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am 8. Oktober 2006
"Fiasco" ist neben "The Assassins' Gate" von George Packer die bislang umfangreichste Darstellung des Irakkrieges. Anders als Packer, der ein breites Panorama des Geschehens zeichnet, in dem neben der politischen Vorgeschichte des Krieges auch literarisch gestaltete Momentaufnahmen aus dem irakischen Alltag ihren Platz haben, und Gespräche mit einer Vielzahl von Irakern aus den unterschiedlichsten Gesellschaftsbereichen sowie amerikanischen Soldaten und Diplomaten die verwirrende Komplexität der Auseinandersetzung einfangen sollen, konzentriert sich Thomas Ricks überwiegend auf die militärischen Vorgänge, die er durchgehend aus amerikanischer Perspektive präsentiert. Dabei erweist sich der Autor als ein intimer Kenner der Materie, dem es gelingt, seine Vertrautheit mit den Strukturen der amerikanischen Armee und der Mentalität ihrer Angehörigen eindrucksvoll spürbar werden zu lassen.

Die ersten hundert Seiten der Arbeit sind den amerikanischen Kriegsvorbereitungen gewidmet. Der Hauptteil von etwa 300 Seiten gilt einer eingehenden Analyse der Anfangsphase der Besatzung zwischen März 2003 und November 2004, während der verbleibende Zeitraum bis zum Sommer 2006 sehr knapp abgehandelt wird. Das Buch schließt mit einem Ausblick auf die künftige Entwicklung des Irak, für die der Autor vier verschiedene Szenarien entwirft.

Die Darstellung der Vorkriegsphase läßt keinen Zweifel daran, daß die am Anfang der Besatzung begangenen Fehler vermeidbar waren. Lange vor Beginn der Kampfhandlungen hatten Experten darauf hingewiesen, daß die Invasionstruppen zwar ausreichten, um die irakische Armee zu zerschlagen, aber nicht, um im Anschluß daran die öffentliche Sicherheit im Lande zu gewährleisten. Einige Institutionen hatten sogar Listen mit den Gebäuden aufgestellt, für die Plünderungsgefahr bestand - und die fast alle später geplündert wurden! Außerdem hatten die Fachleute empfohlen, die Entbaathifizierung der Verwaltung zu unterlassen und mehrstellige Milliardenbeträge für den Wiederaufbau des Landes bereitzustellen.

Die Bush-Regierung wußte es besser. Sie ging fest davon aus, daß die meisten amerikanischen Soldaten schon nach wenigen Monaten den Irak wieder verlassen würden (im September 2003 sollten nur noch 30.000 im Lande sein!), sofort eine funktionierende Demokratie entstünde und die Aufbaukosten mit den Ölexporten des Landes gedeckt werden könnten. Außerdem war sie überzeugt, das irakische Beispiel werde die Demokratisierung und Befriedung der gesamten Region einleiten. So fanden die Verantwortlichen nichts dabei, jeden einzelnen Ratschlag der Experten zu mißachten und auf Vorbereitungen für die Besatzung des Landes weitgehend zu verzichten.

Die Fehler dieser Einschätzung entsprangen, wie Ricks betont, nicht einem Mangel an Sachverstand, sondern selbstverschuldeter Verblendung. Im Geiste ihrer neokonservativen Weltanschauung war die Bush-Mannschaft davon überzeugt, den Irak besser beurteilen zu können als alle Experten. So kam es zu einer Politik, die beispiellos ehrgeizige Ziele mit außerordentlich begrenzten Mitteln verwirklichen wollte.

Zugleich waren die Verantwortlichen unfähig, aus ihren Fehlern zu lernen. Weil nicht eingeräumt werden durfte, daß die ursprüngliche Strategie gescheitert war, konnte keine neue entworfen werden, so daß die Administration schon bald nach Beginn der Besatzung dazu überging, sich in tagtäglicher Improvisation nur noch von Krise zu Krise zu manövrieren, immer in der Hoffnung, die grundlegenden Probleme Iraks (der drohende Bürgerkrieg, die Ineffizienz der Verwaltung, der wirtschaftliche Niedergang) würden sich von selbst lösen.

Wo die Regierung sich dennoch den Tatsachen stellte, begann sie das Gegenteil dessen zu tun, was sie nach außen hin verkündete. Ein Präsident, der es vor seiner Wahl abgelehnt hatte, die amerikanische Armee zur Nationsbildung einzusetzten, befahl ihr nun, sich auf Jahre hinaus nur damit zu beschäftigen. Ein Präsident, der versichert hatte, er werde sich nicht in taktische Entscheidungen einmischen, verschob die Rückeroberung Falludschas, um seine Wiederwahl nicht zu gefährden. Ein Präsident, der einen starken irakischen Staat gefordert hatte, unternahm nie ernsthafte Schritte zur Auflösung der Milizen.

Unterdessen waren die Streitkräfte gezwungen, sich aus eigenem Antrieb an die Verhältnisse des Landes anzupassen. Mühsam und verlustreich mußten sie die Lektionen des Vietnamkrieges, die sie inzwischen völlig verdrängt hatten, ein zweites Mal lernen. Es dürfte kaum ein eindrucksvolleres Beispiel für die Wendung geben, daß derjenige, der seine Geschichte nicht kennt, dazu verurteilt ist, sie zu wiederholen.

Wie die Armee sich dieser Herausforderung stellte, wie ihre Soldaten die Gedankenlosigkeit der Führung mit ihrem Leben und ihren Gliedmaßen bezahlten, wie einige Offiziere sich durch Lernfähigkeit und Flexibilität auszeichneten (Die Generalmajore Petraeus und Mattis, Oberst McMaster), während andere auf rohe Gewalt setzten (Generalmajor Odierno), wie gerade die Hauptverantwortlichen (die Generale Franks und Sanchez) ein besonderes Maß an Unfähigkeit an den Tag legten und dennoch ausgezeichnet wurden, wie die Streitkräfte in einem dreijährigen Anpassungsprozeß dahin gelangten, den Erfordernissen der Guerillakriegführung zumindest einigermaßen Rechnung zu tragen, - all dies wird in dem Buch ebenso anschaulich wie packend erzählt.

Trotz des relativen Lerneffektes bleibt Ricks skeptisch. Es müsse damit gerechnet werden, so befürchtet er, daß die unternommenen Anstrengungen einfach zu gering waren und zu spät erfolgten. Ergänzt man diese düstere Perspektive noch um die ethnische Zersplitterung des Irak, den beginnenden Bügerkrieg sowie die Ineffizienz und Korruption der Regierung, wird eine amerikanische Niederlage fast zur Gewißheit.

Wenn das Buch am Ende viele Themen (vor allem die irakische Sicht des Krieges) unbehandelt und viele Fragen (vor allem die, ob eine Demokratisierung des Landes und die Beibehaltung seiner staaatlichen Einheit überhaupt möglich waren) unbeantwortet läßt, hat dies mehr mit der zeitlichen Nähe der Ereignisse und der Begrenztheit des verfügbaren Materials zu tun als einem Versäumnis des Autors. Für die militärischen Aspekte des Irakkrieges dürfte es trotz dieser Lücken in nächster Zeit keine bessere Informationsquelle geben.
0Kommentar| 6 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
Surely, you remember all of those Weapons of Mass Destruction that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Powell, Secretary Rumsfeld, and The New York Times assured us were being hidden in Iraq. If you have a short memory about what we were told, Fiasco will remind you what came out of those horses' mouths in 2002 and 2003.

If you think back even further, you may also recall an attack on the United States in New York and Washington D.C. that led to about 3,000 deaths caused by an outfit called al-Qaeda headed by a fellow named Osama bin Laden. We haven't found that fellow yet, and we've invaded at least two countries to locate him. He doesn't seem to be in Iraq, either. Fiasco points out that there never was an Iraqi connection to that group of terrorists, but in the aftermath of our invasion Iraq has become the headquarters and training ground for the most active and effective terrorists in the world. Maybe we'll eventually lure bin Laden there.

So why read this book? Well, Mr. Ricks does a superb job of tracking down all of the planning, training and preparation for the post-invasion period that did not occur. As a result, it seems like the United States made virtually every major mistake possible in turning a liberation into a heavy-handed, insensitive occupation that turned the majority of the Iraqi people into opponents of the United States from being favorably disposed. As early as five months after Saddam Hussein was captured, 55% of Iraqis felt that it was more dangerous having American troops in Iraq than to have them all leave immediately.

If you are like me, you'll be disgusted, appalled and ashamed at the travesty of how the United States mismanaged the reconstruction of Iraq. Who is at fault? Well, it's hard to find people who aren't at fault. Feel free to list the usual Republican and Pentagon leaders, but add those in Congress who backed off from providing civilian oversight.

Can you imagine that serious counter-insurgency planning only began in August 2004? And we lost ground in 2005 on that front.

So where are we now? Apparently, we're worse off than if we had stayed home in 2003. The book ends with several scenarios of what might happen next, all of which are even more unpleasant than the reality we have today. Tens of thousands more will die, including thousands of Americans. Power will shift into less friendly hands. More terrorists will be trained. Our supply of oil will be less secure. Gasoline will hit $9.00 a gallon in one scenario.

The book also upholds the honor of the ordinary soldiers and Marines who have done tough duty, far beyond what could have been expected of them . . . without the proper training, support, leadership resources.

My sense from this book is that a sequel will be written ten years from now called Quagmire.

