❰Epub❯ ➝ The Gamble: General David Petraeus & the American Military Adventure in Iraq 2006-08 Author Thomas E. Ricks – Cheapnikeshoes.co

By and large, critics were less eager to assess Ricks s work as an author andinterested in his opinions about the success of the surge and the future of Iraq But this is perhaps the book s greatest endorsement whether they were liberal or conservative, American or British, critics viewed Ricks s facts as unassailable and his analysis as strong They were impressed not just with his unparalleled access to the main actors in Iraq but also with his ability to integrate two commonly held but seemingly irreconcilable views that the war was a mistake and a catastrophe as expressed in Fiasco and that Petraeus and the surge represented an amazing turnaround Thus, many critics found that although Ricks seems to express a consensus view, The Gamble is counterintuitive and challenging, refreshing yet sobering.This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine. The best book I ve read so far on the conflict s in Iraq I thought about giving this 5 stars, but the last 30 pages or so has Ricks trying to guess where this is all going Nothing wrong with that, since the situation in Iraq is ongoing and is now our longest war , but at that point it moves from history toward crystal ball gazing But in this case, it s very informed crystal ball gazing General Petraeus, the focus of much of book, comes across as one of the rare, transformative figures that come along every once in a while in history He understands the conflict, and how to fight it But at some point politics will take over, and what is now considered a tactical success the Surge , could collapse due to the politics surrounding the U.S., Iraq, Iran, etc I was somewhat surprised that Petraeus was trying so hard to get the Army to move in the direction of Counterinsurgency I kept asking myself whether we had learned anything from Vietnam Ricks points out, about midway through the book, that the Iraq invasion, with its emphasis on Blitzkrieg, may have been a swan song for that particular style of fighting I m not sure I buy that, but he makes a good case for it As far as the invasion itself, Ricks thinks that in itself may damn the Surge It was a bad decision, not thought through, and fought stupidly for several years Ricks also doesn t think too much of Rumsfield, who comes across as the Wrong Man in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time His replacement, Gates, is a vast improvement So much so, that one can see why Obama decided to retain him A great book that I highly recommend. The Gamble Tells The Gripping Story Of How, In The Iraq War S Darkest Hour, An Unlikely Collection Of Dissident Generals, Scholars And Foreign Experts Pulled The Country Back From The Edge Of The Abyss And Saved Countless Lives This Was The Surge , And At Its Helm Was General David Petraeus, Now Acknowledged As One Of The Greatest Military Tacticians In US History Based On Unprecedented Access To The Entire Chain Of Army Command At The Top And Fighting On The Ground This Is The Definitive Account Of One Of America S Biggest Ever Military Gambles, And What It Means For The Future Of Iraq This book is a well reported effort with multiple citations and sources and a somewhat coherent, if ultimately un hopeful as opposed to hopeless , conclusion in its epilogue.For those who read the book as a weather forecast, the epilogue will provide all that you seek For those that read this book for a tapestry of the way the United States military operates, the entire book is recommended For those that seek insights on the formulation, and revision, of strategy and tactics, really, you ll get the most out of the opening 150 pages.Those are the ones I enjoyed most The complete revision of U.S strategy as it pertained to counterinsurgency Counterinsurgency has interested me ever since reading Ernesto Che Guevara s Guerra de Guerrillas It is a fine conundrum If a state fails to protect the utilities from the guerrillas fails to keep the lights on and the water running the state appears incompetent, and so why not go with the guerrillas If the state wages full war against the guerrillas, hidden within the population, it converts bystanders to guerrillas and loses by numbers alone.The solution, as the US apparently learned in Vietnam and then refused to teach a generation of our officers, is to protect the populace at all cost once the insurgency is underway always to be considered an initial failure That is, kill and capture is a surefire way to lose an insurgency.The US spent most of the years 2004 2006 killing and capturing insurgents, while commuting to war from its forward operating bases Drive 90 minutes, patrol 90 minutes, drive back 90 minutes All the time, the focus was on finding and killing insurgents and when civilians popped up and asked for basic services, they were provided bread or money or told to shut up Always, the populace was an obstacle standing between the US military and the enemy.The fundamental change brought by General David Petraeus was to focus always on the populace and when insurgents popped up, they were to be killed or captured as a means of removing them as obstacles, not as the ends in themselves Petraeus s job was to regain the strategic initiative, a task that appeared impossible when it was first undertaken Petraeus succeeded, though, in the unlikely and proud American tradition of generals like Washington, Sherman, Grant and MacArthur.How the occupation of Iraq ends, though, is an entirely different, and less hopeful, matter Thomas Ricks seems