While much has been made of the faulty intelligence claim that Saddam had a secret arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that was used to justify the U.S. invasion, in reality the failures of political intelligence were equally serious. Award-winning reporter Jonathan Steele reveals the disastrous mistake U.S. decision-makers made by t seeing that the post-Saddam vacuum would be filled by Shia Islamists with close ties to a resurgent Iran. They underestimated the complexity of Iraqi society and the deep well of proud nationalism that was bound to produce resistance if the U.S. did t make clear that it intended to withdraw quickly. Steele shows, for the first time, how the invasion and occupation were perceived by ordinary Iraqis whose feelings and experiences were igred by Western policymakers. The result of such arrogance, Steele demonstrates, was a failure that will forever resonate among the darkest chapters of American and British history. Blending vivid reportage, informed analysis, and powerful historical narrative Defeat is the definitive anatomy of this horrendous catastrophe.