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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AN EXCELLENT EVALUATION OF NEOCON PHILOSOPHY & ITS EFFECTS: NIXON TO OBAMA
Four and a half ENGROSSING Stars! "The Forty Years War" is an enjoyable investigative work of recent history and political machinations concerning "neo-conservatives", their philosophy, and events they influenced at the highest levels of government. They are one of the most distinctive political camps in America and therefore should get our attention, whether we agree...
Published on December 13, 2009 by RSProds

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neo-Con Era at an End ?
The authors would have you believe that the era of the neo-cons is over with the election of Barack Obama as the American President in 2008, which is not true. Mr Obama's top financial backers since 2004, the year Obama was elected U.S. Senator from Illinois, have been the Crown & Pritzker families of Chicago, both families are very pro Zionist, so IMHO neo-conism is...
Published on February 25, 2012 by Ms.Beyonce


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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AN EXCELLENT EVALUATION OF NEOCON PHILOSOPHY & ITS EFFECTS: NIXON TO OBAMA, December 13, 2009
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RSProds "rbsprods" (Deep in the heart of Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama (Hardcover)
Four and a half ENGROSSING Stars! "The Forty Years War" is an enjoyable investigative work of recent history and political machinations concerning "neo-conservatives", their philosophy, and events they influenced at the highest levels of government. They are one of the most distinctive political camps in America and therefore should get our attention, whether we agree with them or not. This book by authors Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman covers events and key personnel from Nixon to Obama seen in a different light. Neocons are more complex than simply being militaristic 'hawks' and some originate from an unexpected source. They adhere to the political philosophy of author, scholar, military educator, and political advisor Dr. Fritz G. A. Kraemer (1908-2003), a alluring man "with two doctorates [law and economics] and a rapier of an intellect". Born in Germany, he fought the Nazis and communists before emigrating to the USA and joining the Army, receiving a battlefield commission and a Bronze Star at the WW-II's Battle of the Bulge. Neocons include the likes of Kraemer protégés Henry Kissinger (who evolved in a direction explained in the book) & Alexander Haig, former Democrats Paul Wolfowitz & Richard Perle, diplomat Vernon Walters, James Schlesinger, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Democrat "Scoop" Jackson, and Douglas Feith, and many others. And what these Neocons have been up to over the last 7 presidential administrations may amaze some and disturb others, as they have waged 40 years of political war with opposing forces.

Along the way, the book cites fascinating moments, people, and key organizations in our history: the true origins of the "Nixon doctrine", the Coalition for a Democratic Majority, the "salted peanuts" memo, "dead keys", Vietnam, Watergate, the SALT II tribulations, an openly weeping President Lon Nol, Nixon's 'Saturday Night Live' TV show surprise, China, the U.S.S.R, "Team B", Iran-Contra, Lebanon, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), Afghanistan, Iraq, right up to the Obama administration. While I don't agree with everything here, the authors provide alternative food for thought and do cover a lot of ground in a highly-readable, deeply-investigated, and informative manner. The neocon impact on recent history, like it or not, as cited in "The Forty Years War", makes for compelling reading which may cause your view of certain recent events and key historical players to change significantly in terms of 'why' certain events happened or did not happen. Highly Recommended as a great feat of historical scholarship. Four and a half ENGROSSING Stars (This review is based on a Kindle 2 download, reviewed in text-to-speech and written modes.)
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who was Fritz Kraemer and Why Should I Care?, December 21, 2009
This review is from: The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama (Hardcover)
I must preface my comments with the admission that I played a small role in the development of this book, offering comments to the authors based on my 12 years as supervisory archivist for the Nixon tapes.

There are many reasons to read, and to write, history. One of those reasons is to aid our understanding of how we as a nation got to where we are today. By elucidating the role of Fritz Kraemer's philosophy on policy-makers over the past 40 years, the authors have added to this understanding.

Richard Nixon admired men with strong personalities (John Connally and Bob Haldeman, for example) and people with strong beliefs (Catholics, for example). Nixon was so interested in Kraemer's beliefs, although he did not share them, that he asked Kissinger to bring him in for a conversation. This was a signal mark of respect by Nixon, who accorded it to very few other people. It marks Kraemer as a first-rate intellect.

