Read America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History Online

Authors: Andrew J. Bacevich

Tags: #General, #Military, #World, #Middle Eastern, #United States, #Middle East, #History, #Political Science

America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History

BOOK: America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History
America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History
Andrew J. Bacevich
Random House (2016)
Rating: ★★★★★
Tags: History, Military, United States, Political Science, World, Middle Eastern, Middle East, General
Historyttt Militaryttt United Statesttt Political Sciencettt Worldttt Middle Easternttt Middle Eastttt Generalttt

A searing reassessment of U.S. military policy in the Middle East over the past four decades from retired army colonel and
New York Times
bestselling author Andrew J. Bacevich
From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in the Greater Middle East. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed in action anywhere else. What caused this shift? Andrew J. Bacevich, one of the country’s most respected voices on foreign affairs, offers an incisive critical history of this ongoing military enterprise—now more than thirty years old and with no end in sight.

During the 1980s, Bacevich argues, a great transition occurred. As the Cold War wound down, the United States initiated a new conflict—a War for the Greater Middle East—that continues to the present day. The long twilight struggle with the Soviet Union had involved only occasional and sporadic fighting. But as this new war unfolded, hostilities became persistent. From the Balkans and East Africa to the Persian Gulf and Central Asia, U.S. forces embarked upon a seemingly endless series of campaigns across the Islamic world. Few achieved anything remotely like conclusive success. Instead, actions undertaken with expectations of promoting peace and stability produced just the opposite. As a consequence, phrases like “permanent war” and “open-ended war” have become part of everyday discourse.

Connecting the dots in a way no other historian has done before, Bacevich weaves a compelling narrative out of episodes as varied as the Beirut bombing of 1983, the Mogadishu firefight of 1993, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the rise of ISIS in the present decade. Understanding what America’s costly military exertions have wrought requires seeing these seemingly discrete events as parts of a single war. It also requires identifying the errors of judgment made by political leaders in both parties and by senior military officers who share responsibility for what has become a monumental march to folly. This Bacevich unflinchingly does.

A twenty-year army veteran who served in Vietnam, Andrew J. Bacevich brings the full weight of his expertise to this vitally important subject.
America’s War for the Greater Middle East
is a bracing after-action report from the front lines of history. It will fundamentally change the way we view America’s engagement in the world’s most volatile region.

Praise for
America’s War for the Greater Middle East

“Bacevich is thought-provoking, profane and fearless. . . . [His] call for Americans to rethink their nation’s militarized approach to the Middle East is incisive, urgent and essential.”
—*The New York Times Book Review

“Bacevich’s magnum opus . . . a deft and rhythmic polemic aimed at America’s failures in the Middle East from the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency to the present.”
—Robert D. Kaplan, *The Wall Street Journal

“A critical review of American policy and military involvement . . . Those familiar with Bacevich’s work will recognize the clarity of expression, the devastating directness and the coruscating wit that characterize the writing of one of the most articulate and incisive living critics of American foreign policy.”
—*The Washington Post

“[A] monumental new work.”
—*The Huffington Post

“An unparalleled historical tour de force certain to affect the formation of future U.S. foreign policy.”
—Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)


Advance praise for

America’s War for the Greater Middle East
by Andrew Bacevich lays out in excruciating detail the disasters orchestrated over decades by the architects of the American empire in the Middle East. Blunder after blunder, fed by hubris along with cultural, historical, linguistic and religious illiteracy, has shattered cohesion within the Middle East. The wars we have waged have given birth to a frightening nihilistic violence embodied in radical jihadism. They have engendered an inchoate rage among the dispossessed and left in their wake a series of failed and disintegrating states. These wars have, as Bacevich writes, laid bare the folly of attempting to use military force as a form of political, economic and social control. Bacevich is one of our finest chroniclers of the decline of empire.
America’s War for the Greater Middle East
is an essential addition to his remarkable body of work.”

, former Middle East bureau chief for
The New York Times
and author of
Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt

“Andrew Bacevich’s thoughtful, persuasive critique of America’s crusade for the Greater Middle East should be compulsory reading for anyone charged with making policy for the region. We cannot afford to repeat the past misjudgments on the area, for as Bacevich wisely argues, the stakes are nothing less than the future well-being of the United States.”

, presidential historian

“In this fascinating work, one of America’s most provocative thinkers confronts our greatest geopolitical conundrum: the Middle East. No other book shows so clearly how U.S. interventions there have blended into a single long war. This is not just invaluable history, but also a cry of protest against policies that have devastated the Middle East while undermining America’s own national security.”

, senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University

“Andrew Bacevich has done a great service by providing a much-needed continuum in a foreign policy area that remains frustratingly random for too many Americans. He is one of a very few in academia with the credibility to outline dispassionately the shortcomings of responsible civilian and military leaders, on the facts and without histrionics or bitterness. His military background and training as a historian have enabled him to lay out not only the evolution of policy but also the details of the military endeavors themselves.”

, former U.S. senator

“Andrew Bacevich is a warrior academic who understands war and has the great talent to make the complex understandable. And so he has done with our Middle East conflict, which started with Desert One and endures today. A must read for soldiers, politicians, and the American citizen.”

, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Copyright © 2016 by Andrew J. Bacevich

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

and the H
colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

Maps by David Lindroth


Names: Bacevich, Andrew J., author.

Title: America’s war for the greater Middle East : a military history / Andrew J. Bacevich.

Description: New York : Random House, [2016] | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2015038868 | ISBN 9780553393934 | ISBN 9780553393941 (ebook)

Subjects: LCSH: United States—Foreign relations—Middle East. | Middle East—Foreign relations—United States. | United States—History, Military—20th century. | United States—History, Military—21st century.

Classification: LCC DS63.2.U5 B3214 2016 | DDC 956.05/4—dc23 LC record available at

eBook ISBN 9780553393941

Book design by Virginia Norey, adapted for eBook

Cover design: Rachel Ake

Cover photograph: Stocktrek Images





Title Page



A Note to Readers


America's War for the Greater Middle East

The Middle East Core

The Former Yogoslavia



Part I: Preliminaries

Chapter 1: War of Choice

Chapter 2: Gearing Up

Chapter 3: Arsenal of Theocracy

Chapter 4: Silver Screen Six Is Calling

Chapter 5: Mad Dog, Kicked, Bites Back

Chapter 6: Rescuing Evil

Chapter 7: No Clean Ending

Part II: Entr’acte

Chapter 8: Good Intentions

Chapter 9: Balkan Digression

Chapter 10: What Winning Means

Chapter 11: Phony War

Part III: Main Card

Chapter 12: Changing the Way They Live

Chapter 13: Kicking Down the Door

Chapter 14: How This Ends

Chapter 15: Government in a Box

Chapter 16: Entropy

Chapter 17: Iraq, Again

Chapter 18: Generational War

Photo Insert




By Andrew J. Bacevich

About the Author

The Lord’s anger burned against Israel
and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years.
UMBERS 32:13

15.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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