Thomas Ricks on Iraq Today

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Pulitzer prize-winning military correspondent for the Washington Post Thomas Ricks delivered a debate-changing judgment on the war in Iraq with last year's hugely-influential book "Fiasco."

Ricks talked to military men, and the military men saw a devastating fiasco in Iraq. They saw military failures, Congressional failures, and — most of all — failure from the White House.

Now, Tom Ricks is tracking the "surge" and looking for light, but fearing a national tragedy.

This hour On Point: "Fiasco" author Thomas Ricks on the path and consequences of the Iraq War.

Quotes from the Show:

I think it's simply too early to call the ball on what's happening in Iraq right now. There're a lot of counterintuitive signs. ... What's really significant in Iraq ... is the change in posture that General Petreas is having the troops have, getting them out of the bases, getting them out living among the people, and it's much too early to say that's working or not working." Thomas Ricks

"We are doing things better. Strikingly, what you have now is the dissonance of 03/04. General Petreas, the new ambassador Ryan Crocker — these are the people who were arguing for a different way several years ago and have now been put in charge. We are operating very differently. ... The troop numbers really don't matter but the different posture does matter. The problem is it's probably too little too late." Thomas Ricks

"This war has gone on longer than our involvement in World War II. The enemy has learned a lot from us. It's a very smart and almost devilish enemy in some ways. And, in many ways, all we're doing is still squeezing the toothpaste around the country."

"My thought is that the American troops should leave the country [Iraq] and somehow rally an international force led by the Arab states." Dori, listener from Iowa

"I don't feel that the country [US] has a common, collective appreciation of what needs to happen next [in Iraq]." Kelly, listener from Northampton, MA

"I think you'd have a full-out civil war, bloodier than you have now, and I think you would see regional intervention [if there's a full departure of US troops from Iraq]. Iran is already there in spades, I think Syria would be there. You'd probably wind up with a civil war, a regional war fought on the streets of Baghdad between Shiite bodies and Saudi Arabian money. Up in the north, you'd probably have Turkey intervene against the Kurds." Thomas Ricks


Thomas Ricks, Washington Post military correspondent and author of the book "Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq"

This program aired on April 2, 2007.


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