The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008

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Penguin, 2009 - History - 394 pages
27 Reviews

Fiasco, Thomas E. Ricks's #1 New York Times bestseller, transformed the political dialogue on the war in Iraq—The Gamble is the next news breaking installment

Thomas E. Ricks uses hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with top officers in Iraq and extraordinary on-the-ground reportage to document the inside story of the Iraq War since late 2005 as only he can, examining the events that took place as the military was forced to reckon with itself, the surge was launched, and a very different war began.

Since early 2007 a new military order has directed American strategy. Some top U.S. officials now in Iraq actually opposed the 2003 invasion, and almost all are severely critical of how the war was fought from then through 2006. At the core of the story is General David Petraeus, a military intellectual who has gathered around him an unprecedented number of officers with both combat experience and Ph.D.s. Underscoring his new and unorthodox approach, three of his key advisers are quirky foreigners—an Australian infantryman-turned- anthropologist, an antimilitary British woman who is an expert in the Middle East, and a Mennonite-educated Palestinian pacifist.

The Gamble offers news-breaking account, revealing behind-the-scenes disagreements between top commanders. We learn that almost every single officer in the chain of command fought the surge. Many of Petraeus's closest advisers went to Iraq extremely pessimistic, doubting that the surge would have any effect, and his own boss was so skeptical that he dispatched an admiral to Baghdad in the summer of 2007 to come up with a strategy to replace Petraeus's. That same boss later flew to Iraq to try to talk Petraeus out of his planned congressional testimony. The Gamble examines the congressional hearings through the eyes of Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and their views of the questions posed by the 2008 presidential candidates.

For Petraeus, prevailing in Iraq means extending the war. Thomas E. Ricks concludes that the war is likely to last another five to ten years—and that that outcome is a best case scenario. His stunning conclusion, stated in the last line of the book, is that “the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered by us and by the world have not yet happened.”

  

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Review: The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008

User Review  - Brian McMahon - Goodreads

Thomas E. Ricks's 'The Gamble' is a follow up to his 'Fiasco.' Fiasco described the build up to, beginning and prosecution of war in Iraq in 2002 and that book finished with the collapse of the ... Read full review

Review: The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008

User Review  - Jack - Goodreads

Kudos to Ricks for once again writing a masterful account of the now latter half of the American War in Iraq. This book, in sharp contrast to Fiasco, is a portrait of hypercompetence and thoughtful ... Read full review

Contents

THINGS FALL APART Fall 2005
3
HOW TO FIGHT THIS WAR Fall 2005Fall 2006
24
KEANE TAKES COMMAND Fall 2006
74
A STRATEGY IS BORN Winter 20067
106
IF YOURE SO SMART Spring 2007
127
GAMBLING ON A SHITTY HAND
149
THE TWILIGHT ZONE Winter 20078
259
BIG WASTA Spring 2008
273
A Col Devlins Intelligence Assessment
331
B The Orders It Gen Odierno Received in December 2006
337
How Odierno Changed the Mission
343
Gen Petraeus Summarizes How to Operate in Iraq
369
Acknowledgments
383
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Thomas E. Ricks is an adviser on national security at the New America Foundation, where he participates in its “Future of War” project. He was previously a fellow at the Center for a New American Security and is a contributing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, for which he writes the prizewinning blog The Best Defense. Ricks covered the U.S. military for The Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. Until the end of 1999 he had the same beat at The Wall Street Journal, where he was a reporter for seventeen years. A member of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams, he covered U.S. military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is the author of several books, including The Generals, The Gamble, and the number one New York Times bestseller Fiasco, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.


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