War on Two Fronts

An Infantry Commander's War in Iraq and the Pentagon

Christopher Hughes

After the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the war in Iraq became the most confusing in U.S. history, the high command not knowing who to fight and who among the different Iraqi groups were fighting each other. Col. Hughes writes movingly of his battalion at war in Iraq. Written with candor, this is a must-read for all those who seek insight into
Date Published :
November 2016
Publisher :
Casemate
Language:
English
Illustration :
2 x 16 pages color
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781612004310
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
-
+
Available
$22.50

Overview
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Winner of The Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award for Excellence in U.S. Army History Writing- Journals, memoirs and letters, June 2008

Shortly after the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the war in Iraq became the most confusing in U.S. history, the high command not knowing who to fight, who was attacking Coalition troops, and who among the different Iraqi groups were fighting each other. Yet there were a few astute officers like Lt. Col. Christopher Hughes, commanding the 2d Battalion of the 327th Inf. Regiment, 101st Airborne, who sensed the complexity of the task from the beginning.

In “War on Two Fronts” Col. Hughes writes movingly of his “No-Slack” battalion at war in Iraq. The war got off to a bang for Hughes, when his brigade command tent was fragged by a Muslim sergeant in the 101st, leaving him briefly in charge of the brigade. Amid the nighttime confusion of 14 casualties, a nearby Patriot missile blasted off, panicking nearly everyone while mistakenly bringing down a British Tornado fighter-bomber.

As Hughes’ battalion forged into Iraq they successfully liberated the city of Najaf, securing the safety of Grand Ayatollah Sistani and the Mosque of Ali, while showing an acute cultural awareness in doing so that caught the world's attention. It was a feat that landed Hughes within the pages of Time, Newsweek and other publications. The “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne then implemented creative programs in the initial postwar occupation, including harvesting the national wheat and barley crops, while combating nearly invisible insurgents.

Conscious that an army battalion is a community of some 700-plus households, and that when a unit goes off to war the families are intimately connected in our internet age, Hughes makes clear the strength of those connections and how morale is best supported at both ends.

Transferred to Washington after his tour in Iraq, Hughes then writes an illuminating account of the herculean efforts of many in the Pentagon to work around the corporatist elements of its bureaucracy, in order to better understand counterinsurgency and national reconstruction, which Lawrence of Arabia characterized as “like learning to eat soup with a knife.” To read this book will help understand the sources of mistakes made—and still being made—and the process needed to chart a successful strategy.

Written with candor and no shortage of humor, intermixed with brutal scenes of combat and frank analysis, this book is a must-read for all those who seek insight into our current war in the Mideast.

About The Author
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Col. Hughes is a 1983 graduate of Northwest Missouri State University with a B.S. in Political Science and an M.A. in Business Management from Webster University and an M.S. in National Security Srategy from the National War College in Washington DC. He has served in numerous command and staff positions in infantry and airborne units across the Army and Joint Staffs

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Foreword by Rick Atkinson
Preface

PART I: THE 31ST INVASION OF ANCIENT MESPOTAMIA
1. PREPARING FOR WAR
2. THE BATTLE FOR NAJAF
3. THE MOSQUE OF ALI
4. AL HILLAH—THE BATTLE FOR BABYLON
5. NORTHERN IRAQ
6. CHANGING COMMAND IN COMBAT

PART II: A FOOTSTOOL AT THE SEAT OF POWER
7. THE PENTAGON
8. ON TO THE NATIONAL WAR COLLEGE
9. THE GREATER WAR ON TERRORISM
10. THE WAY FORWARD

Appendix I: A Strategy for Leaving Iraq
Appendix II: Know Your Enemy
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

REVIEWS
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“…engaging contemporaneous history… Hughes presents valuable eye witness accounts … from himself, other officers, senior non-commissioned officers, and embedded media. …is thoughtful while being purposeful and direct. …provides many valuable lessons in effective leadership, combat innovation and “post hostility operations”.

- Air Power History

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