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Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq

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Craig Wasson

25 Hours 4 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

March 2006


Audio Book Summary

Informed by unparalleled access to still–secret documents, interviews with top field commanders, and a review of the military’s own internal after–action reports, Cobra II is the definitive chronicle of America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq—a conflict that could not be lost but one that the United States failed to win decisively. From the Pentagon to the White House to the American command centers in the field, the book reveals the inside story of how the war was actually planned and fought. Drawing on classified United States government intelligence, it also provides a unique account of how Saddam Hussein and his high command developed and prosecuted their war strategy.

Written by Michael R. Gordon, the chief military correspondent for The New York Times, who spent the war with the Allied land command, and Bernard E. Trainor, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general and former director of the National Security Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cobra II traces the interactions among the generals, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and President George W. Bush. It dramatically reconstructs the principal battles from interviews with those who fought them, providing reliable accounts of the clashes waged by conventional and Special Operations forces. It documents with precision the failures of American intelligence and the mistakes in administering postwar Iraq.

Unimpeachably sourced, Cobra II describes how the American rush to Baghdad provided the opportunity for the virulent insurgency that followed. The brutal aftermath in Iraq was not inevitable and was a surprise to the generals on both sides; Cobra II provides the first authoritative account as to why. It is a book of enduring importance and incisive analysis—a comprehensive account of the most reported yet least understood war in American history.

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  • Mandi Chestler

    Cobra II is aptly named as the book makes clear this war was snake bit from the beginning due to poor planning at the highest level--particularly with the lack of post-war plans. If you have any doubts about whether or not Rummy mucked the war effort up badly, this book explains the whole sorry tale in great detail. Franks and Bremmer come off like a couple of snakes as well. Lots of factual detail makes the mistakes in this war painfully real and very heart wrenching. The troops and their immediate commanders in the field are presented as the real heroes that have been woefully abused by the powers that be. The summary at the end of Disk 8 is particulary helpful.

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  • Michael Scott

    The best non-partisan book on the entire war I've seen yet. Unlike other books on the subject, which delve mainly on the political side of the war here in the US, this text delves more into the military aspect - including the major players, descriptions of the battles, a glimpse into what the Iraqis were thinking / doing and the internal workings of the military machine during the fighting. It points out blatant failures in intelligence, blunders made by the military / US Administration, mistakes made by the Iraqi government, failure to plan for reconstruction, how the military adjusted to changes on the ground, while the administration was determined to "stay the course", as well as this administrations blatant disregard of council given by those on the ground, and by those who had more experience in warfare. A highly recommended read.

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