Synopses & Reviews
From journalistic accounts like Fiasco
and Imperial Life in the Emerald City
to insider memoirs like Jawbreaker
and Three Cups of Tea
, the books about America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could fill a library. But each explores a narrow slice of a whole: two wars launched by a single president as part of a single foreign policy. Now noted historian Terry H. Anderson examines them together, in a single comprehensive overview.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush told advisor Karl Rove, "I am here for a reason, and this is how we're going to be judged." Anderson provides this judgment in this sweeping, authoritative account of Bush's War on Terror and his twin interventions. He begins with historical surveys of Iraq and Afghanistan known respectively as "the improbable country" and "the graveyard of empires," and he examines U.S. policies toward those and other nations in the Middle East from the 1970s to 2000s.
Then Anderson focuses on the Bush Administration, carrying us through such events as the terrorist's attacks of 9/11, the invasion of Afghanistan and the siege of Tora Bora, the "Axis of Evil" speech, the invasion of Iraq and capture of Baghdad, and the eruption of insurgency in Iraq. He ranges from RPGs slamming into Abrams tanks to cabinet meetings, vividly portraying both soldiers in the field and such policymakers as Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice. Anderson describes the counter-insurgency strategy embodied by the "surge" in Iraq, and the simultaneous revival of the Taliban. He concludes with an assessment of the prosecution of the wars in the first years of Barack Obama's presidency.
Carefully researched and briskly narrated, Bush's Wars provides the single-volume, balanced history that we have been waiting for.
"Anderson (The United States, Great Britain and the Cold War, 1944 1947), a professor of history at Texas A&M University, draws primarily upon published, secondary sources to tell what he calls the 'first history of Bush's Wars' that turns out a familiar account of an 'unreflective' and unseasoned president, an administration obsessed with Saddam Hussein promoting a reckless war with Iraq, bungling reconstruction, and sitting back helplessly as Iraq disintegrates into insurgency and sectarian war. Anderson credits the 2007 surge with reducing violence in Iraq, but remains skeptical about the future. While he acknowledges that his examination of Bush's wars might be 'premature,' he betrays little caution in concluding that war with Iraq will likely be blamed for any future 'decline of American economic and diplomatic influence.' Moreover, Anderson risks overstating his case with claims such as that Bush was unique in eschewing 'firm intelligence and analysis' when conducting foreign policy. Other assertions go unchecked it's not true that recession was in 'full swing' during the 1992 presidential campaign and readers won't find much help in the cursory 'Notes.' Anderson's concise history of Bush's wars might be the first, but it won't be the last word. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Grappling with centuries-old feuds, defeating a shrewd insurgency, and navigating the sometimes paralyzing bureaucracy of the U.S. military are issues that prompt sleepless nights for both policy makers in Washington DC and soldiers at war, albeit for different reasons. Few, however, have dealt with these issues in the White House situation room and on the front line. Michael G. Waltz has done just that, working as a policy advisor to Vice President Richard B. Cheney and also serving in the mountains of Afghanistan as a Green Beret, directly implementing strategy in the field that he helped devise in Washington.
In Warrior Diplomat: A Green Beretand#8217;s Battles from Washington to Afghanistan, Waltz shares his unique firsthand experiences, revealing the sights, sounds, emotions, and complexities involved in the war in Afghanistan. Waltz also highlights the policy issues that have plagued the war effort throughout the past decade, from the drug trade, to civilian casualties, to a lack of resources in comparison to Iraq, to the overall coalition strategy. At the same time, he points out that stabilizing Afghanistan and the region remains crucial to national security and that a long-term commitment along the lines of South Korea or Germany is imperative if America is to remain secure.
When and#8220;Donand#8217;t Ask, Donand#8217;t Tell,and#8221; the official U.S. policy on gays serving in the military, was repealed in September 2011, soldier Stephen Snyder-Hill (then Captain Hill) was serving in Iraq. Having endured years of this policy, which passively encouraged a culture of fear and secrecy for gay soldiers, Snyder-Hill submitted a video to a Republican primary debate held two days after the repeal. In the video he asked for the Republicansand#8217; thoughts regarding the repeal and their plans, if any, to extend spousal benefits to legally married gay and lesbian soldiers. His video was booed by the audience on national television.
Soldier of Change captures not only the media frenzy that followed that moment, placing Snyder-Hill at the forefront of this modern civil rights movement, but also his twenty-year journey as a gay man in the army: from self-loathing to self-acceptance to the most important battle of his lifeand#8212;protecting the disenfranchised. Since that time, Snyder-Hill has traveled the country with his husband, giving interviews on major news networks and speaking at universities, community centers, and pride parades, a champion of LGBT equality.and#160;
About the Author
STEPHEN SNYDER-HILL joined the military in 1988 and served nearly three years on active duty in Germany and fought in the first Gulf War in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait before his honorable discharge in 1996. He reenlisted in 2001 and was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn in 2010. Throughout his military career Snyder-Hill received numerous awards and decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal. GEORGE TAKEI is an actor, social justice activist, and author of Oh Myyy! There Goes the Internet. He is best known for his portrayal of Sulu in the Star Trek television series and movies.
Table of Contents
Introduction East: The Improbable Country and the Graveyard of Empires
Introduction West: The United States, Saddam, and al Qaeda, 1970s-2000
Chapter One: Bush, bin Laden, and the Pinnacle of World Sympathy
Chapter Two: Rush To War
Chapter Three: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Chapter Four: Bush's War
Concluding Remarks and Legacies