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Fiasco: the American Military Adventure in Iraq


Doug97

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The "players themselves" books are good in a historical perspective as well, but sometimes, things go badly and voices from the outside, interviewing the "players", do a better job.

 

Sometimes that does happen. Then again, there are times where the "voices on the outside interviewing the players" make assumptions about things not entirely investigated and they (the authors) can assemble facts (both related and unrelated) in any way they like to paint the portrait they want to paint - be it entirely truthful, somewhat truthful, or entirely a smear job. They certainly cannot gain access to all of the pertinent documents needed to write a book on a war still in progress. All of those they might like to interview are most likely not able to be as open about the subject matter as an author may want them to be. And, usually, in the absence of hard data, one might be prone to make “educated guesses” or assumptions and present them in way that makes the reader take it as solid fact.

 

It's not unlike finding ten homebuilders, giving each an plot of land and an equal quantity of raw building materials and telling each to build as he/she sees fit to do. None of the ten houses will most likely look alike and each will accentuate one area of the built house more than another based upon the builder’s personal opinions (e.g. one may favor larger kitchens and smaller bedrooms, one may prefer simple décor while another prefers the more ornate).

 

Anyway, I’ll be waiting for books like Summers wrote – and I may be waiting a long time for them. But, in the meantime, I’ll be satisfied that my wait will ultimately be rewarded.

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I would recommend reading my posts before claiming I've made any judgements on the book. Read again and think (this time) before typing. :rolleyes:

 

I've merely given the reasons I will not read it. If you want to read it, fine. I will not waste my time doing it.

Surprisingly, the remark wasn't tailored for you. Others in this thread were dismissive and clearly without a clue what the book was about.

Edited by Ssnake
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Surprisingly, the remark wasn't tailored for you. Others in this thread were dismissive and clearly without a clue what the book was about.

 

Fine. I'll wait until a real military analyst writes a book. I've got no problem with that and neither should anybody else.

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Rocky, I usually agree with you about things but you are completely off-base here. Thomas Ricks is an outstanding professional - by no means anti-military or pushing some political/ideological agenda. He has a long track record of excellent work. Clearly a book written about OIF in 2006 is only the second draft of history (daily reporting was the first draft) and books such as the one by Ricks have their limitations.

 

Many fine books about military subjects are written by people with little or no military service. Looking over my bookshelf, I see books by people like Steven Zaloga, Tony Williams and Norman Friedman. The idea that you have to wear a uniform to write intelligently about the military is simply unsupported by the facts.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...6070600612.html

 

Another military "expert" that can teach the professors at the Army War College, CGSOC, CAS3, and the instructors at every Military Educational facility worldwide how things should REALLY be done. ;)

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Rocky, I usually agree with you about things but you are completely off-base here. Thomas Ricks is an outstanding professional - by no means anti-military or pushing some political/ideological agenda. He has a long track record of excellent work. Clearly a book written about OIF in 2006 is only the second draft of history (daily reporting was the first draft) and books such as the one by Ricks have their limitations.

 

Many fine books about military subjects are written by people with little or no military service. Looking over my bookshelf, I see books by people like Steven Zaloga, Tony Williams and Norman Friedman. The idea that you have to wear a uniform to write intelligently about the military is simply unsupported by the facts.

 

I never said that people that had not worn the uniform cannot write intelligently or be well versed. However, if you want nuts and bolts bare facts about military operations, one must be very careful in choosing reading material, lest one be lining the pockets of an author having some facts and some assumptions (mixed in with personal opinions) all rolled up into a book about an event that is still on-going, as-yet unresolved, where most of the high-ranking major players still cannot talk freely and the documents that support the conflict (up to this point) have yet to be released to the general public.

 

The guy may have nice credentials, but (again) I will wait for the time when it appears that a notable author has all of the facts as is known for bare-bottom, no frills analysis.

 

Personal note: Twice (I believe) in my life, I bought a book about a recent military event (one about Vietnam and one about the 1973 Arab/Israeli War) hoping to gain insight as to the causes and the chronological happenings and analysis of the event – only to find that each of the books was done “half-baked” with some facts and with the rest of the book filled with the author’s using the book as his own, personal speech platform. Both times, I felt cheated and angry that my money had gone to such disingenuous motherf**kers masquerading as analyst authors. I vowed to be more careful in choosing books in the future. Buying books about Iraq (now) is like picking tomatoes off of the vine or ears of corn off of the stalk before they are ripe – you are better off waiting for the better product.

 

COL Summers (on Vietnam) was a reading/writing assignment at CGSOC when I was a student. After ODS, he published another analysis of it. I was very impressed and he has set the standard for my personal reading. I’ll be awaiting that sort of book (and it may be years before it comes out).

 

Edit Error: One was a book about the Falklands, instead of being about the 1973 Arab/Israeli War.

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I certainly agree with your assessment of COL Summers.

 

Most writing done about events in the recent past will be superceded as information is declassified, the enemy's perspective is taken into account, etc. That being said, Thomas Ricks has a fine track record and would be a credible writer by any reasonable standard.

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