According to Greek mythology, Cassandra had been given the power of prophecy by Apollo when he tried to seduce her. When she rejected his advances, Apollo spit in her mouth thereby laying a curse that whenever she tells her prophecy, nobody would believe her. Cassandra in Oz is the story of the modern-day Cassandra, Conrad C. Crane, the author of the book. Crane, a career army officer, warned George W. Bush and his cabinet of the dangers of invading Iraq and the dire consequences it would bring on the entire Middle East. However, Bush and the bureaucrats in his cabinet, who never had any battlefield experience, refused to listen to him, because they had their own objectives in mind. However, not everybody ignored Crane’s warnings.
“Still, should politicians, American and host-nation, be blamed for failing to implement COIN properly, or should we authors of FM 3-24, be criticized for naively expecting that political leaders would pay attention to our principles or that military leaders would be able to enforce them?”
Fortunately, other military experts such as David Petraeus and James “Mad Dog” Mattis, heard Crane and approached him to ask if he could write a counterinsurgency (COIN) manual FM 3-24. Crane agreed and assembled a team of military experts from the Army, Navy, Marine, intelligence officers, as well as other experts in the subject matter. Cassandra in Oz details how Crane went about drafting the counterinsurgency manual. He goes into great detail analyzing just what exactly went wrong in Iraq as well as Afghanistan and lays out how the shortcomings would have been fixed if it wasn’t for government bureaucracy. He also criticizes Bush as well as Obama for their failed policies in regards to Iraq and Afghanistan. Crane’s book should be valuable not only to military leaders, but to policymakers and politicians as well. Now that Donald Trump is our newest president, hopefully everybody in his cabinet gets to read Cassandra in Oz and apply Crane’s brilliant analysis in order to defeat ISIS and bring stability to Iraq and Afghanistan.