An essential account of the struggle against ISIS—and President Trump’s way of war
In 2014, President Obama overcame his long-standing aversion to large-scale military action in the Middle East and took the United States to war against the Islamic State. Assembling a coalition of regional and European allies, the U.S. military began a massive bombing campaign and returned its advisers to Iraq. Three years later, the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate straddling the Syria-Iraq border was apparently on the brink of collapse, as its key strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa fell to U.S.-supported forces. But was the war really over?
In Degrade and Destroy, Michael R. Gordon, the bestselling author and former New York Times national security specialist, reveals the debates, diplomacy, and military strategy that have shaped the struggle against the Islamic State. With extraordinary access to the White House, the intelligence community, and top generals, Gordon offers a riveting narrative. We see Hillary Clinton plotting to arm the Syrian rebels over the president’s objections; her Pentagon colleagues attempting to plan a war even as Russians, Turks, and Gulf allies complicate or frustrate every move; and Kurdish fighters battling house to house. Gordon also offers the most detailed narrative we have of how President Trump conducts a war—giving his generals greater freedom to make their own decisions while practicing diplomacy in a haphazard and sometimes self-sabotaging manner.
With the region in disarray, Gordon’s stark account raises a crucial question: The United States and its allies may have won a war, but will they once again lose the peace?
About the Author
Michael R. Gordon is the national security correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and former chief military correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author, with Ret. Gen. Bernard Trainor, of the bestsellers Cobra II and The Generals’ War, and of The Endgame.