Why did I grade the book down? Despite doing a fine job of tracking down the untold parts of the story, I found that Mr. Ricks loves to editorialize a little too much before he proves his point. Here's an example in the first sentence of the book: "President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 ultimately may come to be seen as one of the most profligate actions in the history of American foreign policy."

So what are the lessons for us as U.S. citizens? It looks like we should be sure that no one (of either political party) ever gets enough power to head off on such ego trips again. Gridlock looks pretty good as our primary option for getting the government back under control.
0Kommentar| 6 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
Surely, you remember all of those Weapons of Mass Destruction that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Powell, Secretary Rumsfeld, and The New York Times assured us were being hidden in Iraq. If you have a short memory about what we were told, Fiasco will remind you what came out of those horses' mouths in 2002 and 2003.

If you think back even further, you may also recall an attack on the United States in New York and Washington D.C. that led to about 3,000 deaths caused by an outfit called al-Qaeda headed by a fellow named Osama bin Laden. We haven't found that fellow yet, and we've invaded at least two countries to locate him. He doesn't seem to be in Iraq, either. Fiasco points out that there never was an Iraqi connection to that group of terrorists, but in the aftermath of our invasion Iraq has become the headquarters and training ground for the most active and effective terrorists in the world. Maybe we'll eventually lure bin Laden there.

So why read this book? Well, Mr. Ricks does a superb job of tracking down all of the planning, training and preparation for the post-invasion period that did not occur. As a result, it seems like the United States made virtually every major mistake possible in turning a liberation into a heavy-handed, insensitive occupation that turned the majority of the Iraqi people into opponents of the United States from being favorably disposed. As early as five months after Saddam Hussein was captured, 55% of Iraqis felt that it was more dangerous having American troops in Iraq than to have them all leave immediately.

If you are like me, you'll be disgusted, appalled and ashamed at the travesty of how the United States mismanaged the reconstruction of Iraq. Who is at fault? Well, it's hard to find people who aren't at fault. Feel free to list the usual Republican and Pentagon leaders, but add those in Congress who backed off from providing civilian oversight.

Can you imagine that serious counter-insurgency planning only began in August 2004? And we lost ground in 2005 on that front.

So where are we now? Apparently, we're worse off than if we had stayed home in 2003. The book ends with several scenarios of what might happen next, all of which are even more unpleasant than the reality we have today. Tens of thousands more will die, including thousands of Americans. Power will shift into less friendly hands. More terrorists will be trained. Our supply of oil will be less secure. Gasoline will hit $9.00 a gallon in one scenario.

The book also upholds the honor of the ordinary soldiers and Marines who have done tough duty, far beyond what could have been expected of them . . . without the proper training, support, leadership resources.

My sense from this book is that a sequel will be written ten years from now called Quagmire.

Why did I grade the book down? Despite doing a fine job of tracking down the untold parts of the story, I found that Mr. Ricks loves to editorialize a little too much before he proves his point. Here's an example in the first sentence of the book: "President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 ultimately may come to be seen as one of the most profligate actions in the history of American foreign policy."

So what are the lessons for us as U.S. citizens? It looks like we should be sure that no one (of either political party) ever gets enough power to head off on such ego trips again. Gridlock looks pretty good as our primary option for getting the government back under control.
0Kommentar|War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
Surely, you remember all of those Weapons of Mass Destruction that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Powell, Secretary Rumsfeld, and The New York Times assured us were being hidden in Iraq. If you have a short memory about what we were told, Fiasco will remind you what came out of those horses' mouths in 2002 and 2003.

If you think back even further, you may also recall an attack on the United States in New York and Washington D.C. that led to about 3,000 deaths caused by an outfit called al-Qaeda headed by a fellow named Osama bin Laden. We haven't found that fellow yet, and we've invaded at least two countries to locate him. He doesn't seem to be in Iraq, either. Fiasco points out that there never was an Iraqi connection to that group of terrorists, but in the aftermath of our invasion Iraq has become the headquarters and training ground for the most active and effective terrorists in the world. Maybe we'll eventually lure bin Laden there.

So why read this book? Well, Mr. Ricks does a superb job of tracking down all of the planning, training and preparation for the post-invasion period that did not occur. As a result, it seems like the United States made virtually every major mistake possible in turning a liberation into a heavy-handed, insensitive occupation that turned the majority of the Iraqi people into opponents of the United States from being favorably disposed. As early as five months after Saddam Hussein was captured, 55% of Iraqis felt that it was more dangerous having American troops in Iraq than to have them all leave immediately.

If you are like me, you'll be disgusted, appalled and ashamed at the travesty of how the United States mismanaged the reconstruction of Iraq. Who is at fault? Well, it's hard to find people who aren't at fault. Feel free to list the usual Republican and Pentagon leaders, but add those in Congress who backed off from providing civilian oversight.

