Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander’s War

In 2008, Peter R. Mansoor penned the novel. Author's birthdate is February 18, 1960. Mansoor earned his bachelor's degree from the US Military Academy, where he placed first in his class. He then attended the Ohio State University, where he earned his master's degree in 1992, and his doctorate there in 1995. He earned his M.S.S. in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College in 2003. The author is the General Raymond Mason Chair of Military History at Ohio State University and presently resides in Colombus, Ohio. He is also a retired army colonel and was the executive officer to Commanding General David H. Petracus of the Multi-National Force Iraq from 2007 to 2008. Mansoor was also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Emergency Group that came up with the surge project in Iraq in 2006. He was also the Commander of the First Brigade Combat Team and the First Armored Division in Baghdad from 2003 to 2004. Apart from this, the author was also a top founding executive of the USA Marine/ Army Corps Counterinsurgency Center in 2006. In the book, Mansoor described the events that took place during his first year in Iraq when American troops seized Baghdad in spring 2003; he explained what did and did not go according to plan during the military operation.

In the book, Mansoor uses numerous sources to describe the political, cultural and the military aspects of a military operation carried out with very little preparation. The operation gauged the misjudgments and mistakes of the soldiers every day. His critiques are unbiased, merciless and perceptive. Mansoor criticizes the neglect of the counterinsurgency by the armed forces of the post-Vietnam situation; he makes a concrete point that the military troops should collaborate with civilian experts to help in the rehabilitation of the counterinsurgency. The author emphasizes the importance of coping with the effects of friction and fog on war. He also adds that an easy solution to these impacts does not exist (Rubin 200).

He also criticizes the non-warfare details in Iraq; he explains how the Iraqi soldiers always had the funds for their operations. Iraqi commanders had the money to facilitate humanitarian activities and reconstruction projects therefor they gained a lot of favor among the people. In contrast, the US military received way less funds for their operations. They only received millions of dollars while multinational companies such as Halliburton that carried oversaw big, long-term projects. The author also expresses his dislike for a few individuals such as Ambassador Paul Bremer, the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld and Donald’s deputy, Paul Wolfowitz. Mansoor said that the US Army culture should change. Otherwise, it would not be ready to fight wars successfully in the 21st century. The offensive actions to capture or kill the enemy should be supported with stability and defensive operations to protect civilians, hold territory, reconstruct the infrastructure, political institutions, and the economies. The author suggests that the US military only focuses on war but pays limited attention to the effects of war such as destruction of buildings, a weak economy and psychological trauma to the civilian population; for this reason, American troops are not popular among the local communities in war zones. As much as they fight off terrorists, the social and economic effects of the war are diverse and hard to recover from. Mansoor also added that a densely populated country such as Iraq requires at least 500,000 soldiers to maintain security; he also added that the host country should provide the troops.

The contents of the book are the events that took place in Iraq during the author’s military service in the country. Mansoor describes his experiences and the political factors that influence the outcome of the war. He describes the fire exchange when the US troops encounter the insurgents and also points out the weaknesses of the US Military (Theo Lippman).

The book is readable and well organized. Mansoor starts the narrative at Adhamiya on April 2004 one week after the onset of the insurgency; this was the toughest location in Baghdad that was inhabited by Sunni Muslims. He then proceeds to describe the fire exchange between the US troops and the insurgency with precision. The author also condemns the management of the soldiers during his first year in Iraq and criticizes Paul Bremer’s decision to dissolve the army formally. He also criticizes the lack of training of some personnel (mechanics and cooks) and the fact that the military did not establish their presence in areas where the insurgents were driven away, hence allowing them to come back. Towards the end of the book, Mansoor requests the US to learn the operational, strategic, doctrinal and tactical lessons of the war in Iraq and utilize them currently and in the future (Mansoor 364-370).

I would recommend the book for professional personnel, academic scholars and any other interested party. The book is a precise definition of the activities that take place during the war; it is a better choice than other publications regarding the subject because it is from personal experience. The author also uses a diction that is simple to understand.

Works Cited

Mansoor, Peter R. "Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq." Yale University Press, 2008. 360-370.

Rubin, Michael. "Review of Baghdad at Sunrise." Middle East Quarterly (2009): 200.

Theo Lippman, J.R. "A West Pointer's diary of his year in Baghdad." The Christian Science (2008): 50-62.

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