Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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The Invasion and Occupation of Iraq: Conversation with Michael R. Gordon, Military Correspondent of The New York Times, March 21, 2006, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Michael Gordon, who is the chief military correspondent of the New York Times, where he has worked since 1985. book coverHe has covered the Iraq war, the American interventions in Afghanistan, the Kosovo conflict, the Russian war in Chechnya, and the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and the American invasion of Panama. With General Bernard E. Trainor, he has just written Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq.

  1. Background ... father's UN work ... journalism ... focus on military
  2. Covering the Military ... embedded journalists ... Rumsfeld and the press ... view from the field ... tension between field and civilian commanders ... lessons of Vietnam war ... professionalized military ... dependence on reserve units ... Powell doctrine ... Rumsfeld's approach ... impact of 9/11
  3. The Iraq War: Planning ... troika of decision-makers ... Cheney's mistake from earlier Gulf War ... fear of WMD ... demonstration of U.S. power ... Rumsfeld's push for smaller/faster ... short-shrifted postwar planning ... ignoring troop-level recommendations
  4. The Iraq War: Implementation ... unexpected Fedayeen threat ... top brass ignore on-the-ground wisdom ... no onscreen icon for unexpected forces ... sins of commission ... Bremmer's decision to abolish the Iraqi army ... intelligence failures ... Saddam's miscalculations ... the Chalabi farce ... mutable definition of victory
  5. Conclusion ... complexity of covering the whole story ... documentation and sources ... advice for students


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