Washington insider Michael O’Brien’s new book, America’s Destruction of Iraq, details the origins of the Islamic State’s rise to power now being witnessed on the world’s televisions.
Is the author opinionated? You bet he is. A graduate of West Point and former Infantry officer, Michael O’Brien saw the Iraq War from the inside out—not as a soldier but as a contractor who advised the “new” Iraqi Army and Ministry of Defense on their land, bases and facilities (“new” because Paul Bremer disbanded the old ones, forcing Iraq to start all over again). Before that, he was one of the earliest staff members in the Office of Homeland Security in the Bush White House.
The civilized world is watching Islamic State (IS) thugs beheading, murdering and terrorizing their way across widening stretches of the Middle East. But it all began when the first President Bush allowed Saddam Hussein to remain in power and terrorize his own people—with our knowledge—after the first of America’s Iraq Wars. Then the second President Bush went back, instead of leaving things alone. The world knows what happened after that. Both conflicts were completely and totally mismanaged by the U.S. government, displaying gross “dereliction of duty” on the part of all the senior figures involved.
A political conservative with a homespun pride in the country for which he had been so proud to serve, Michael O’Brien lost faith in his country’s direction during the first Iraq War, led in 1991 by George Bush Senior. Mike saw his disenchantment compounded by the detached ineptitude of George Bush Junior, and now fears for his country’s future under Barack Hussein Obama.
O’Brien has been a political appointee and long-time Washington observer. The levels of bureaucratic ineptness which pass for “government”never cease to surprise and amaze him, nor do the laziness, incompetence and self-serving approaches of career politicians.
But it is the generals for which O’Brien saves his greatest disdain because they should know better. After all, haven’t they spent years studying warfare, from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz, some having even served as junior officers in Vietnam? One would think so. Instead, they’re just “yes men” who go along with whatever nonsense their civilian bosses come up with so they can make four-star general, while their soldiers die on the battlefield.
“The situation in Iraq couldn’t have been planned or executed worse than it was,” he says. “Inept leadership from the President on down through Rumsfeld, Franks, Tenet, Bremer, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Feith, and a host of military advisors led our country to this point half a world away. I didn’t include ‘a host of civilian advisors’ because I wouldn’t expect them to know any better. But senior military advisors should. The entire administration from the President on down thought it would be a pushover without taking the time to find out what they were getting our country into, or what would happen after we got there.”
A media kit, including excerpts, a high res cover image and further detail available here: