The Iraqi Perspectives Report
by Kevin M.Woods
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD
ISBN: 1-59114-457-4

And you think visiting your local department of motor vehicles is a nightmare.

Imagine that everyone at the DMV lied — not just to you, but to each other and most especially to their supervisors — because telling the truth would likely get them killed, slowly and painfully. Body parts would be hand-delivered to surviving family members, if any.

That was everyday life in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The Iraqi Perspectives Report, a short, pointed and eye-opening book, was produced by the United States Joint Forces Command in the spirit of lessons learned following the defeat of the Ba’athist government of Iraq in April 2003. It is based on extensive interviews with Iraqis at all levels. It includes an explanation of the major sources of information, including people and primary documents. The research methodology is described. Limitations of its findings are pointed out.

The biggest lesson learned, from my own perspective, is just how differently events were seen by Iraqis, from before the first Gulf War right through the collapse of the Saddam regime in the face of the combined air and ground assault by Coalition forces.

After reading this book, you’ll understand the strategic mission of each of the four Saddam-era Iraqi military organizations — the Iraqi Army, the Republican Guard, the al-Quds Army and the Fedayeen Saddam — and why that strategic mission rendered the military so ineffective in defending Baghdad against Coalition forces.

You’ll understand just how startlingly effective the precision Coalition strikes were against infrastructure, equipment and military personnel — and how a single such precision strike could destroy the military effectiveness of an entire Iraqi division.

You’ll understand who believed the reports of “Baghdad Bob” (Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf) as he claimed brilliant Iraqi victories even as Coalition forces rumbled into the Iraqi capital city, the almost incredible reason why — and how that reason reaches forward to complicate rebuilding Iraq.

And you’ll come away wondering just how many of these lessons learned in Iraq can be applied, carefully and judiciously, to neighboring countries such as Syria and Iran.

Every elected official at the federal level should read this book.

Highly recommended reading for every voter prior to next year’s congressional and presidential elections.

[cehwiedel also writes at]

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