Unexpected WarBook - 2017
In 2014, President Obama overcame his longstanding aversion to large-scale military action in the Middle East, and took the United States to war against the Islamic State. Assembling a coalition of regional and European allies, the US military began a massive bombing campaign, and returned its advisors to Iraq. Three years later, the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate straddling the Syria-Iraq border was apparently on the brink of collapse, as its key strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa fell to US-supported forces. But was the war really over?
In Degrade and Destroy, Michael R. Gordon, the bestselling author and New York Times national security specialist, reveals the debates, diplomacy, and military strategy that have shaped the struggle against the Islamic State. With extraordinary access to the White House, the intelligence community, and top generals, Gordon offers a riveting narrative. We see Hillary Clinton plotting to arm the Syrian rebels over her president's objections; her Pentagon colleagues attempting to plan a war even as Russians, Turks, and Gulf allies complicate or frustrate every move; and Kurdish fighters battling house to house. Gordon also offers the most detailed narrative we have of how President Trump conducts a war - giving his generals greater freedom to make their own decisions while practicing diplomacy in a haphazard and sometimes self-sabotaging manner.
With the region in disarray, Gordon's stark account raises a crucial question: the US and its allies may have won a war -but will they once again lose the peace?