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Defeat

Losing Iraq and the Future of the Middle East (Updated)

List Price: $16.95

April 21, 2009 | Paperback | 6.1 x 8.9, 308 pages | ISBN 9781582434797
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While much has been made of the faulty intelligence claim that Saddam had a secret arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that was used to justify the U.S. invasion, in reality the failures of political intelligence were equally serious.

Award-winning reporter Jonathan Steele reveals the disastrous mistake U.S. decision-makers made by not seeing that the post-Saddam vacuum would be filled by Shia Islamists with close ties to a resurgent Iran. They underestimated the complexity of Iraqi society and the deep well of proud nationalism that was bound to produce resistance if the U.S. did not make clear that it intended to withdraw quickly.

Steele shows, for the first time, how the invasion and occupation were perceived by ordinary Iraqis whose feelings and experiences were ignored by Western policymakers. The result of such arrogance, Steele demonstrates, was a failure that will forever resonate among the darkest chapters of American and British history. Blending vivid reportage, informed analysis, and powerful historical narrative Defeat is the definitive anatomy of this horrendous catastrophe.

About Jonathan Steele

Praise
"Critics of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq often begin with the faulty (or deliberately skewed) intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction. Even those politicians who continue to support the venture are willing to criticize the military and political mistakes that followed the initial thrust into Iraq. Steele, a senior correspondent for the Guardian, offers a deeper and more damning indictment. He asserts that the effort was preordained to fail, doomed by the twin sins of ignorance and arrogance. At the core of these sins was the inability of policy makers to comprehend that even the best-intentioned and "benign" occupation of a foreign nation usually means humiliation for the occupied and will trigger eventual resistance. Steele suggests that a rapid overthrow of Hussein followed by a rapid withdrawal of American and British forces could have resulted in a successful, or at least a tolerable, outcome. Instead, the invaders chose to "rebuild" Iraqi institutions, resulting in a prolonged stay. Although some of Steele's criticisms may be unfair, he presents a well-argued work demanding serious consideration."
-- Jay Freeman, "Booklist"

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