View Full Version : Fiasco

06-16-2006, 10:26 PM
Fiasco (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/159420103X/smallwarsjour-20/104-0563752-4865514?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&link%5Fcode=xm2) by Thomas Ricks. To be released on 25 July. Click on the link to buy at a discounted price and support the SWJ / SWC at the same time.

Book Description

The definitive military chronicle of the Iraq war and a searing judgment on the strategic blindness with which America has conducted it, drawing on the accounts of senior military officers giving voice to their anger for the first time.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post senior Pentagon correspondent Thomas E. Ricks's Fiasco is masterful and explosive reckoning with the planning and execution of the American military invasion and occupation of Iraq, based on the unprecedented candor of key participants.

The American military is a tightly sealed community, and few outsiders have reason to know that a great many senior officers view the Iraq war with incredulity and dismay. But many officers have shared their anger with renowned military reporter Thomas E. Ricks, and in Fiasco, Ricks combines these astonishing on-the-record military accounts with his own extraordinary on-the-ground reportage to create a spellbinding account of an epic disaster.

As many in the military publicly acknowledge here for the first time, the guerrilla insurgency that exploded several months after Saddam's fall was not foreordained. In fact, to a shocking degree, it was created by the folly of the war's architects. But the officers who did raise their voices against the miscalculations, shortsightedness, and general failure of the war effort were generally crushed, their careers often ended. A willful blindness gripped political and military leaders, and dissent was not tolerated.

There are a number of heroes in Fiasco-inspiring leaders from the highest levels of the Army and Marine hierarchies to the men and women whose skill and bravery led to battlefield success in towns from Fallujah to Tall Afar-but again and again, strategic incoherence rendered tactical success meaningless. There was never any question that the U.S. military would topple Saddam Hussein, but as Fiasco shows there was also never any real thought about what would come next. This blindness has ensured the Iraq war a place in history as nothing less than a fiasco. Fair, vivid, and devastating, Fiasco is a book whose tragic verdict feels definitive.

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.

07-04-2006, 05:19 PM
19 March commentary - Bleakness In Baghdad (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/17/AR2006031701795.html).

... Tom Ricks, military correspondent for The Post, has doubts. He recently returned from his fifth visit to Iraq. In March 2003 he thought that the invasion was a strategic mistake in the struggle against terrorism. His assessment of subsequent events is the title of his book, coming in September: "Fiasco." Now, however, he thinks that a U.S. withdrawal would leave chaos that might lead to radical Islamists acquiring what they most want: Saudi oil fields and Pakistani nuclear weapons. So America, he thinks, needs a plan to reduce fatalities to two or three a week, then two or three a month.

But who, he wonders, will control the likes of Moqtada al-Sadr? Imagine, Ricks says, another cleric, the Rev. Al Sharpton, controlling the Bronx with a militia he can call into the streets at any time. Last Monday, when Bush again celebrated Iraq's progress from tyranny to December's "elections for a fully constitutional government," this was life in Iraq, as reported by the New York Times:

"Shiite vigilantes seized four men suspected of terrorist attacks, interrogated them, beat them, killed them and left their bodies dangling from lampposts. . . . In Sadr City, the Shiite slum in Baghdad where the terrorist suspects were executed, government forces have vanished. The streets are ruled by aggressive teenagers with shiny soccer jerseys and machine guns. They set up roadblocks and poke their heads into cars and detain whomever they want. . . . 'This is our government now,' [a retired teacher] said, nodding toward Mr. Sadr's glowering face on television."...

07-05-2006, 09:49 PM
Has anyone here read this book? I was thinking about buying it but the title makes me worry that it is purely a political work where a writer picks a conclusion and the research until he gets to it. The review make it sound like it is not but I feel better hearing from a “real person” before I spend my limited reading time.

07-05-2006, 10:55 PM
... I do not believe Tom Ricks wrote this book to fit a preconcieved political opinion on the war. He has a lot of DoD contacts and I am very confident he interviewed many primary sources for this book. Ricks has been a "hands-on" military / war reporter for some time and you can run a Google search to get a representative sample of his past articles.

I'm getting a copy of Fiasco on the 25th and will start a "review" thread here on the SWC...

07-23-2006, 09:43 PM
... on this thread - In Iraq, Military Forgot the Lessons of Vietnam (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=1041)...