From Storm to Freedom: America's Long War With Iraq.

Author:Koontz, Christopher
Position:Book review

From Storm to Freedom: America's Long War With Iraq. By John R. Ballard. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2010. Maps. Photographs. Notes. Glossary. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xxvii, 321. $37.95. ISBN: 978-1-59114-018-4

This book provides a useful perspective from which to view the recent war in Iraq. Rather than treating the 2003 invasion and subsequent counterinsurgency campaign as a distinct conflict, the author (Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs and Professor of Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, and a former instructor at the National War, Naval War, and Joint Forces Staff Colleges) instead portrays it as the last segment of a prolonged and continuous state of hostility between the U.S. and Iraq. This war began with the eviction of Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait in 1991 and did not end until the U.S. withdrew its forces from a democratic Iraq in 2010. The primary cause of this conflict was the adventurism of Saddam's foreign policy, which endangered neighboring states and U.S. interests in the region. Ballard maintains that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 fundamentally changed U.S. strategy toward Iraq. Faced with uncertainty, and weary of the festering conflict, the Bush Administration decided to end it by using military force to depose the Iraqi dictatorship.

Ballard devotes the first half of the book to the events between 1991 and 2003 and the second half to the invasion of Iraq by U.S. and Coalition forces and the disastrous occupation that followed. He skillfully discusses the role of air power in the planning and execution of Operation Desert Storm and the subsequent American attempts to enforce UN sanctions and resolutions against Iraq and to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime. His narrative, however, becomes steadily focused upon operations on the ground after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. Readers of this journal might welcome more information and discussion about the appropriate use and role of air power...

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