Surging and Awakening
May 20, 2009
The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 By Thomas E. Ricks (Penguin Press, 394 pp., $27.95) I. FROM CENTRALITY TO banality: perhaps no other event in modern American history has gone from being contentious to being forgotten as quickly as the war in Iraq. Remember the war? It consumed a trillion American dollars, devoured a hundred thousand Iraqi lives, squandered a country’s reputation, and destroyed an American presidency.
July 10, 2006
At dawn, the sky over Baghdad turns red for a few minutes before sunlight breaks through the dust. Combat engineers have been clearing IEDs from the streets of Amiriyah since 3 a.m., but the 500 American soldiers about to descend on the western Baghdad neighborhood wait for the sun. Just as it rises, Apache helicopter gunships arrive overhead, and, in the blinding light above them, two F-15 attack aircraft begin circling in a wide arc. The radio chatter quickens as the Bradley Fighting Vehicles on the ground and the aviation units above check in with one another.
March 22, 2004
WHEN FIVE SHIA members of the Iraqi Governing Council dramatically (if temporarily) refused to sign the provisional Iraqi constitution last week, a senior American official dutifully told The Washington Post they walkout was no big deal. After all, the objections raised by the five council members had nothing to do with the laboriously negotiated provisions for individual rights enshrined in the provisional constitution, technically known as the Transitional Administrative Law.