McLeary On West: Yeah, It’s A Classic
Dave Dilegge isn’t the only one who’s read the forthcoming Bing West book about Iraq and counterinsurgency. TWI friend Paul McLeary emails to say "it probably is a COIN classic," and reveals some unexpected twists the book takes:
He goes pretty easy on Gen. George Casey, (you can tell he was one of the main sources for the book), but absolutely rips Gen. Ricardo Sanchez apart and slaps the Bush administration around quite a bit… but dips his toes into politics a bit too much by painting John McCain as the one politician in Washington who understood how to win the war, but who was ignored. He mentions Obama once, and that’s in his opposition to the war, and he rips on the media for over-reporting Abu Gharib and Haditha. Lame, and unnecessary for what the book as a whole tells us.
I think most importantly, while he doesn’t diminish what Petraeus and Odierno accomplished, he makes it clear that the "surge" wasn’t their idea. It came from the Bush White House: Steve Hadley and Bill Luti and J.D. Crouch, etc. I know that isn’t exactly news, but to the majority of people out there, I think that they think that Petraeus came up with the idea. I gotta say, it does the best job of capturing the COIN fight in Iraq that I’ve seen.
I had forgotten that Yochi Dreazen reported last January that Crouch, then the deputy national security adviser, was a big Surge enthusiast. Luti, a top aide to Dick Cheney, I truly did not know had his hand in the policy. See, this is why West’s people should send me a review copy.