Colodny & Schachtman demonstrate the influence that Kraemer and his ideas had on two generations of policy-makers at the highest echelons of the government. Of course, the concept of projecting strength is not new; in a sense, it lay behind the creation and implementation of the Cold War containment strategy of surrounding the communist states with American-led military alliances with their forward bases. It lies behind the strategic concept of the aircraft carrier and airborne divisions. The Soviets used the same concept in building the Cuban missile bases that led to the 1962 crisis.

So, Kraemer was not an original thinker, but he was an influential one. He contrasted Nixon's foreign policy pragmatism with his own philosophical idealism. American foreign policy in the 20th century can be seen as vacillating between idealism (Wilson's 14 Points and the Kellogg--Briand pact)and pragmatism (our support for friendly dictators). For 40 years Kraemer personally influenced policy-makers from Haig & Kissinger to Rumsfeld & Cheney, as the authors demonstrate.

The militarist philosophy he espoused is exemplified today by the enormous military/industrial complex against which Dwight Eisenhower warned us. It is so ingrained in our political life that there was no "peace dividend" when the Cold War ended. Even now, with huge budget deficits, no major politican in either party is suggesting significant reductions in the size of our current military establishment, which reputedly is larger than the next two dozen countries combined.

This huge military establishment begs to be used, or mis-used, as it was in the second Iraq war. The response to the 9/11 attacks was invasion of Afghanistan and the on-going effort to defeat the Taliban, rather than focusing on defeating terrorists. We are muddling ourselves out of Iraq, after having inflicted enormous damage on that country and its people. Even though the American military has shown no special talent for defeating insurgencies, the President is sending more troops to Afghanistan. Fritz Kraemer would be pleased.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking history, December 9, 2009
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Ray Locker (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama (Hardcover)
Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman break new ground in modern history by fully exploring the influential role played by longtime military adviser Fritz Kraemer, the man who discovered Henry Kissinger and brought Alexander Haig into the Nixon administration's National Security Council. Kraemer's influence continues to this day, as former vice president Dick Cheney echoes Kraemer's belief in the dangers of provocative weakness. Many books have explored the relationship between Kissinger and Richard Nixon. Few have mentioned Kraemer more than briefly. The Forty Years War more than makes up for that omission, and for this alone, it should be considered a groundbreaking work of history.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nixon and the Unthinkable, October 7, 2010
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This review is from: The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama (Hardcover)
Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman's "The Forty Years War" is a welcome addition to the growing literature of "neoconology". Where some (see Justin Raimondo) have focused on the social democratic - and indeed Trotskyite roots of the "classic neocons", others have focused on the Cheney - Rumsfeld "Vulcans" (see James Mann) - the hawks of the Bush cabinet. In the later case the "neocon" label is usually applied with loose fit. This book fills a gap by bringing the two streams together.

Where others have focused on Irving Kristol or Leo Strauss as "the neocon godfather", Colodny and Shachtman find another contender, Fritz Kraemer, a German American defense policy wonk. As portrayed, Kraemer emerges as a kind of old school Prussian militarist, who came to give his fealty to Democracy (with a capital D) not the Kaiser. He was an in house Pentagon guru and a mentor to Kissinger before they fell out. Numerous Washington hawks fell under Kraemer's spell, including Alexander Haig, Ford's Secretary of Defense- James Schelsinger and most of the later day neocons. Kraemer wanted Democracy to pursue aggressive military superiority versus totalitarian foreign enemies, and saw diplomacy, loss of focus and 'weakness' as the domestic enemy. You get the impression Kraemer loved Democracy in abstracto, it was just real world democratic politics he couldn't understand.

Although subtitled the rise and fall of the neocons, "The Forty Years War" really focuses on the Nixon-Ford era. This comproses at least two thirds of a book that is more Nixon history than neocon history. I was surprised to learn that it was Nixon, not Kissinger, who was the real father of detente. He nurtured the idea prior to his 1968 election and had to convert Kissinger, his new Kraemerite recruit to the need for a very non-Kraemerite diplomatic road to Moscow. Nixon really had left his ice cold warrior phase behind, even if his liberal critics, perhaps still smarting over Hiss, never quite got the memo.

