Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Iraq War, (2003- ): A First Draft of History

One of several balls I'm juggling at the moment is that of my responsibilities as an asociate editor of the Encyclopedia of War and American Society (Sage, forthcoming). Back in June I commissioned an author to prepare the entry for the Iraq War (2003- ). He was none other than my beloved undergraduate mentor Williamson "Wick" Murray, who with Gen. Robert H. Scales, co-wrote The Iraq War: A Military History, one of the first and best "instant books" to emerge from the "major combat operations" stage of the conflict.

Since the war is a moving target, I have periodically updated Wick's original entry while trying not to lose the flavor of his inimitable take-no-prisoners prose. (I did modify the entry so as to take one or two prisoners, but we're roughing them up in a basement somewhere.) Recently the encyclopedia's senior editor, Peter Karsten of the University of Pittsburgh, pruned some of the operational detail in the entry so as to make room for more "war and society" stuff. I asked Pete for permission to post the most recent draft on War Historian, and he and the press have given me the nod to do so. To give readers of War Historian a sense of what the editorial process is like, I'm eventually going to post Wick's original entry and my first rewrite.

(Incidentally, if it sounds funny that I'd rewrite Wick's prose, please bear in mind that I was for several years one of Wick's graduate research associates and that this arrangement became fairly routine between us. Remind me to tell you the story sometime of the introduction to the 1996 Cambridge University Press book, The Making of Strategy: Rulers, States, and War.)

The links below take you to the most recent version of the entry. I had to strip out some of the "track changes" codes, but I left a few--as well as Pete Karsten's (PK's) queries--to convey some idea of what the editorial process is like.

All of the articles that follow are under copyright protection. Read, learn, enjoy, but don't try anything cute. Remember, if you plagiarize, it means the terrorists have won.

Iraq War (2003 - )
Planning for War
The March to Baghdad
The Insurgency
The Impact at Home
Back Matter
Appendix A: Wick's Original Draft [To be posted on Monday, Jan. 31]
Appendix B: Mark's First Revision Draft [To be posted on Monday, Jan. 31]
Appendix C: Issues Raised By the Online Publication of Work in Progress
Appendix D: Summary of Comments Received [To be posted Wednesday, February 2]

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