Iraq and Back: Inside the War to Win the Peace

Kim Olson

ISBN 10: 1591145279 / ISBN 13: 9781591145271
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[ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: Reprint ] Publisher: Naval Institute Press Pub Date: 9/1/2006 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 211 Reprint edition. Bookseller Inventory #

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In April 2003, soon after Operation Iraqi Freedom had been declared a success, President Bush sent retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner to Iraq to rebuild the country. As Garner's executive officer, the author of this book was part of the senior leadership circle charged with three tasks. They were to reconstruct Iraq's infrastructure, provide humanitarian assistance, and lay the foundation for a democratic process to take hold. But not long after their arrival in the rubble and ruin of Iraq, the political, military, and economic wheels ground to a halt and theirs became a mission improbable. In this book, Air Force Colonel Kim Olson tells how and why. Readers are privy to the candid discussions of U.S. generals frustrated by operating in a policy void. They sit at the table with Iraqi leaders who warn of an impending insurgency if the proclamations crafted by ill-informed and arrogant policy makers are implemented. And they share Olson's fear as Saddam's death squads attempt to assassinate her in an explosion of bullets.


This gripping, firsthand account of what went wrong is seen from Olson's unique point of view as a senior female military officer, pilot, wife, and mother. Many of the stories she tells are known to only the handful of people involved, including a mission to rescue two Iraqi women and details of early meetings with tribal leaders to discuss building a coalition government--an effort quashed by Garner's successor. Her haunting descriptions of Shiite families searching for loved ones in Saddam's killing fields and malnourished children in the town of Umn Qasr untouched by the International Oil-for-Food Program, will remain with readers long after they close the book. From the decisions of political leaders and military commanders to everyday encounters with the Iraqi people and informal conversations with soldiers, such a wealth of honest, insider information is rare. No other author weaves together military, political, and humanistic insights so effectively.

From the Back Cover: "We had shared good times and hardship; adventure and doldrums; happiness and heartbreak; security and danger. We had been participants in the greatest endeavor of this new century. As you read her book, you'll understand, as I do...they don't come any better than Kim."—from the Foreword by Jay Garner

"Colonel Olson is a modern day Joan of Arc--born to inspire, to lead and to command. A top flight jet pilot in the Air Force, she entered Baghdad with General Jay Garner to begin the overwhelming job of rebuilding Iraq. Her story will inspire all who open it and can't put it down."--William Sessions, Former Director of the FBI and U.S. District Judge

"This is one of the most provocative and compelling books on Iraq published to date. It encompasses that rare blend of insight and story telling from someone on the inside in the early days of the Iraqi reconstruction phase. This book makes me proud and mad simultaneously. That is told by a senior Air Force officer and pilot is all the more remarkable, because it gives tone, texture and human emotion to the devastation and destruction that defines war."--Ron Tammen

"Kim Olson brings a mother's love and a warrior's courage to her first-person account of the effort to rebuild Iraq as she experienced it-- from the inside. It is an unsparing tale; Olson is tough on people she didn't think were helpful and tough on herself, too, as she recounts a career that didn't end at all the way she hoped it would."--Louis D. Boccardi, Retired President, Associated Press

"This is a story of a life on the edge, at the transition of emerging opportunities for women in the military. And Olson did it all: flying and command assignments, staff and field assignments. Competent, assertive, caring, and loyal, nothing could have prepared her for her final assignment: securing the ‘peace’ in Iraq. A breathtaking, unforgettable account."--Sheila Widnall, Secretary of the Air Force, 1993-97

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Title: Iraq and Back: Inside the War to Win the ...
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