The story of Saddam Hussein’s capture.
The events in December 2003 produced headlines and predictions that they would end the increasingly bloody insurgency. This didn’t happen, and the event is now considered a historical footnote. However, it was not a footnote in the career of former Lt. Col. Russell, who provides an account of his battalion’s actions from May 2003 to February 2004, with frequent asides to express personal beliefs. According to Russell, after Hussein’s defeat he went underground to orchestrate a bitter insurgency designed to wear down American forces. It was moving into high gear when Russell assumed command in Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. The author is clearly a professional soldier focused on crushing the enemy, and he writes a nearly day-by-day chronicle of patrols, raids, skirmishes and intelligence gathering as his men fought insurgents while tracking and capturing Hussein’s high-level henchmen and eventually the dictator himself. Sadly, according to the author, al-Qaeda immediately stepped in to take over the insurgency, which persisted for many years. Russell credits prayer with facilitating the capture. A dedicated officer, he loves his men, agonizes when they suffer, praises God when they’re spared, never doubts that they fought to defend America, and does not hide his contempt for those who felt otherwise: liberals, the media, antiwar demonstrators and spineless politicians as well as any officer who has not experienced battle.
Readers not put off by the author’s piety and unqualified patriotism will encounter a vivid, nuts-and-bolts account of small-unit tactics during the early years of the Iraq insurgency.