Cobra II is a comprehensive and elaborately detailed account of the planning, execution and aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Describing in detail meetings, teleconferences and phone calls between CENTCOM, The Pentagon and the White House, this book tells the story of how Donald Rumsfeld’s vision of a new type of warfare leads the war into the quagmire it is in today. The book is written from a military historians perspective and is replete with stories of soldiers bravado and courage. It is filled with interesting sources such as details about initial war planning meetings that were held in a trailer in the CENTCOM parking lot. The book explains the Bush Administration’s false expectations that there would be no need to engage in complex nation building and an extended conflict. After the invasion the Iraqi police, military and bureaucracy would remain intact. These false assumptions, based on bad intelligence, are the reason for the current situation in Iraq, according to the book. The narrator is clear and not dull but often adds a macho emphasis especially when describing weapons and attacks. This audio book is well worth the price.
This is a great introduction to the US debt problem. It reveals where the US debt came from, how big it is and why it is such a difficult problem to solve. In this short book Wessel paints a fairly clear picture of what America is spending its money on. He shows how entitlements such as social security and medicare as well as the military contribute greatly to the debt problem. He shows that the only way to solve the problem is to both significantly reduce spending and increase taxes broadly. Small changes, however, such as raising the eligibility age of social security or increasing taxes only on the rich can not resolve the issue. Without large substantive changes, the debt problem will only continue to get worse.
The book lacks a discussion of what would happen eventually if nothing is done. Instead it focuses on the current stalemate between the republicans and the democrats. He shows how the plans of those on the right, such as Paul Ryan, differ from those on the left, such as President Obama.
All together this is a very good introduction at explaining what the debt problem is. But if you already know some of what it is, maybe you would be more interested in a book that examines the consequences of not fixing it, such as "Endgame: The End of The Debt Supercycle And How It Changes Everything" by John Mauldin
Even though this book is about as gripping as watching C-Span, I still rank it as one of my favorite reads because of how much it reveals not only about Washington politics, but the true depth of the US debt crisis. I have been reading other books such as The Real Crash by Peter Schiff and Endgame by John Mauldin that have been panned as being too alarmist and radical for suggesting the possibility of future weakness is the US government bond market. Bob Woodward's account reveals that by the end of the debt ceiling debate in 2011, Timothy Geithner was warning that we were literally hours away from a market panic, followed by the failure of a US bond auction that would set off a worldwide financial meltdown and a depression that would be worse than in the 1930's and the effect would resonate for generations. The deal that finally averted this disaster resolved nothing and simply kicked the can down the road until after the election. Round two is known as the fiscal cliff.