Monday, July 31, 2006


Michael O'Hanlon reviewed Thomas Rick's new book, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, last week in Slate. "It is not an exaggeration, or at least not much of one," O'Hanlon writes, "to say that [the book] has changed the debate over Iraq:"

Others have criticized much of the decision-making of the Bush administration—on going to war in the first place, on hyping Saddam's purported links to al-Qaida and his progress in pursuing nuclear weapons, and most of all on the shoddy, cavalier preparation for the post-Saddam stabilization of Iraq. But almost all these previous critiques focused on President Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and other civilian leaders of the Bush administration.

Ricks hardly spares the war's civilian architects, but his is the first major book to take on the U.S. military as well.

Click here to read the entire review.

To read an excerpt from the book, click here; to scan the Table of Contents, click here.

I've not read Fiasco but I have read Ricks' 1997 Making the Corps. Ricks tracked an actual platoon of recruits through basic training in the spring of 1995. He showed us who washed out and why, and taught readers a great deal about the people and the system that determined who made the corps and who did not. It's a fine book. Click here to read an excerpt.

--Marshal Zeringue