The Iraq War: The Military Offensive, from Victory in 21 Days to the Insurgent Aftermath
Prices for book: The Iraq War: The Military Offensive, from Victory in 21 Days to the Insurgent Aftermath
Book ISBN: 9781400079209
Author(s): John Keegan
Document type: Trade Paper
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A Good Overview of Saddam and How He Was Beaten
John Keegan's "The Iraq War" is less a blow by blow account of the military campaign against Saddam's Iraq as it is a general history of Saddam's regime and its wars. Keegan looks at the history of Iraq before Saddam and examines its place within the Middle East as Arab nationalist movements take root. Saddam is painted as a bitter, brilliant, ambitious, and ultimately psychopathic dictator whose penchant for underestimating his enemies and supreme confidence in his own flawed judgments led Iraq toward disaster.
Saddam's wars of aggression against Iran and Kuwait are expertly detailed by a master military historian. In addition to the military aspects of the wars, Keegan offers a keen insight into their political origins and resolutions as well. Keegan deftly presents Saddam's motives and and judgments in each conflict and how they influenced his actions in the next.
Keegan's presentation of the 2003 Iraq War offers similar insights. The run up to the war and the preparations against Iraq are examined. Bush and Blair are presented as diligent statesmen, acting on credible evidence of a threat to the Western world from Iraq. Those looking for a treatise packed with Bush-bashing will be disappointed. To be sure, Keegan offers mistakes that these men and others made in the US and Britain, but on the whole it's pretty obvious that Keegan supported the decision for war in 2003 and offers important arguments for this position. The military operations are again detailed with supreme precision and insight. The reader marvels at the ability of the US-British led military to take on Saddam's still credible war machine with such a relatively small force, a force not supported by nearly the numbers of nations that joined the coalition in 1991. Keegan also writes of the lingering effects of the war in the US and Britain, and offers his notes from a post-war interview with US General Tommy Franks.
The scope of this book does not quite fit the title. At just over 200 pages of text one expects this work to be primarily a study of the 2003 Iraq War. Rather, this work presents a grand overview of Iraq's regime under Saddam and its wars. This book also fails to fully consider the insurgency that followed the main military operations. A greater perspective on this issue would have added considerably to this work. Still, these are small complaints compared to what this book does offer.
Cody Carlson (Amazon.com)
What is this book about?
In this 219 pp book, Keegan goes on for 125 pp about events that led up to the war, and many events that he should have left out. This is so poorly done I can not recommend it. Did the publishers just tell JK to write whatever he wanted and they would print it? Reminds me of the old guy at a party you meet that just has to tell you way too much detail about something he likes to talk about, and never gets to the point. AVOID!
A Clear Perspective on the Iraqi Conflicts
John Keegan brings clear vision and logical, scholarly clarity (in the best sense) to this discussion of 20th-21st century conflict in Iraq.
His statements of fact will not be pleasing to many political partisans, and will certainly be poorly regarded by much of the European political elite. Unfortunately for his detractors, Keegan can support his arguments with facts and logic.
Those seeking a factual account of the politics and conflict in Iraq will find this book invaluable. Recommended for open-minded, intellectually capable people.
Ignore this turkey
Keegan started out years ago with a bang with The Face of Battle, in which the post-Vietnam and, for the UK, a post-Empire spirit made for a genuinely innovative military history.
This early promise has NOT been fulfilled, and Keegan has declined considerably in quality because he's become co-opted by the Establishment, a post-Empire, Blair establishment every bit as corrupt as Haig.
Keegan has never served in combat yet loftily recommended in the 1980s that the "tempo" of the next war (which as a Sandhurst insider he was probably planning) be increased to 24/7. In this, he gave NO consideration to the high levels of post-traumatic stress and the war crimes that have resulted from the US policy of "no sleep until Baghdad" in the second Iraq war.
Keegan is post-Sixties, all right, but instead of peace and love, he's a Nietzchean who'd wage war with the poor man's body.
His "war" is chateau generalship by the rich, actually fought, 24/7, by British working class lads, blackfellows from Britain's few remaining colonies, and of course Americans.
Keegan popularized and made respectable for a new generation the old lie, subtly and over time, dulce et decorum. Precisely by foregrounding war's utter brutality he made it somehow acceptable and ONCE AGAIN a test of manhood, and this has gotten people killed.
His book on Military Intelligence managed, idiotically, to dismiss MI as secondary and not critical precisely, almost to the day, when the American and British MI was declaring victory (remember Mission Accomplished?) and failing to see how disbanding the Iraqi army would create the insurgency.
The Iraq War recounts the war as a board game with neither any anticipation of the postwar mess nor any compassion whatsoever for the men and women who fought it, or the Iraqis brutalized. At key points, it expresses a puzzlement about the failure of Iraqis to greet their "liberators" which shows a willful incomprehension of anything outside military science.
Ignore all writings by John Keegan until he issues a public apology for the lives this twit has destroyed while sipping pink gin at Sandhurst. For a good history of the Iraq War cf. Thomas E. Ricks, THE IRAQ WAR.
Edward G. Nilges (Amazon.com)
Not Up to Par
Even the world's greatest living military historian admits to being "mystified" by the Iraq war in his opening chapter. The following chapters are more in the Keegan style and provide a solid background on Iraq and its place in the region. Iraq did not provide the sustained episodes of combat that Mr. Keegan may be used to detailing, and hence his work is brought up significantly short, as there are no great tank or infantry battles for him to cover. His analysis of the war's aftermath is brief and unsatisfactory, especially when that is where the real war began. Mr. Keegan wrote about his subject too early in its history and the results leave the reader as equally mystified as the author. Far more highly recommended would be Yossef Bodansky's "The Secret History of the Iraq War", David Zucchino's "Thunder Run", or "Generation Kill" by Evan Wright.
Aaron Gutsell (Amazon.com)
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