The Iraq War: Strategy, Tactics, and Military Lessons

By Hughes, Daniel J. | Air & Space Power Journal, Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

The Iraq War: Strategy, Tactics, and Military Lessons


Hughes, Daniel J., Air & Space Power Journal


The Iraq War: Strategy, Tactics, and Military Lessons by Anthony H. Cordesman. Center for Strategic and International Studies (http://www.csis.org), 1800 K Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006, 2003, 592 pages, $25.00 (softcover).

As of this writing, Anthony Cordesman's comprehensive volume might be the best place to begin any study of the ongoing War of the Iraqi Succession. It is also a useful encyclopedia of all sorts of information connected with military aspects of the war and a helpful guide to official sources available as of the summer of 2003. The book is likely to remain a standard reference for basic war-related facts for years. It surely will be both the starting point and a baseline for numerous subsequent studies. The work's focus is entirely consistent with its subtitle: the military strategy of the combatants, the operations and tactics of the coalition campaign, and the military conclusions that one might draw in an admittedly limited and preliminary manner. The volume thus delivers precisely what it promises and does so in a measured, objective, and well-organized manner. Its timely appearance is the source of both its value and, as Cordesman himself readily acknowledges, its limitations.

A brief review of the book's organization reveals something of its scope and ambition. Following an introductory chapter on the limits of analysis, The Iraq War devotes about 40 pages to the forces involved on both sides, nearly 100 to the course of the war, about 370 to "lessons" of various kinds, and about 50 to "the civilian aspects of nation building and the challenge of winning the peace." Numerous explanations of various weapons and communications systems, emerging technologies, and operational concepts provide enormously useful clarifications of technical issues that would otherwise bewilder many readers. There is something here for everyone but all too little from everyone, or at least many, who might have had or will have something of value to contribute to fundamental questions. That, of course, raises the question of sources.

The book has an exceptionally solid foundation in the three kinds of sources most readily available at such an early stage in the war's historiography. Inevitably, Cordesman relies upon the official briefings of the coalition's aggressive public-relations machine, upon the early "documents" manufactured to summarize points that the various governments wished to present, and, to a lesser degree, upon a variety of journalistic accounts. Extensive quotations from official briefings and published statements provide quite a comprehensive version of the US government's view of the course of the war. The notes are very clear guides to the locations of transcripts of briefings and other sources summarized in the text. When technical clarification requires further explanation, the notes refer the reader to articles or books helpful in understanding the basis of the author's discussions. In all these respects, the volume is a model of what can and should be accomplished in such a preliminary study.

Cordesman provides an encyclopedic listing of coalition forces of every kind and of their actions in the course of the campaign to the fall of Baghdad. Iraq had no navy to speak of and an air force incapable of resisting the kind of aerial strength available to the world's wealthiest, most advanced nation and its allies. As Cordesman notes, on the ground several factors acted to nullify Iraq's moderate advantage (largely apparent rather than real) in numbers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Iraq War: Strategy, Tactics, and Military Lessons
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.