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The Gods of Diyala: Transfer of Command in Iraq

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In March 2004, Caleb S. Cage and Gregory M. Tomlin deployed to Baquba, Iraq, on a mission that would redefine how conventional U.S. military forces fight an urban war. Having led artillery units through a transition into anti-insurgent rifle companies and carrying out daily combat patrols in one of the region’s most notorious hotspots, Cage and Tomlin chronicle Task Force In March 2004, Caleb S. Cage and Gregory M. Tomlin deployed to Baquba, Iraq, on a mission that would redefine how conventional U.S. military forces fight an urban war. Having led artillery units through a transition into anti-insurgent rifle companies and carrying out daily combat patrols in one of the region’s most notorious hotspots, Cage and Tomlin chronicle Task Force 1-6 Field Artillery’s year on the ground in Iraq and its response to the insurgency that threatened to engulf their corner of the Sunni Triangle. Rather than presenting a snapshot dominated by battle scenes, The Gods of Diyala presents a wide-angled view of the experiences of Cage and Tomlin and their comrades-in-arms. They assess the implications of their experiences, starting with their pre-deployment training in Germany and ending with the handing over of duties to their replacement brigade at the close of their tour of duty. They discuss frankly their impressions of the benefits and liabilities of working with embedded journalists and relate both their frustrations with and their admiration for the fledgling Iraqi security forces. From chaotic security planning to personal debates on the principles of democracy, both authors discuss how Iraqis perceived the value of their first post-Saddam elections and the political future of their country as it tries to reinvent itself in the wake of a dictator’s fall. The Gods of Diyala gives a new and personal perspective on the second stage of the ongoing war in Iraq. Students and scholars of military history will find its insights meaningful and informative, and general readers will enjoy its thoughtful, well-measured narratives of a year spent trying to protect a fragile nation as it struggled toward democracy.


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In March 2004, Caleb S. Cage and Gregory M. Tomlin deployed to Baquba, Iraq, on a mission that would redefine how conventional U.S. military forces fight an urban war. Having led artillery units through a transition into anti-insurgent rifle companies and carrying out daily combat patrols in one of the region’s most notorious hotspots, Cage and Tomlin chronicle Task Force In March 2004, Caleb S. Cage and Gregory M. Tomlin deployed to Baquba, Iraq, on a mission that would redefine how conventional U.S. military forces fight an urban war. Having led artillery units through a transition into anti-insurgent rifle companies and carrying out daily combat patrols in one of the region’s most notorious hotspots, Cage and Tomlin chronicle Task Force 1-6 Field Artillery’s year on the ground in Iraq and its response to the insurgency that threatened to engulf their corner of the Sunni Triangle. Rather than presenting a snapshot dominated by battle scenes, The Gods of Diyala presents a wide-angled view of the experiences of Cage and Tomlin and their comrades-in-arms. They assess the implications of their experiences, starting with their pre-deployment training in Germany and ending with the handing over of duties to their replacement brigade at the close of their tour of duty. They discuss frankly their impressions of the benefits and liabilities of working with embedded journalists and relate both their frustrations with and their admiration for the fledgling Iraqi security forces. From chaotic security planning to personal debates on the principles of democracy, both authors discuss how Iraqis perceived the value of their first post-Saddam elections and the political future of their country as it tries to reinvent itself in the wake of a dictator’s fall. The Gods of Diyala gives a new and personal perspective on the second stage of the ongoing war in Iraq. Students and scholars of military history will find its insights meaningful and informative, and general readers will enjoy its thoughtful, well-measured narratives of a year spent trying to protect a fragile nation as it struggled toward democracy.

28 review for The Gods of Diyala: Transfer of Command in Iraq

  1. 4 out of 5

    Travis Bow

    This was something between a story (of a year spent early in the war in Iraq in one of the hotbeds of insurgency while preparing for national elections) and a collection of surprising insights (into things like the way wartime photojournalists interact with soldiers and portray the reality of a combat situation, or the military effort to supplement violent action with control of information and relationships with a local populace, or the subtleties of how transplanted democracy fits into a Middl This was something between a story (of a year spent early in the war in Iraq in one of the hotbeds of insurgency while preparing for national elections) and a collection of surprising insights (into things like the way wartime photojournalists interact with soldiers and portray the reality of a combat situation, or the military effort to supplement violent action with control of information and relationships with a local populace, or the subtleties of how transplanted democracy fits into a Middle Eastern culture). The authors have war stories to tell, both funny and horrific, but what raises this book above others is the way the authors work their nuanced observations - clearly informed by extensive political and military education and experience - into the narrative. This book gave me a taste of what it might feel like to be a soldier, to face the frustration of political maneuvering or feel nagging disillusionment of friends lost and lack of perceptible progress, and to see the glimmering edges of hope after a grueling tour.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    A good read about the Iraq war written by two who were there. It gives a good bigger picture look at the war.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Boone Cutler

    Cleanly written.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fisher_FA

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  6. 4 out of 5

    Todd Van Orsdel

  7. 4 out of 5

    Colin

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Cox

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Murata

  11. 5 out of 5

    Texas A&M University Press

  12. 4 out of 5

    Casey

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Tomlin

  14. 4 out of 5

    Val Cook

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

  16. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Pursley

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jason Weaver

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Sullivan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  20. 5 out of 5

    Claire McCully

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chad Wyancko

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robb Brown

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Boiko

  24. 4 out of 5

    Corey

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

  26. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Garcia

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  28. 5 out of 5

    Holly

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