interviews

photo of Michael Gordon

Michael Gordon
Gordon is chief military correspondent for The New York Times. During the initial phase of the Iraq war, he was the only newspaper reporter embedded with the allied land command under Gen. Tommy Franks, a position that granted him unique access to cover the invasion strategy and its enactment. He is the co-author of Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq. Here he recounts the war's key strategic turning points, from Rumsfeld's power struggles in Washington to the fallout of the Samarra mosque bombing in Iraq.

photo of col. william hix

Col. William Hix
Col. Hix was the chief strategist of the Multi-National Task Force Iraq for 13 months under Gen. George Casey. He led the group of Ph.D.s and academics from the military academies who called themselves "Doctors Without Orders" and were tasked with thinking creatively and advising Gen. Casey on military strategy in Iraq. In this interview, Hix explains Casey's campaign plan and how his group developed a counterinsurgency strategy. He also talks about the debate over invading Fallujah and why political progess will be the leading indicator of whether the surge is working.

photo of Fred Kagan

Frederick Kagan
A military historian whose specialties include defense strategy and warfare, Kagan is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a nonpartisan Washington, D.C. think tank. He has also taught military history at West Point. Here he discusses his plan for applying a strategy known as "clear, hold, build" in Iraq, how he presented that plan to the president, and whether the surge can work.

photo of Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.)

Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.)
Gen. Keane served in the U.S. Army for 37 years and was Army vice chief of staff from 1999 to 2004. Now retired, Keane presented the surge strategy to President Bush along with Frederick Kagan and visits Iraq periodically as an adviser to Gen. David Petraeus. Here, Keane explains the shortfalls in planning that led to the deteriorating situation in Iraq and why he's "cautiously optimistic" that the surge can still turn things around.

photo of Lt. Col. Andrew Krepinevich (Ret.)

Lt. Col. Andrew Krepinevich (Ret.)
Krepinevich is the executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and a consultant to the Department of Defense; he served in the U.S. Army for 21 years. Krepinevich collaborated with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad to develop a type of clear, hold, build strategy, which he called the "oil spot" in an influential 2005 essay in Foreign Affairs. Here, he explains the lack of leadership and strategy throughout the Iraq war, how the "oil spot" led to the surge, and why a sustained U.S. presence is crucial to the future of Iraq.

photo of Col. H.R. McMaster

Col. H.R. McMaster
McMaster led the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment's successful counterinsurgency campaign in Tal Afar and the surrounding Ninawa province from May 2005 through June 2006. He is also the author of the book Dereliction of Duty, which is critical of American military leadership during the Vietnam War. He is now a research associate with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and an adviser to the new commander of coalition forces in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus.

photo of Thomas Ricks

Thomas Ricks
Ricks is the Pentagon correspondent for The Washington Post and the author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (2006). Here he outlines the many strategic missteps and mistakes, recounts the war's crucial battles in Tal Afar and Fallujah, and explains why he thinks the surge is not a strategic change.

photo of Col. Kalev Sepp (Ret.)

Col. Kalev Sepp (Ret.)
A retired special forces officer, Sepp is an assistant professor at the Naval Postgraduate School Center on Terrorism and Irregular Warfare. He is an expert on counterinsurgency operations, an expertise he put to use as a member of Gen. George Casey's unofficial brain trust, known as "Doctors without Orders." He also served as a military expert for the Iraq Study Group.

photo of Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow
Currently a history professor at the University of Virginia, Zelikow served as counselor to the State Department and senior policy adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from 2005 to 2007. During that time he visited Iraq roughly a dozen times to look at conditions and advise on strategy. In this interview, he discusses the recommendations he made to the administration, how Secretary Rice took a lead in late 2005 in shifting direction on Iraq policy, and why the U.S. has been unable to find a strategy for success.

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posted june 19, 2007

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