Can you imagine that serious counter-insurgency planning only began in August 2004? And we lost ground in 2005 on that front.

So where are we now? Apparently, we're worse off than if we had stayed home in 2003. The book ends with several scenarios of what might happen next, all of which are even more unpleasant than the reality we have today. Tens of thousands more will die, including thousands of Americans. Power will shift into less friendly hands. More terrorists will be trained. Our supply of oil will be less secure. Gasoline will hit $9.00 a gallon in one scenario.

The book also upholds the honor of the ordinary soldiers and Marines who have done tough duty, far beyond what could have been expected of them . . . without the proper training, support, leadership and resources.

My sense from this book is that a sequel will be written ten years from now called Quagmire.

Why did I grade the book down? Despite doing a fine job of tracking down the untold parts of the story, I found that Mr. Ricks loves to editorialize a little too much before he proves his point. Here's an example in the first sentence of the book: "President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 ultimately may come to be seen as one of the most profligate actions in the history of American foreign policy."

So what are the lessons for us as citizens? It looks like we should be sure that no one (of either political party) ever gets enough power to head off on such ego trips again. Gridlock looks pretty good as our primary option for getting the government back under control.
0Kommentar|War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
Surely, you remember all of those Weapons of Mass Destruction that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Powell, Secretary Rumsfeld, and The New York Times assured us were being hidden in Iraq. If you have a short memory about what we were told, Fiasco will remind you what came out of those horses' mouths in 2002 and 2003.

If you think back even further, you may also recall an attack on the United States in New York and Washington D.C. that led to about 3,000 deaths caused by an outfit called al-Qaeda headed by a fellow named Osama bin Laden. We haven't found that fellow yet, and we've invaded at least two countries to locate him. He doesn't seem to be in Iraq, either. Fiasco points out that there never was an Iraqi connection to that group of terrorists, but in the aftermath of our invasion Iraq has become the headquarters and training ground for the most active and effective terrorists in the world. Maybe we'll eventually lure bin Laden there.

So why read this book? Well, Mr. Ricks does a superb job of tracking down all of the planning, training and preparation for the post-invasion period that did not occur. As a result, it seems like the United States made virtually every major mistake possible in turning a liberation into a heavy-handed, insensitive occupation that turned the majority of the Iraqi people into opponents of the United States from being favorably disposed. As early as five months after Saddam Hussein was captured, 55% of Iraqis felt that it was more dangerous having American troops in Iraq than to have them all leave immediately.

If you are like me, you'll be disgusted, appalled and ashamed at the travesty of how the United States mismanaged the reconstruction of Iraq. Who is at fault? Well, it's hard to find people who aren't at fault. Feel free to list the usual Republican and Pentagon leaders, but add those in Congress who backed off from providing civilian oversight.

Can you imagine that serious counter-insurgency planning only began in August 2004? And we lost ground in 2005 on that front.

So where are we now? Apparently, we're worse off than if we had stayed home in 2003. The book ends with several scenarios of what might happen next, all of which are even more unpleasant than the reality we have today. Tens of thousands more will die, including thousands of Americans. Power will shift into less friendly hands. More terrorists will be trained. Our supply of oil will be less secure. Gasoline will hit $9.00 a gallon in one scenario.

The book also upholds the honor of the ordinary soldiers and Marines who have done tough duty, far beyond what could have been expected of them . . . without the proper training, support, leadership resources.

My sense from this book is that a sequel will be written ten years from now called Quagmire.

Why did I grade the book down? Despite doing a fine job of tracking down the untold parts of the story, I found that Mr. Ricks loves to editorialize a little too much before he proves his point. Here's an example in the first sentence of the book: "President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 ultimately may come to be seen as one of the most profligate actions in the history of American foreign policy."

So what are the lessons for us as U.S. citizens? It looks like we should be sure that no one (of either political party) ever gets enough power to head off on such ego trips again. Gridlock looks pretty good as our primary option for getting the government back under control.
0Kommentar|War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 11. Juli 2009
Das Buch liefert neben einer Beschreibung der Ereignisse v.a. einen sehr guten Überblick über die Zusammenhänge in der Politik und die Wechselwirkungen zwischen politischer und oberster militärischer Führung, die letztlich zur Invasion des Irak und zum Scheitern der geplanten Operation geführt haben.
Auch wenn kein Zweifel bestehen darf, dass Militär immer unter politischer Kontrolle stehen muss, gibt dieses Buch doch einen Einblick über die Gefahren, die von einer durch falsche Informationen und Überzeugungen oder durch persönliche Interessen geleiteten Politik ausgehen.
0Kommentar|War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 16. April 2009
A interesting take on a controversial subject and the future worldwide role the USA will play.
0Kommentar|War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden

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