• Book Review: Fiasco by Tom Ricks

    April 8, 2011

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    Posted in: Iraq, Military, Other Ideas

    Author Tom Ricks is a kind of patron saint of intelligent writing about the Iraq conflicts, first as a reporter for the Washington Post and now as a blogger and author for Foreign Policy. Ricks is known for his connections within the military, who, knowing he will handle information intelligently and better yet, understand its context, feed him inside baseball-like data on a regular basis. It is this understanding of how things work that informs Ricks’ two books on the war, making them as close to a contemporary history as you are going to get.

    Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq takes you from pre-war planning through the initial mistakes, the early CPA days and up through the full-out civil war in Iraq of 2005 onward. It is factual, unsympathetic and written from the perspective of the military on the ground. That Fiasco has little tolerance for sloppy decision making in Washington and poor leadership on the ground (a younger Odierno is treated particularly harshly by Ricks) is not surprising.

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