I think it's important for thoughtful Americans to understand some background on these military adventures.
One of the most devastating accounts of that fiasco was the book by that title, Fiasco, the American Military Adventure in Iraq, by Thomas Ricks. The planning for and execution of the early stages of that war were abysmal. Much of the problem seems to have been with Pentagon planners eager to satisfy the White House -- Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld -- who were determined to present the coming war in as rosy a picture as possible -- quick and easy. Ricks states that under Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith, the Pentagon concocted "the worst war plan in American history," with insufficient troops and no thought for the invasion's aftermath. Anyone who keeps up with developments in Iraq knows this now, but Rick's book was published in 2006 and at the time, caused no little controversy. Bob Woodward's books, Bush at War, and Plan of Attack, provided interesting insights into the Bush White House's "seat of pants" approach to critical national defense issues, although Woodward's writing style is somewhat wooden, especially in comparison with Rick's.
Where Men Win Glory, the Odyssey of Pat Tillman. I had to stop reading it at night before bed, because the story of how the Bush Administration and the Pentagon betrayed an honorable, heroic man made me so angry and upset I could not sleep. Most people probably know by now that Tillman was killed by the men in his own platoon; an event termed "friendly fire" by the military -- an oxymoron if there ever was one. But few people know the full story of how first the Army, and then the Bush White House, went to great extremes to keep the public, and even the Tillman family in the dark about what really happened. The actions of the Army and the Administration were so egregious that it makes one literally ill to read about it.
And here we are, about to elect representatives to lead us in the difficult times ahead. As we ponder how to cast our votes, I think it's important to revisit past glories.