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Allied Air Power and the Takedown of Saddam Hussein
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781612513119
  • Binding: Paperback & eBook
  • Era: Iraq War
  • Number of Pages: 480
  • Subject: Iraq War
  • Date Available: October 2013
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BOOK NEWS: The Unseen War: Allied Air Power and the Takedown of Saddam Hussein by Naval Institute Press

~ Praise for The Unseen War ~

"Ten years of thorough research and very good writing have produced an outstanding account of the nearly unknown air war during the three-week phase of major combat operations in Iraq that helped end the regime of Saddam Hussein. In contrast to the strategic error of under sourcing ground forces, especially for postcombat stabilization, the joint and combined air operations were almost flawless. It was not a question of 'shock and awe' but of over 41,000 well-planned sorties that resulted in precise, relentless, and highly lethal air strikes. With collateral damage a constant concern, the effects were to shred Iraqi ground troops and armor and reverse the traditional roles of air and land power in high-intensity combat. During this phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom, ground forces flushed the enemy, air power attacked them, and ground forces then finished off the remnants. Lambeth (senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments) brilliantly analyzes the reason for success as well as the reasons for occasional failures along with perennial problems such as insufficient tanker capacity, reluctant allies, fog and friction, and the inter-service delicacies involved with any joint action. No history is definitive, but this report comes close."

— CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

"Nevertheless, this crisply written book will remain a standard in describing the air war in the second Gulf War for years to come. The author identifies some problems the pilots faced, such as the inability to receive good battle damage assessments of targets attacks, and difficulty in finding tankers to refuel at the end of mission. In one of the worst near disasters of the war, a contingent of 30 Apache helicopters attempted to fly 50 miles to attack a Republican Guard unit. Half of the helicopters were badly damaged, one was downed and the unit was put out of action for a month in order to repair their helicopters. Only a few Iraqi vehicles were damaged, one Iraq commander having used a cell phone in order to warn his comrades of the attack. This is one of the more interesting accounts of a fact filled, but colorless book on an important conflict."

— Middle East Media & Book Reviews Online

"The Unseen War makes a valuable contribution to the literature on war in the 21st Century. It is much more than required reading for anyone interested in the 2003 Iraq War, this book should be read by those who wish to better understand modern conflict."

— Headmark: Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

"This is a detailed book which brings the many facets of an air campaign together into a coherent narrative.  It is also necessarily technical and must use the byzantine assortment of acronyms the U.S. military relishes, so be prepared to consult the extensive list of acronyms provided.  If you are willing to do so, though, you will gain a thorough understanding of the complexity of aerial warfare in the 21st Century."

— Military Heritage

"Lambeth’s work here, however, will remain the authoritative source for this unique air campaign for some time and is highly recommended for military professionals of all stripes to read critically."

— Naval History Book Reviews, Issue 38

"This crisply written book will remain a standard in describing the air war in the second Gulf War for years to come."

Middle East Media and Book Reviews Online

“Ben Lambeth cuts to the heart of the issue, tying policy, strategy, tactics, and technology together as few authors can. The future contribution of air power to the defense of our nation will be among the main beneficiaries of his work.”

—Norm Augustine, President and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation (1995–1997)

“Ben Lambeth reconstructs the exceptional performance of CENTCOM’s air component during the first phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom in a way that reminds us of the indispensable role played by airmen in a war that has since been overshadowed by a decade of land-focused counterinsurgency and counterterrorist operations.”

—Adm. Vern Clark, USN (Ret.), Chief of Naval Operations (2000–2005)

“There is much to be learned about the application of modern air power from that conflict. Ben Lambeth has once again written a comprehensive and thoughtful account of a recent air campaign that should be of interest to any professional student of the third dimension in warfare.”

—Eliot A. Cohen, Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

“Ben Lambeth unlocks air power’s complexities and fully describes their often subtle but always significant impact on joint and coalition warfare.”         

—Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF (Ret.), Chief of Staff, U. S. Air Force (2001–2005)

“ . . . A tour de force survey of air power employment in the early twenty-first century. Ben Lambeth’s expertise in the field of air warfare and this work are profound gifts to all who care about air power’s contribution to modern conflict resolution.”

Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF (Ret.), Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (2001–2005)


SNEAK PEEK: The Unseen War: Allied Air Power and the Takedown of Saddam Hussein by Naval Institute Press


The Unseen War offers a comprehensive assessment of the role of allied air power in the three weeks of major combat that ended the rule of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 2003. Unlike in the earlier Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the contribution of air power in the second war was less readily apparent to most observers, since the land offensive began concurrently with the air offensive and the overwhelming majority of the deployed journalists who reported on the war were embedded with ground units. Lambeth’s work fills a longstanding gap in the literature on modern warfare by telling, in full, the story of the role of air power for the first time.

This book is a RAND Corporation Research Study sponsored and supported by the commander of U.S. Central Command Air Forces, who was responsible for planning and conducting the 2003 air offensive.

Benjamin S. Lambeth, a senior research associate at the RAND Corporation for 37 years, is now a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He is the author of The Transformation of American Air Power and Air Power against Terror. He lives in Paso Robles, CA.

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