Previous Work

Cobra II

Informed by unparalleled access to still–secret documents, interviews with top field commanders, and a review of the military’s own internal after–action reports, Cobra II is the definitive chronicle of America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq—a conflict that could not be lost but one that the United States failed to win decisively. From the Pentagon to the White House to the American command centers in the field, the book reveals the inside story of how the war was actually planned and fought. Drawing on classified United States government intelligence, it also provides a unique account of how Saddam Hussein and his high command developed and prosecuted their war strategy.

Cobra II traces the interactions among the generals, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and President George W. Bush. It dramatically reconstructs the principal battles from interviews with those who fought them, providing reliable accounts of the clashes waged by conventional and Special Operations forces. It documents with precision the failures of American intelligence and the mistakes in administering postwar Iraq.  Unimpeachably sourced, Cobra II describes how the American rush to Baghdad provided the opportunity for the virulent insurgency that followed. The brutal aftermath in Iraq was not inevitable and was a surprise to the generals on both sides; Cobra II provides the first authoritative account as to why. It is a book of enduring importance and incisive analysis—a comprehensive account of the most reported yet least understood war in American history.

The Generals’ War

Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor provide a definitive, behind-the-scenes account and analysis of the planning and execution of the Gulf War.  While one war was being waged against Iraq, another was being fought among the generals themselves.  The Generals’ War offers unvarnished portraits of the top military commanders, challenges the performances of Powell, Schwarzkopf, and their generals, and provides disturbing information about the power struggles within the American high command.  Using previously undisclosed military documents, The Generals’ War goes beyond what happened to explain why and how, exploding myths that have crept into other accounts of the war.

Other Writing

The Former-Insurgent Counterinsurgency,” 2007 feature article for the New York Times Magazine on the Anbar Awakening.

The Last-War Syndrome:  How the United States and Iraq Learned the Wrong Lessons from Desert Storm,” chapter for a forthcoming collection of writing about Iraq published by Oxford University Press.