Operation Iraqi Freedom: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and Why

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Macmillan, Nov 15, 2003 - History - 304 pages
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No war has ever had the intensive media coverage of the 2003 war in Iraq, and none has ever had such monumental second-guessing. Months before the war began, domestic and international pundits painted a gloomy picture of a new Vietnam or of a nuclear Armageddon that would see Israel reduced to ruins.

The war started with a brilliant series of pre-emptive bangs that shattered Iraqi leadership and seized the most valuable areas of Iraq. How did the US military machine, assumed to have insufficient air power, too few troops, and little momentum take a country the size of California within three weeks?

In the 1991 victory in the Gulf War, the United States lead a much larger coalition force into a heavy air campaign followed by a lightening quick ground campaign. In the years that followed, the United States military experienced a continuing series of reductions in the national defense budget.

What was left unrecorded was the incredible degree of competence with which the US military leadership managed the reduction in resources, balancing force structures against personnel requirements against procurement needs and logistic realities.

Any one considering the great military victory achieved in Iraq must ask the following questions: Who was bright enough to plan to have the weapons systems in the right place at the right time? Who orchestrated this vast complex array of sophisticated military machinery-ships, submarines, missiles, armor, and soldiers-all needing fuel, ammunition and water?

The answer is the much-maligned civil and military leaders of the American defense establishment, working in concert with the most advanced defense-based corporations in the world. While there were those anxious to parade the iniquities of a two-billion dollar bomber, most often failed to appreciated the genius required to conceive of, much less create a system which can use a satellite to send signals to a B-1B to program a precision guided missile to take out a Soviet T-72 tank parked in a mosque-without damaging the mosque! Admittedly, there were lapses in the Iraqi war, such as the looting of museums by members of the Ba'ath party just a day after many had declared Baghdad liberated and the raids on hospitals, another problem that could have easily been remedied by a show of U.S. presence and force. And there were technological complications as well, including the aching misfortune of death by friendly fire. The author deals with these shortcomings in a straightforward manner.

Operation Iraqi Freedom: What Went Right and Why; What Went Wrong and Why gives intimate insight into the way in which the armed services, particularly the United States Air Force, managed to overcome genuine budgetary, political, and military difficulties to create the finest military force in the world, one that operated with the most extreme care to avoid collateral damage and to prevent loss of life.
  

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Operation Iraqi freedom: what went right, what went wrong, and why

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This hastily assembled after-action report illustrates the pitfalls of writing military history before the dust has settled. A big one is that, lacking the necessary time to discern the forest from ... Read full review

Contents

Acknowledgments
9
Preface
17
The Forces Compared
40
Turned Upside Down
68
the Sandy Wind
90
Win the Peace
161
APPENDICES
183
Notes
287
Index
296
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Walter J. Boyne is the former Chairman of the Board of Wingspan, the Air and Space Aviation Channel, and President of his own firm, Walter Boyne Associates. The author of 42 books, he is one of the few persons to have had best sellers on both the fiction and the non-fiction list of the New York Times. His books have been published in nine countries. His Beyond the Wild lue: A History of the United States Air Force was made into a five part television series for the History Channel, and his Clash of Wings: World War II In The Air was made into a thirteen party series for PBS. Boyne hosted and narrated both series.

A career Air Force officer, Boyne retired as a Colonel with 5,000 hours flying time in everything from the T-6 to the B-1B. After his retirement in 1974, he joined the National Air & Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. He became Acting Director in 1981 and Director in 1983. Upon his retirement in 1986, he began a third career of writing and consulting. His fourth career, in television, began seven years ago when he co-founded Wingspan the Aviation Channel, of which he was Chairman of the Board. His consulting clients include aviation, publishing and television companies.

A honor graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a BSBA, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with an MBA. He received an honorary Doctorate of Aeronautical Science from Salem University in West Virginia. He is married to his wife of 50 years, Jeanne; they have four adult children, five paragons of virtue grandchildren, two priceless dogs and two perfect cats.

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