Robert Earle presents the first historical account of the strategic process that sought to reverse the negative consequences of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. He offers an insider's details and insights into the early attempts to deal with the Iraqi insurgency and to develop Coalition counterinsurgency plans available nowhere else. His book is a sustained, comprehensive account of all the conflicting factors that have made Iraq such an intractable international crisis. Recruited as a strategist by John Negroponte, the first U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Earle documents the Coalition's uncertainty about the nature of the insurgent/terrorist enemies and explores the impediments frustrating the massive, $18 billion U.S. reconstruction effort. Earle recounts helping to formulate a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy, issued jointly in a unique collaboration by Ambassador Negroponte and Multinational Force-Iraq Commanding General George Casey, which sought to reverse the negative consequences of the U.S.-led occupation.
Upon drafting the strategy, Earle was evacuated from Iraq because of a massive deep vein thrombosis in his left thigh. Arriving home, Earle thought his nightmare assignment in Iraq was over, but Negroponte requested that he return to Baghdad to write a message to the president, explaining that U.S. policy was failing and offering an alternative approach. Casey, meanwhile, asked Earle to assess the evolution of Iraqi politics and possible outcomes of the risky January 2005 election. Returning to Iraq over the strenuous objections of State Department doctors, Earle worked to complete his assignments from dingy offices within Saddam Hussein's former presidential palace in Baghdad's Green Zone that he dubbed the 'Pink Motel.' Digging deeper into his mission, he was faced with the difficult realities of the effort to end the violence and to build lasting peace.
With novelistic detail, Earle wraps the stories of soldiers, diplomats, contractors, Iraqis, and Coalition partners into the larger strategic crisis. He offers unmatched portrayals of personal and psychological sacrifice and stress, routine acts of courage and solidarity, and the bizarre atmosphere of violence and uncertainty in war-torn Iraq.