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Publisher's Summary

Informed by unparalleled access to still-secret documents, interviews with top field commanders, and a review of the military's own internal after-action reports, Cobra II is the definitive chronicle of America's invasion and occupation of Iraq, a conflict that could not be lost but one that the United States failed to win decisively. From the Pentagon to the White House to the American command centers in the field, the book reveals the inside story of how the war was actually planned and fought. Drawing on classified United States government intelligence, it also provides a unique account of how Saddam Hussein and his high command developed and prosecuted their war strategy. Written by Michael R. Gordon, the chief military correspondent for The New York Times, who spent the war with the Allied land command, and Bernard E. Trainor, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general and former director of the National Security Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cobra II traces the interactions among the generals, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and President George W. Bush. It dramatically reconstructs the principal battles from interviews with those who fought them, providing reliable accounts of the clashes waged by conventional and Special Operations forces. It documents with precision the failures of American intelligence and the mistakes in administering postwar Iraq.
Unimpeachably sourced, Cobra II describes how the American rush to Baghdad provided the opportunity for the virulent insurgency that followed. The brutal aftermath in Iraq was not inevitable and was a surprise to the generals on both sides; Cobra II provides the first authoritative account as to why. It is an book of enduring importance and incisive analysis, a comprehensive account of the most reported yet least understood war in American history.
©2006 Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"A superb account and analysis of what went right and what went wrong in the Gulf War. All of the inside stories of the people and the policies, the triumphs and the blunders, are here." (Jim Lehrer)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Daniel on 01-14-13

An Excellent History of the Second Iraq War

Would you listen to Cobra II again? Why?

Yes. It is a detailed and unbiased account of the planning and execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom

What was one of the most memorable moments of Cobra II?

It is shocking how far off the mark our military and civilian leadership was on almost every assumption made during pre-invasion planning. For instance, the CIA and DOD believed that Iraqi Army units would capitulate and switch sides. This never happened. Instead, our forces were met with stiff resistance along the entire route to Baghdad.

Have you listened to any of Craig Wasson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I think he did a great job presenting the audio version of the book.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

How Donald Rumsfeld directly injected himself into the operational conduct of the war. This is truly unprecedented for a SECDEF.

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