As the title, “Fiasco” suggests, Thomas E. Ricks views the American war in Iraq as a misguided exercise in folly and incompetence. His book provides a detailed and comprehensive critique for anyone interested in understanding how the United States came to go to war in Iraq, how an insurgency emerged, and how these events will affect the future of the United States. Ricks will discuss his findings and respond to questions from the audience.
Co-sponsored by International Business & Management and Political Science
Issue in Context
As of February 19, 2007, the official U.S. death toll in Iraq was 3,133, more than ten times the fatal casualties of all other coalition countries combined. The U.S. has invested about $500 billion in the Iraq war, but several audits over the last couple of years have revealed incomplete or unreliable documentation on the spending of several billions of dollars. A recent Washington Post article revealed that nearly 100 million dollars in cash intended for rebuilding projects in south-central Iraq cannot even be accounted for.
Three years ago, it was politically imprudent for Americans to speak out against the Iraq war. Today, presidential candidates are virtually dismissed by the media unless they can produce some evidence of opposition to the management of the war. According to a recent CBS News Poll, 84% percent of voters feel that a candidateâ€™s stance on the Iraq war will play a significant role in the 2008 presidential elections and, according to a Pew Research Poll, nearly 50% of Americans think that the war in Iraq has hurt the war on terrorism.
Trying to avoid parallels to the Vietnam conflict, the administration has rejected all attempts to dub the U.S. situation in Iraq a “quagmire.” And now, it seems the public has agreed that Iraq is not Vietnam – it is a disaster deserving its own tagline: FIASCO.
About the Speaker
Thomas Ricks has covered the U.S. military for The Washington Post since 2000. He also covered military affairs during his seventeen years at The Wall Street Journal.
The author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, a #1 New York Times bestseller, Ricks also wrote Making the Corps, which won the Washington Monthly’s Political Book of the Year Award. His first work of fiction, A Soldier’s Duty, about the U.S. military intervening in Afghanistan, was published by Random House in June 2001â€”some four months before the U.S. actually began major military operations there.
A well-traveled reporter, Ricks has written on U.S. military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq. His major articles have examined the changed nature of peacekeeping (1992), the passage of one recruit platoon through Marine boot camp (1995), the cultural battle at West Point’s leadership department (1997), the U.S. military’s new emphasis on operating in Asia (2000), target clearance problems in the Afghan war (2001), the discrepancy between how a US patrol in Baghdad saw itself and how Iraqis saw it (2003), and the growing strain on military families and the U.S. National Guard (2004).
Ricks was part of a Wall Street Journal team that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2000 for a series of articles on how the U.S. military might change to meet the new demands of the 21st century. Ricks was also part of a Washington Post team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for reporting about the beginning of the U.S. counteroffensive against terrorism.
A book signing will follow immediately after the event. Books will be available to purchase for $20.95.
Books authored by Thomas E. Ricks are available at the Waidner-Spahr Library.
“Continuing the Conversation”
Come to The Clarke Forum’s first student led follow-up discussion
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
12:00 p.m. – The Clarke Forum, 249 W. Louther Street.