Lakeville author brings Iraq home
by Jeff Achen
It’s easy to get discouraged when perusing news about
Iraq these days. There are bombings, mishandling of cultural
and logistical issues and political wrangling. But, there’s
also hope, hard work and accomplishment in Iraq if someone
cares enough to look below the surface.
In his new book Adjust Fire: Transforming to Win in Iraq, Lakeville
resident and retired Lt. Col. Michael A. Baumann gives
readers more than just a glimpse of the real Iraq. He
chronicles his tour in a Baghdad neighborhood commanding an
Army field artillery battalion from March 2004 to March 2005
in great detail and with great insight and analysis.
isn’t just another grunt’s take on the brutality of war, and
it’s not a general’s view from the cheap seats. Baumann is a
midlevel officer with the kind of command experience that
gives him perspective on the big picture and the day-to-day
challenges of our uniformed men and women.
readers through daily life in Iraq, operational planning and
the emotional hardships of his command with literary skill,
honesty, insight and a critical mind. Perhaps the most
appealing thing about this military man’s account is his
transparency, a rare look at the thought process behind his
daily decisions and feelings while serving as a commander.
Adjust Fire appeals to those familiar to military
literature as well as civilians with little interest in a
rigid military memoir. It offers the average reader a
front-row seat to both the day-to-day action and the command
center policy implementation process through a compelling
narrative that evokes emotion.
Baumann’s rank, education
and career experience enable him to tell a story of Army
operations and American involvement in Iraq that is
especially relevant as we enter 2008 and one that has yet to
be revealed in the military memoirs and books already on the
Baumann outlines how his conventional
rocket artillery battalion, like many Army units deploying
to Iraq, faced a difficult transformation into a
counter-insurgent infantry unit, but doesn’t stop there.
Laying out what he calls the “Mahalla plan for victory,”
Baumann shares how democracy should be fostered at the
neighborhood level in Iraq. Mahalla is the smallest area of
a district neighborhood in an Iraqi city. Baumann argues
that, by shifting political governance into localized
councils while also establishing local policing and
strengthening the Iraqi army, Iraq could begin to stand on
This book will help readers understand the
complexity of the war in Iraq with greater clarity and
accuracy. From the politics of military command, to women in
combat, to helping build Iraq’s local security forces and
governing bodies, Baumann provides a quality of detail,
analysis and commentary that is truly unique, enlightening
and compelling. He shares his insights on the U.S.
military’s mission, soldier training, Iraq cultural
understanding and political and military leadership bringing
new ideas to the table and suggesting practical changes to
the present course of action that resonate with promise.
For more information on the book, visit
Jeff Achen can be reached at thisweek-online.com.