The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq
Bing West. New York: Random House, 2008. 448 pp. Illus. Maps. Appen. Notes. Bib. $28.
Reviewed by Deborah Kidwell
Although the United States was losing the war militarily in its initial stages, as Bing West argues in this book, by the fall of 2006 the hard work, expertise, and determination of military personnel in theater had quelled the insurgency, significantly reduced the violence, and provided at least the possibility of success for a stable and self-sustaining Iraq. West credits warriors like Marine Major Douglas Zembiec, killed in Baghdad in 2007, the leadership of General David Petraeus, and the counterinsurgency methods advocated by Army FM 3-24 for the improvement. The book's title derives from a comment West attributed to an Iraqi colonel in 2004: "Americans," he had said, "are the strongest tribe."