Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Book Review: Baghdad at Sunrise by Peter Mansoor

Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq (Yale Library of Military History)Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq by Peter R. Mansoor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the memoir of a field-grade officer's tour in Iraq as a Armored brigade commander in 2006. It covers a period where U.S. military doctrine was being debated and changed from active denial that the U.S. was facing an insurgency to fully engaged in counter-insurgency. In particular, as a brigade commander Mansoor was exposed to both decisions from higher up as well as the reality on the ground.

Mansoor demonstrates the capabilities of those in the military. As some recognize (esp. Col Gian Gentile USA), as a practical matter, many in the U.S. military were very aware of tenets of low-intensity warfare from experience in the Balkans, Africa, northern Iraq and around SW Asia and SE Asia. And regardless of what their political masters may say, many have learned that these have to be dealt with, and the U.S. has experience and doctrine to do so, if it is followed.

So the book becomes a memoir of what he faced, how he dealt with the Iraqi people he was there to protect as well as the insurgency he was fighting. And how he handled both as well as the political and military senior leadership of the time (who did not have on-the-ground experience in these same areas). I found it to be candid, and worth reading the thoughts of those who attempted to carry out their countries missions in the unknown of war.

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