Drexel Hill, PA
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
We at Casemate are pleased and honored to present one of the most incisive, inside books on the War in Iraq to date. The topic is of crucial relevance, and author Christopher Hughes's expertise is now needed more than ever.
One of the most famous episodes during America's 2003 invasion of Iraq was when Lt. Colonel Chris Hughes (a serving officer and currently a Pentagon liaison to Congress) commanding a battalion of the 101st Airborne Division, the legendary "Screaming Eagles," advanced on the Grand Mosque of Ali in the holy city of Najaf. Having already conquered Saddam Hussein's outer defenses with devastating firepower, Hughes sensed a new surge of hostility from the populace as American soldiers cautiously approached the holy site in the city itself. Sensing that only one match could light a conflagration, he gave his men one of the most unusual orders in US military history: "Smile" He then told his battalion to "take a knee" and point their weapons to the ground.
This innovative action earned the notice of Time and Newsweek, plus President Bush, who mentioned it in his April 12, 2003 radio address. "This gesture of respect," said Bush, "helped defuse a dangerous situation and made our peaceful intentions clear"
How well might the rest of Operation Iraqi Freedom turned out, had the sensibility of commanders like Chris Hughes been infused through our effort in Iraq?
Hughes went on to other adventures in Iraq, not only dealing with Shi'ites in the south, but Kurds in the north and Sunni tribal leaders in between. At each step he was able to call upon the fearsome might of the 101st Airborne and its supports, but was continually more interested in resolving the chasm between an armed invasion and the good intentions of the invaders. An Iowa farmboy in youth, one of his notable achievements was resecuring the Iraqi national wheat crop around Mosul, after seeing that it had been disrupted by war and that Saddam's facilities were merely illusions.
Well before the strategy to coordinate with Sunni tribal leaders was openly enacted in 2007, Hughes and other officers were already doing this in 2003, observing local customs while conducting meetings with local leaders in order to restart governments and make mutual progress for the future.
After being ordered home to serve in the Pentagon, Hughes was struck by the disconnect between the vast office complex on the Potomac and the actual experiences of our troops on the ground in Iraq. Thus began another set of battles involving the Pentagon bureaucracy, Congress, and even the National War College, to support our combat effort in a realistic and flexible manner.
In this book Colonel Hughes provides rare and frank insights into both sides of our military effort in Iraq, from the maelstrom in Mesopotamia to the logjams in Washington. Ever-optimistic, at the end of this work, he points to a specific way forward to settle the conflict with honor while increasing respect for the American values he has so obviously embodied himself.
This book will be "must reading" for everyone concerned with our current conflict in the Middle East, as well as its potential outcome.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Colonel Christopher P. Hughes is a 1983 graduate of Northwest Missouri State University with a B.S. in Political Science. He holds a M.A. in Business Management from Webster University and a M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College in Washington D.C. He has served in numerous command and staff positions in infantry and airborne units across the Army and Joint Staff. Colonel Hughes is currently the Division Chief for the Army's House Liaison Division on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. He recently appeared on Fox News Channel's America's Pulse and The American Veteran's Center's Veteran's Chronicles. (Interview available at Radio America site http://feeds.radioamerica.org/rd-bin/rdfeed.xml?Veterans
PRAISE FOR WAR ON TWO FRONTS:
"A very clearly written appraisal that affords more than the usual perspective on what kind of cleaning up in the Pentagon will be needed when the war and the Bush administration have passed into history. Definitely valuable to serious students of defense issues"
-American Library Association Booklist
"[Hughes] offers an insightful review of our problems in Iraq as a loyal supporter of President Bush who does not conceal his opinion that the war is a disaster. . . . After Hughes rotates home to serve in the Pentagon and attend the National War College, his book becomes genuinely thoughtful as he concludes that, while America was absolutely right to invade Iraq to depose an evil dictator, our ignorance of that nation's history and religion has led to chaos "
"This battle narrative gives a clear and candid overview of how a leader deals with combat. . . . Likewise [Hughes] is clear about what he feels the strengths and successes of the army are, both in Iraq and institutionally. . . . Recommended"—
"Col. Christopher Hughes' War on Two Fronts is both a memoir of his combat experience and an essay on potential solutions to problems he identifies on everything from the war to interagency collaboration. Hughes is a genuine hero; when heroes write, the rest of us can learn"
320 pages• 16 pages color photos • 6 x 9 cloth • ISBN 978-1-932033-81-6 • $32.95
For additional information or for interviews with Col. Hughes, please contact Tara Lichterman,
Tel (610) 853-9131; Fax (610) 853-9146; E-mail: email@example.com
Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, L.L.C.
Drexel Hill, PA