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By Seymour M. Hersh

Since September eleven, 2001, Seymour M. Hersh has riveted readers -- and outraged the Bush management -- together with his explosive tales in The New Yorker, together with his headline-making items at the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Now, Hersh brings jointly what he has discovered, in addition to new reporting, to reply to the serious query of the final 4 years: How did the US get from the transparent morning whilst planes crashed into the area alternate middle to a divisive and soiled battle in Iraq?

In Chain of Command, Hersh takes an unflinching glance at the back of the general public tale of the battle on terror and into the lies and obsessions that led the USA into Iraq. Hersh attracts on resources on the optimum degrees of the yankee govt and intelligence neighborhood, in international capitals, and at the battlefield for an remarkable view of a severe bankruptcy in America's fresh heritage. In a brand new afterword, he opinions the government's failure to effectively examine prisoner abuse -- at Abu Ghraib and in different places -- and punish these in charge. With an advent via The New Yorker's editor, David Remnick, Chain of Command is a devastating portrait of an management blinded by way of ideology and of a president whose judgements have made the area a extra risky position for America.

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Military introduced a floor attack on entrenched Al Qaeda forces within the Shah-i-Kot mountains of jap Afghanistan, on March 2, 2002, a bruising interservice dispute over strategies broke out, in keeping with a gaggle of lively accountability and retired army and intelligence officials. The assault, code-named Operation Anaconda, praised as a triumph via the Pentagon, led to 8 American lifeless and 40 wounded, as well as an unknown variety of casualties between Afghans operating with americans. The plan, as devised by way of officers at CENTCOM, headed on the time via military normal Tommy Franks, known as for American and Afghan forces to force in truck convoys up the most mountain highway top east from town of Gardez into the Shah-i-Kot Valley, the place a wide contingent of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters had amassed within the past months. A former high-level intelligence officer instructed me that senior Marine Corps officers objected vigorously to the proposed attack, and whilst the plans weren't altered, the Marines took the dramatic step of chickening out from energetic participation within the operation. The dispute among the Marines and CENTCOM had its beginnings in December 2001, officials acknowledged, whilst common Franks made it identified that he may well order a strengthened corporation of Marines, then assigned to the guarding of an airfield close to Kandahar, to start looking caves close to Tora Bora, with the help of the military. A CENTCOM spokesman informed newsmen on December twenty sixth that the Marines “are knowledgeable to complete missions equivalent to that, and if he”—Franks—“feels the necessity to name those parents, he'll achieve this. ” the corporate of Marines, a part of a self-contained Marine Expeditionary 136 CHAIN OF COMMAND Unit, by no means went to Tora Bora. Donald Rumsfeld as a consequence brushed off the difficulty in a press convention on the Pentagon: “The stuff you’re interpreting approximately within the paper, that there has been a call to ship in five hundred Marines, then a choice not to ship in five hundred Marines, that’s all newspaper speak. ” in truth, army and intelligence officials stated, Franks’ notion to shift a number of the Marines to Tora Bora used to be bitterly resisted on the time through the Marines, who've insisted in view that global warfare II on working in self-contained devices. ultimately, the Marines and CENTCOM labored out a rare written memorandum of figuring out (M. O. U. ) that defined the stipulations less than which the Marines may function. It set the phrases of the engagement. “It’s all approximately what's the mission,” a Pentagon advisor stated. “We’re no longer the Army,” a former Marine planner instructed me. “We don’t in simple terms do flooring operations. We’re now not the Air strength. We don’t do air basically. We cross in with our armor, our artillery, our shut air help. We beat every body simply because we do all of it jointly. ” CENTCOM’s insistence on utilizing Marines in what the Marines observed because the high-risk Anaconda assault revived the interservice conflict. One evident challenge, officials informed me, used to be the shortcoming of intelligence. The CENTCOM planners have been not able to inform the Marines, a former high-level intelligence official stated, even if the Al Qaeda might “fight or run away.

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