to conclude that a force of between 25,000 50,000 US soldiers will need to remain till at least 2015 for there to be any chance of stability And Petraeus has already taken the notion of a flourishing democracy off the table A disloyal to Iran Shiite government in Baghdad that looks suspiciously like an Iranian puppet but isn t completely, Ricks concludes, might be the best hope we have Un hopeful as that reads, it beats every realistic alternative. Sad and frighting how we got in this mess in the first place.This book describes how a group of active duty and retired generals, and colonels and civilian experts Petraeus,et.al who were against the war in the first place were able to redirect the Iraq war, because the Republicans got whipped in the 2006 elections After their losses in the election, the old regime had to finally admit that we were about to lose the war, fire Rumsfeld, and hand over the keys to Petraeus and company After a recounting of the stupidity and horrors surrounding the run up and conduct of the war from 2003 to 2007, we get an inside look on how we averted total disaster by changing commanders and strategy.The new commanders changed to focus to protecting, communicating with, and making allies of the Iraqi people including many insurgents Our troops started staying in the Iraqi cities 24x7, instead of hiding out in isolated bases This change in strategy well there was really no strategy before this and tactics, hadto do with the change in status than the surge in troop numbers Though the surge certainly made it easier It is the classic counter insurgency strategy that was ignored by Rumsfeld and his yes man generals Petraeus literally wrote the counter insurgency book for the US military.A great irony can be found here Had the election not forced the old regime to change things, the war would have been over for the USA by now, with us leaving in disgrace and Iraq in an full fledged civil war, and Iran controlling a big part of Iraq So by voting anti war, we are getting a longer war, which may have an outcome that is better than the total disaster that the old regime was leading us to.The sad part is that all this has accomplished was a relatively stable, safer Iraq that now has the opportunity to move towards a self governing society It islikely we will get another Saddam than democracy Obama s plans for Iraq match up with the advise of Petreaus We will have 35 to 50 thousand troops in Iraq for decades They just won t be doing so much dying and killing They areof a peacekeeping force than an invading army now So it is not a victory, it is an incomplete with hope At least it beats having 130,000 troops there killing and dying for little or no reason.The best thing would have been to not invade in the first place DUH Ricks has a thesis you can guess it from the title and he makes his point forcefully It had always been my contention that the people of Iraq must be better served and the concept of sending troops out into small outposts in cities and towns to establish peaceful areas is intuitively convergent The intent was to have peace for long enough that a political solution could arise In practice we have been arming former insurgents to keep them from fighting with us and Iraqi citizens We have established an uneasy calm for a period, but the political process has not moved in the direction we had hoped Instead, withpeaceful living conditions in the cities and towns, political positions appear to have regressed and entrenched rather than broadened and becomeinclusive How it plays out is anybody s guess What I liked about Ricks work was obtaining a sense of the difficult choices facing commanders at the time Petraeus was writing the new counter insurgency manual, the disconnect between Washington and Baghdad, a peek at what life must have been like for thinking beings, our soldiers, executing orders and living in Iraq I think the editing on this work was magisterial, because the amount of information must have been overwhelming, yet the material is cut so that a clear narrative with a fresh perspective emerges I appreciate the timeliness I can t believe we are reading in such depth about events that occured so recently Kudos to Ricks. This book is a great work on the surge and the magnificent job done by the US military in Iraq from late 2006 to late 2008 as this book came out I admit I am not a fan of Rick s way of thinking on matters of foreign policy and especially I dont like his liberal bias Why would one ruin a good book by showing his liberal bias Mocking the president or vice president why Can t you just report what has happened without commentary of your own There are dozens of this bias through out the book but I just want to point to two of them as examples and how he is wrong 1 on pg 76, he claims the fall of Saigon in south Vietnam did not make the domino effect happen Only to contradict himself a paragraph down the page saying except for those in re education camps in Laos and Cambodia and Vietnam So he admits to domino effect being taken place 2 On page 102, he mocks Pres Bush in hit a new low statement he makes Hit a new low in whose eyes a liberal like Ricks or me and other Bush supporters Of course, Bush was never high in the eyes of people like Mr Ricks Again, I am saying this is a good book and worth reading but the liberal bias in it is overbearing and makes the book appear as a work of a partisan hack All those praise for Sen Webb for what How is he related to the surge and Iraq reporting When he praises Bob Gates and scold Bush and Cheney for their disdain of the government, he is misguided Bush