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The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008by Thomas E Ricks
"Standing amid the anarchy, I sometimes forgot that the violence in Iraq was not in fact random. It had specific purposes and specific causes. The violence in Iraq was never just a hysteria of ancient hatreds, unfocused and irrational, any more than it had been in Sarajevo. The violence in Iraq was planned to achieve particular ends, social and religious and political ends. Nothing seemed inevitable, except perhaps the country's eventual unraveling." Thomas E Ricks, The New Republic Online (read the entire New Republic Online review)
Synopses & Reviews
Fiasco, Thomas E. Ricks’s #1 New York Times bestseller, transformed the political dialogue on the war in Iraq—The Gamble is the next news breaking installment
Thomas E. Ricks uses hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with top officers in Iraq and extraordinary on-the-ground reportage to document the inside story of the Iraq War since late 2005 as only he can, examining the events that took place as the military was forced to reckon with itself, the surge was launched, and a very different war began.
Since early 2007 a new military order has directed American strategy. Some top U.S. officials now in Iraq actually opposed the 2003 invasion, and almost all are severely critical of how the war was fought from then through 2006. At the core of the story is General David Petraeus, a military intellectual who has gathered around him an unprecedented number of officers with both combat experience and Ph.D.s. Underscoring his new and unorthodox approach, three of his key advisers are quirky foreigners—an Australian infantryman-turned- anthropologist, an antimilitary British woman who is an expert in the Middle East, and a Mennonite-educated Palestinian pacifist.
The Gamble offers news-breaking account, revealing behind-the-scenes disagreements between top commanders. We learn that almost every single officer in the chain of command fought the surge. Many of Petraeus’s closest advisers went to Iraq extremely pessimistic, doubting that the surge would have any effect, and his own boss was so skeptical that he dispatched an admiral to Baghdad in the summer of 2007 to come up with a strategy to replace Petraeus’s. That same boss later flew to Iraq to try to talk Petraeus out of his planned congressional testimony. The Gamble examines the congressional hearings through the eyes of Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and their views of the questions posed by the 2008 presidential candidates.
For Petraeus, prevailing in Iraq means extending the war. Thomas E. Ricks concludes that the war is likely to last another five to ten years—and that that outcome is a best case scenario. His stunning conclusion, stated in the last line of the book, is that “the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered by us and by the world have not yet happened.”
"Fiasco," Ricks's #1 "New York Times" bestseller, transformed the political dialogue on the war in Iraq. "The Gamble," the story of Gen. David Petraeus and the American military, reveals that many high-level officials were opposed to the 2003 invasion.
A high-ranking generals gripping insider account of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how it all went wrong.
A high-ranking generals gripping insider account of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how it all went wrong
Over a thirty-five-year career, Daniel Bolger rose through the army infantry to become a three-star general, commanding in both theaters of the U.S. campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. He participated in meetings with top-level military and civilian players, where strategy was made and managed. At the same time, he regularly carried a rifle alongside rank-and-file soldiers in combat actions, unusual for a general. Now, as a witness to all levels of military command, Bolger offers a unique assessment of these wars, from 9/11 to the final withdrawal from the region. Writing with hard-won experience and unflinching honesty, Bolger makes the firm case that in Iraq and in Afghanistan, we lost — but we didnt have to. Intelligence was garbled. Key decision makers were blinded by spreadsheets or theories. And, at the root of our failure, we never really understood our enemy. Why We Lost is a timely, forceful, and compulsively readable account of these wars from a fresh and authoritative perspective.
Abridged CDs • 8 CDs, 10 hours
Fiasco, Thomas E. Ricks’s #1 New York Times bestseller, transformed the political dialogue on the war in Iraq—The Gamble is the next news-breaking installment.
About the Author
Thomas E. Ricks is The Washington Post's senior Pentagon correspondent, where he has covered the U.S. military since 2000. Until the end of 1999, he held the same beat at The Wall Street Journal, where he was a reporter for seventeen years. A member of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams for national reporting, he has reported on U.S. military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is the author of Making the Corps and A Soldier's Duty.
Table of Contents
The Gamble Cast of Characters
Acronyms and Abbreviations
Part One: The Old War Ends
1. Things Fall Apart (Fall 2005)
2. How to Fight This War (Fall 2005-Fall 2006)
3. Keane Takes Command (Fall 2006)
4. A Strategy is Born (Winter 2006-7)
Part Two: A New War Begins
5. If You're so Smart . . . (Spring 2007)
6. Gambling on a "Shitty Hand" (Spring and Summer 2007)
7. Signs of Life in Baghdad (Summer 2007)
8. The Domestic Opposition Collapses (Summer and Fall 2007)
Part Three: War Without End
9. The Twilight Zone (Winter 2007-8)
10. Big Wasta (Spring 2008)
11. After the Surge (Summer 2008)
12. Obama's War (Fall 2008)
Epilogue: The Long War
A. Col. Devlin's Intelligence Assessment
B. The Orders Lt. Gen. Odierno Received in December 2006
C. How Odierno Changed the Mission
D. Gen. Petraeus Summarizes How to Operate in Iraq
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