Now that Tom Ricks, the best military reporter in the country, has published the second volume of his politico-military history of Iraq, The Gamble, my temptation is going to be to blog nearly every word of it. My copy is still on its way from the publisher, so I’m reading the excerpts in the Post along with everyone else, and really, I’d just commend doing the same until you can grab a copy of the book and read it.
Pretty much everyone in military-journalistic and counterinsurgency circles has been waiting for this book for two years. In its predecessor, Fiasco, Ricks’ heroes were Gen. David Petraeus and the military dissenters who saw the Iraq war as incoherent and astrategic. In 2007 I saw copies of it on officers’ bookshelves in Baghdad and Mosul. In the current volume, Ricks’ old heroes now run the show — as does one of Fiasco’s villains, Gen. Ray Odierno, now the commander of U.S. troops in Iraq. The joke was whether Ricks’ title would be either Un-Fiasco or Clusterfuck. But Ricks is too good and subtle and insightful a reporter to write a one-dimensional book, and I’ve been waiting for this one for years, so unless there’s something I really can’t resist blogging, I’m going to wait until I finish The Gamble before blogging about it.