Cradle of Conflict: Iraq and the Birth of Modern U.S. Military Power

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Naval Institute Press, 2005 - 462 sider
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Unlike other books about the war in Iraq, this study covers both Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom and all the smaller operations in between. The result is a detailed military narrative of America's fifteen-year struggle against Iraq's Baathists between 1990 and 2005. This unique perspective sets the scene for a new and constructive critique of U.S. military power and the asymmetric resistance capabilities of U.S. adversaries at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Threading together the political-military and military-technical aspects of the struggle, Michael Knights traces the evolution of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime and identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the military approaches used by the United States to contain and finally roll back the threat. A recognized authority on U.S. military operations in the Gulf, the author was given insider access to American military and political decision-makers with hands-on experience of operations in Iraq. Drawing on twenty-seven months of interviews and research, he provides information that has never before been released, including the first unclassified accounts of such operations as Desert Strike, Desert Fox, Northern Watch and Southern Watch, and Southern Focus. He argues that Iraq operations can only be effectively analyzed if considered as a continuum. Knights assesses how political objectives become military objectives and how military objectives guide military-technical operations. This thoughtful work is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the factors and actions that limit U.S. military power in practice rather than in theory.

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