[bksvol-discuss] Wish list book

  • From: "jbaugh" <jim.baugh@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bksvol-Discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 11:29:13 -0500

Just submitted Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled 
Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq.

In late 2003, Stanford University professor and democracy expert Larry Diamond 
was personally asked by his former colleague Condoleezza Rice to serve as an 
advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, a position he accepted 
with equal parts "hesitation and conviction." He opposed the initial invasion 
of Iraq, but "supported building the peace," and felt the U.S. had a moral 
imperative to reconstruct Iraq as a democratic and prosperous nation. Before 
going to Iraq he had serious doubts about whether the U.S. could actually do 
this--an opinion that was solidified after spending three months working with 
the CPA. Squandered Victory is his insider's examination of what went wrong in 
Iraq after the initial invasion. Diamond details a long list of preventable 
blunders and missed opportunities, from President Bush's decision to give the 
Pentagon the lead responsibility for the management of postwar Iraq to the 
CPA's inability to work with Iraqi leaders such as Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. 
Diamond expresses admiration for CPA Administrator L. Paul Bremer, whom he 
believes was sincere about wanting to bring democracy to Iraq, yet points out 
that he was wholly unprepared and unrealistic about the task, resulting in "one 
of the major overseas blunders in U.S. history." In his descriptions of 
confrontations with Bremer, Diamond shows him as unwilling to diverge from 
paths that were obviously failing. 

As an academic with an expertise in democracy building, Diamond sometimes seems 
more comfortable with theories than practical solutions, but he did experience 
the process in Iraq from the inside and provides a useful background on the 
various ethnic and religious groups vying for power there. He claims that he 
remains hopeful, but his optimism lies more with the abilities of the Iraqi 
people than with the U.S. government, since the difficult process of 
democratization will likely take much more time and effort than the U.S. can 
afford to spend. 

Long

In late 2003, Stanford University professor and democracy expert Larry Diamond 
was personally asked by his former colleague Condoleezza Rice to serve as an 
advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, a position he accepted 
with equal parts "hesitation and conviction." He opposed the initial invasion 
of Iraq, but "supported building the peace," and felt the U.S. had a moral 
imperative to reconstruct Iraq as a democratic and prosperous nation. Before 
going to Iraq he had serious doubts about whether the U.S. could actually do 
this--an opinion that was solidified after spending three months working with 
the CPA. Squandered Victory is his insider's examination of what went wrong in 
Iraq after the initial invasion. Diamond details a long list of preventable 
blunders and missed opportunities, from President Bush's decision to give the 
Pentagon the lead responsibility for the management of postwar Iraq to the 
CPA's inability to work with Iraqi leaders such as Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. 
Diamond expresses admiration for CPA Administrator L. Paul Bremer, whom he 
believes was sincere about wanting to bring democracy to Iraq, yet points out 
that he was wholly unprepared and unrealistic about the task, resulting in "one 
of the major overseas blunders in U.S. history." In his descriptions of 
confrontations with Bremer, Diamond shows him as unwilling to diverge from 
paths that were obviously failing. 

As an academic with an expertise in democracy building, Diamond sometimes seems 
more comfortable with theories than practical solutions, but he did experience 
the process in Iraq from the inside and provides a useful background on the 
various ethnic and religious groups vying for power there. He claims that he 
remains hopeful, but his optimism lies more with the abilities of the Iraqi 
people than with the U.S. government, since the difficult process of 
democratization will likely take much more time and effort than the U.S. can 
afford to spend. 

 



Jim B


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