Thursday, October 23, 2008

Running the War in Iraq

Running the in Iraq by Jim MolanGeneral Jim Molan's book "Running the in Iraq: An Australian General, 300,000 Troops, the Bloodiest Conflict of Our Time" gives a useful insight into the complexities and stresses of commanding a modern military force. The general eventually had control of 300,000, mostly American, troops but on his arrival had to find himself a job. Also there were some details of how technology is used in the command centre, with the commanders having regular video conferences, preceded by the support staff spending hours preparing Power point presentations. The use of drone aircraft with the headquarters watching the battle live and the use of instant messaging systems is also mentioned.

You probibly don't get to be a general by being shy or modest, but the book as a little to much self congratulation of leadership attributes and quotes of citations from others. Also the general seems to have been captured by the military obsession with check-lists. At one stage he mentions how difficult it was to get the staff to use a check-list he devised (from memory, it had 48 steps in it).

The best part of the book is early on, describing the initial arrival in Iraq and having to fit into the US military set-up and find a role. While general-ship can't avoid politics, the weakest part of the book is that which tries to justify the Iraq operations. This would have been a better book if that was left for another volume.

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