and Cheney are not disdainful of the outstanding careerists like Secretary of Defense Gates but I assume they are disdainful of the reach of a big government I think the author has his own priorities wrong in this book It is one thing to hate Bush and another to insert bias in a work of journalistic nature. A great follow up to his previous book on the Iraq war, Fiasco, Ricks shows how American troops, led by Gens David Petraeus and Ray Odierno, did a complete 180 turn in terms of strategy and brought a relative amount of security to the country Ricks also added something that I thought was lacking from his previous book short, biographical info on key figures like Petraeus, Odierno and Keane And, just like before, Ricks has a knack for illustrating the facts both on the ground and in the hallways of power Strangely though, I found this book to be farlacking in in depth details and reflections than Fiasco, especially in part 3 Although he makes up for it in the epilogue, I felt that Ricks could have saidthan he did on the surge s consequences before the epilogue He probably was hampered by the fact that he had little time to finish the book before publishing it 1 3 months by my guess and because we still aren t sure what the lasting consequences of the surge are Having said that, Ricks once again shows that he is the authority on what has been going on, both good and bad, in Iraq. If you want a good explanation of one of the reasons Iraq has crumbled intocomplete chaos since the US pulled out, I recommend that you read Thomas Ricks Fiasco and The Gamble In his first book Ricks goes into detail about the failed logic and strategy in invading Iraq In the Gamble Ricks describes to his readers the new strategy and almost unified front that the US takes from 2007 2008 Instead of focusing on crushing al Qaeda and insurgents, General Petreaus and other US military and politicians decide it is time they protect the population American troops began to patrol Iraqi streets on foot instead of in humvees, patrolled and trained Iraqi military and police, created an Iraqi militia, and paid Iraqi insurgents to fight for Iraq instead of receiving aid from al Qaeda or Iran Ricks explains that while the tactics were successful in making Iraq a littlepeaceful the over all strategy of having a stable Iraqi government was not as successful Further, Ricks has a way of making a presumably boring topic of military strategy and political rhetoric very interesting He does this by really explaining the effects that every decision and meeting had on the outcome of the war in Iraq Ricks is definitely one of my favorite authors. Thomas Ricks is no fan of President Bush s invasion of Iraq, and has called it the greatest foreign policy disaster in U.S history He detailed the run up to war and the first few years in Fiasco and has now written about the huge change in strategy and tactics that occurred with the surge.He details how classic counterinsurgency theory holds that people are the objective, so the task is to figure out how to win them And he quotes Col H.R McMaster as saying Every time you treat an Iraqi disrespectfully, you are working for the enemy And according to Ricks this was rampant.And the levels of violence were high By mid 2006 insurgents were detonating about 1,000 roadside bombs per week and Iranian made explosively formed projectiles caused an estimated 73% of U.S casualties in 2007 But the U.S was holding to the same course of action and Ricks believes the bottleneck was at the top of the Pentagon with Rumsfeld He continued to support passing responsibility to Iraqi forces against the evidence of sectarian militia members in those forces In September of 2006 retired General Jack Keane told Rumsfeld Despite capturing Saddam Hussein, killing his two sons, holding three elections, writing a constitution, installing a permanent government, beginning to develop a capable ISF, killing Zarqawi the level of violence has increased every year in the contested areas Security and stability is worse today than it has been since the insurgency started It threatens the survival of the government and the success of our mission A few months later military historian Eliot Cohen pointed out to Bush that not a single general had been removed for ineffectiveness In short, under Rumsfeld s watch, we were too respectful to our generals In World War II George Marshall fired several dozen senior generals and during the war 17 division commanders were relieved So the story of how many men, led by Generals Petraeus, Keane, and Odierno, came to change the face of war in Iraq is told They looked at how to match your policies with your resources and in a memo to Petraus Maj Gen Fastabend wrote If this is the decisive struggle of our time, be decisive Something that the military structure had lacked since the war planning stage.The goal in Iraq became sustainable security and as strategic analyst Steven Metz said We can t have stability and democratization because democratization is often destabilizing and chaotic This is the story how adapting to new strategies and tactics on the battlefield changed the course of this war According to Ricks the best case is Iraq will calm down, be mildly authoritarian, and probably become an ally of Iran But he cautions we won t know the true outcome for decades.One of the problems with books by Ricks is there is such a huge cast of characters that it is difficult to keep the players straight and how much importance to put on them individually, because they might just be a day player in this drama But it is worth the effort to be this well informed.