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‘The Unraveling’: Succeeding in Iraq — and then a few years later watching it fall apart

More from Emma Sky’s new book, which comes out this month.


http://Screen%20Shot%202015-04-01%20at%2010.36.21%20AM More from Emma Sky’s new book, which comes out this month. Anyone interested in an inside account of the American war in Iraq should read it. Sky, who was a political advisor to top American generals, provides a good overview of political events. One sad comment of hers: “For so many Iraqis, democracy has become synonymous with chaos and violence.”

She also offers up many tart observations and insights about people. Some of the fun ones:

—On Gen. David Petraeus: “It was this aspect of Petraeus that irked his peers the most: he always had to know more than anyone else.”

—When she met Tony Blair in Baghdad, he asked her why a British woman was advising the American military. She shrugged and said, “Stockholm syndrome.”

—On watching Donald Rumsfeld being briefed: “He turned the map of Kirkuk and northern Iraq and asked, ‘Where is Iran?’ I had hoped he knew that sort of thing.”

(Tom: Maybe he just wanted it marked on the map? I hope.)


Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at

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