state Muslim organizations at different stages of abandoning violence and pursuing their goals through a political process. Some have successfully made the transition. Others are in mid-stream. Some have tried but backtracked, splintered, or simply abandoned such efforts, reverting to pathological violence. Many groups could be case studies, but Phillips has selected the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Kurdistan Workers Party, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, and the Free Aceh Movement, because they cover the spectrum. This book deals with political strategies for moderating violent Muslim movements by engaging them in the political process. In strong criticism of the Bush administration, Phillips notes that the push for democracy may have increased conflict by giving violent groups "the ballot" which they use to gain power. Focusing on non-state Muslim organizations, From Bullets to Ballots considers the relationship between ideology and policy. Phillips discusses their origin, ideology, structure, and leadership and examines financing, activities, and communications. He assesses the groups' commitment to elections and its acceptance of the responsibility that comes with governance. From Bullets to Ballots draws on twenty years of Phillips' experience working democratization and conflict prevention in the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and South Asia. His recommendations are primarily directed to the United States because he believes the United States should be a leader in promoting democracy around the world. At the same time, he is convinced that the United States must tread softly, or run the risk of fomenting further violence, undermining future democratic development, and setting back its own national interests. This is a provocative, informed, and balanced analysis of the theories behind current policies.
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