Friday, September 5, 2008

Tell Me How This Ends

There's a chance it will be overshadowed by Woodward's new book, but Linda Robinson's Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq deserves a large audience. Based on many in-country interviews with military people from Petraeus on down, it gives a vivid picture of the massive task that was the surge and counterinsurgency strategy. Petraeus comes out looking extremely impressive, and not the gung-ho type he's stereotyped as being ("tell me how this ends" was his worried request early in the war), while improvisation by troops on the front lines was a crucial ingredient in the success.

The too-sectarian Maliki government looks less good in the book, as do the generals and admirals who opposed the surge. The Bush administration gets favorable treatment only insofar as it managed to reverse some of its own mistakes. The politicians who were ready to pull out, damn the consequences, are mentioned only in passing, and will find little comfort in this book.

1 comment:

Jannie "Funster" said...

"After the stryfoam greek columns get hauled back to the studio lot..." How freaking great (and true,) is that!!!!!

A believer.