At the end of her time with General David Petraeus, veteran reporter Linda Robinson believed that something more valuable than oil had been found in Iraq: a chance.
In her opening chapters, Robinson details the critical mistakes and blunders that marked the first four years of the war she calls "a folly worse than Vietnam," such as a rush to hold elections that left Sunnis disenfranchised - and Iraq torn into violent factions. But after the "surge" had been underway for several months, as she followed Petraeus through many of Baghdad's worst neighborhoods, Robinson saw what was, in her mind, "a war turned around" by the surge, the name of which Petraeus meant to represent more than troop numbers; it was also meant to be a surge in focus on the political causes of the conflict, and a surge in effort to unify civilian and diplomatic efforts with the military in producing a solution.
In Tell Me How This Ends, Robinson searches for answers to that question with Petraeus - shown here as an analytical, reflective officer given to "intellectual rigor" over gut instincts - as well as his partnership with the new Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who was tasked with prodding Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki into taking steps toward a more inclusive national government. She also follows the American soldiers charged with putting the new security plan into practice, through training to think of the political consequences of their actions in Iraqi neighborhoods - and through the violence that still exacts a horrific toll on daily life there.
Linda Robinson is the bestselling author of Masters of Chaos and author in residence at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies' Strategic Studies Program. A Contributing Editor for US News and World Report, she received the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Reporting on National Defense in 2005 and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University 2000-01.
DVD 2008-11-22: Linda Robinson
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