I found this audiobook to be engrossing, so much so that I finished it in a couple of days. The book traces events from the lead-up to war to where we are now -- with the U.S. military unable to quell a raging insurgency and civil war in Iraq.
The author, Thomas Ricks is particular about his choice of words, including the word "adventure" in the subtitle, which he uses "in the critical sense of the word". He gives credit where credit is due, almost to a surprising degree, but he also is not afraid to lay blame at the feet of those who were inadequate to the task. He backs up his judgements with historical context, quotes and recollections of military servicemen and women, and with references to military doctrine. I enjoyed the richly detailed accounts of the personalities involved, ranging from the dysfunctional and incompetent to the talented and extremely bright.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is familiar with events in Iraq, but would like a framework for understanding how those events brought us to where we are today. To (grossly) summarize the book -- The U.S. invaded Iraq with no postwar plan and without enough troops to properly occupy the country, and employed an occupation "strategy" which was in contravention of established counterterrorism principles and played right into the hands of Iraqi insurgents. The military eventually changed strategy, but apparently too late to prevent a civil war.
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