by Jerry O’Driscoll
Summer reading is eclectic and before getting to my second installment of notes on This Time is Different, I want to recommend a non-economics book. A Chance in Hell by Jim Michaels is a riveting account of how the military and political situation turned in Anbar province in Western Iraq. It is first and foremost an account of courage: that of a minor Sunni Sheik, Abdul Sattar Bezia, who led an uprising against al-Qaeda, and the American officers, led by Col. Sean MacFarland, who backed him.
Together they snatched victory from defeat in the battle for Ramadi. The much-discussed troop “surge” came only one year later, and Ramadi was already largely won. It is questionable whether the elements that made for that victory can be replicated in Afghanistan. But reading this book is the best way to understand what did happen.
On to financial crisis. Continue reading