Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq Summary

The SQUEEZE: Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq is a behind-the-scenes account of the activities leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the early months after occupation. Both Gordon and Trainor, two military analysts, offer a comprehensive, balanced examination of why the Iraqi insurgency initially developed. Their discussion derives from an investigation of classified documents, access to a wide range of materials, and access to high levels of U.S. and Iraqi military and government personnel. In Cobra II, Gordon and Trainor provide ample detail of meetings, correspondence, and countries that considered joining the “Coalition of the Willing.” The book reconstructs battles and discusses the failures of U.S. intelligence. Cobra II is considered the preeminent source of information for both pre-war and post-war operations.

Notable Endorsement: “A work of prodigious research, Cobra II will likely become the benchmark by which other histories of the Iraq invasion are measured.”—The New York Times

Common Q’s Answered by this Book:

  • What are some political and economic factors that contributed to the initial occupation of Iraq?
  • What links can be derived from a review of classified documents and a discussion with high-level military officials?
  • What principal battles led to the revelation that U.S. intelligence failed to provide insight into how to navigate effectively through the Iraq occupation?


About the Author: Michael R. Gordon is the chief military correspondent for The New York Times. Both Gordon and Trainor have co-authored multiple books together, writing extensively within the context of military journalism. Gordon is notably the first to report about Saddam Hussein’s declaration of the country’s nuclear weapons program. The title of the article was: “U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts” (August 2002). Gordon has published in Survival and Foreign Policy, receiving a George Polk Award for international reporting. Gordon completed a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University, a master’s degree from Columbia University, and a master’s of science degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. For more information, visit: A journalist and retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant general, Bernard E. Trainor works as a chief military correspondent for The New York Times. Trainor retired from the military with 39 years of service, subsequently beginning his career as a military analyst for NBC. As an analyst, he has written two books. Trainor served as the director of the National Security Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. For more information, visit:

Book Vitals:

Publisher: Vintage (February 2007) 

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