Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama

Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama

Article excerpt

Gordon, Michael r., and bernard e. trainor. The endgame: The inside Story of the Struggle for iraq, from george w. Bush to Barack obama. New york: Pantheon, 2012. 800pp. $35

At the end of cobra ii: The inside Story of the invasion and occupation of iraq (2007), Michael gordon and bernard trainor concluded that americans and Iraqis had created an Iraq of "chaos, suffering, and a future that is still vexed." Six years later that vexed future is realized in their latest book, The endgame. thoroughly researched, this book leverages not only documentary sources but interviews with american and Iraqi leaders who shaped the post-saddam Iraq to give the most encompassing narrative to date of the U.s. occupation of Iraq. Nearly eight hundred pages in length, this is the best single-volume study of the american and Iraqi experiences in postinvasion Iraq from 2003 to the U.s. withdrawal in 2011. any future histories of the Iraqi war will have to acknowledge this comprehensive research and account.

After retracing some territory familiar from cobra ii, gordon and trainor present a detailed account of the american occupation and effort to create a new Iraq. What becomes clear in this volume is that President george W. bush, his administration, and the first team of military leaders failed to create an adequate policy and strategy to transform the fractious Iraqi people into a stable nation. sectarian violence, internal and external terrorism, and american myopia created a stew of insurgency, instability, and fear in Iraq while the United States focused on "transitioning" the nation to a new sovereign government. In many respects endgame is the tragic story of ill-conceived policy and strategy followed by a succession of ill-fated and politically charged efforts to get out of the quagmire that Iraq had become after april 2003.

Gordon and trainor divide their narrative into three parts. first they explore the descent into sectarian violence and the inability of the United states to shift the nation to Iraqi control between 2003 and 2006. readers will recognize the all-too-familiar shortcomings of donald rumsfeld, tommy franks, Paul bremer, and lieutenant general ricardo sanchez in their attempt to end the occupation as quickly as possible. the second part is the core of the story, detailing the genesis of the "surge," the "awakening" movement, and the effects of david Petraeus's counterinsurgency approach on an Iraq that was effectively transforming its religious demographics through violence and intimidation. …

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