Nixon's detente ultimately left his right wing exposed. Many Conservatives were unwilling to defend him when he most needed their help. Cullodny, who authored "Silent Coup", a Watergate revisionist book, saw the right exercising a more active role in his demise. He sees Alexander Haig as wanting Nixon out of the White House before any detailed Senate impeachment trial could get near the Moorer / Radford spy case. This is a little known, if somewhat amateurish, case where the Joint Chiefs of Staff conducted an illegal operation to spy on Kissinger and his secret diplomacy. Nixon discovered the plot and let the plotters know he knew. Rather than sack JCS Chairman Admiral Moorer, Nixon left him in place, presumably to increase his leverage over the Pentagon whilst he redirected US foreign policy. During the Frost Nixon interviews Nixon maintained that "the plumbers" were necessary to ensure security for his foreign policy reformation. At the time, this was seen as self serving, but presumably this affair was on Nixon's mind.

When Colodny's "Silent Coup" first proposed Nixon was removed to serve military interests, it was thrown into the 'conspiracy theory' bin. Subsequent revelation that Mark Felt (head of the FBI's "Cointelpro" dirty tricksdepartment boss) was "Deep Throat", should have convinced serious historians that another look is required. Perhaps Felt was more a player than a whistleblower. Cullodny also discusses the Haig and Bob Woodward links. Woodward, no Robert Redford, was Haig and Moorer's ex briefing officer before he quit the navy to turn reporter. At that time young officers rarely obtained early release from their stints. Woodward was out a year early. Woodward's string of later books, according to Cullodny, share a common theme. All boost the credentials of the uniformed military and manage to direct all criticism back to the civilians. Woodward's employer "The Washington Post" had CIA connections going back through Philip Graham to "Operation Mockingbird", a program to influence the domestic and international media.

It was also during the Nixon era that the original alliance between the GOP hawks and the "classic" neocons was forged. Nixon needed the "Scoop Jackson" Democrats to get his program through Congress where the GOP lacked the numbers. Kissinger and Nixon saw the ABM program as a useful diplomatic bargaining chip, so they were happy to let the Scoop squad manage ABM in Congress. The Wolfowitzes and co learned their craft on ABM. When Kissinger cashed this chip on the diplomatic table, the neocons saw it as a sell out. ABM was revived under Reagan as Star Wars, although the neocons would turn on Reagan too, although some would label themselves "neo-Reaganites", but only after airbrushing Reykjavik from memory.

There are some other sidelights that stand out from his narrative. Remember the "Huston Plan"? This was a proposal from the dark recesses of the Nixon administration to severely restrict civil liberties, allow covert interception, black bag operations etc. In reality Attorney General Mitchell, horrified by the plan and ordered it "deep sixed" once he got wind of it. Colodny makes the ironic observation that compared the PATRIOT ACT, Huston actually looks mild. Then there is the "unitary executive theory" - promoted by Cheney and the ill named 'Federalist Society'. Nixon ("when the President does it , it isn't illegal") was perhaps a practitioner rather than a theorist of "UET". This is what ultimately did him in.

"The Forty Years War" is large and detailed rich. The writing style is workman-like but the historical analysis is superior.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Rediscovery of History, March 25, 2013
I am old enough to have lived through most of the time period in which this book is immersed. I was not even able to vote yet when Nixon lost his job, but I remember having the sense that he was really trying to do right for the American people at the time. Imagine my surprise when I learned that Al Haig basically tricked "Tricky Dick" into resigning.

The 40 Years War is full of eye-opening revelations about how our country is run and the sorts of characters that wield the most power. It is a book that every American should be required to read, so that we can remain vigilant when misguided power mongers would misdirect our future.

Colodny and Shachtman give us a well-researched, detailed view of the neo-conservative movement and how it was able to gain a footing in government starting with Nixon and culminating in the George W. Bush administration. I suspect that 9/11 conspiracy theorists could use this telling of history as further evidence that nefarious elements within our government are capable of almost anything. The USPATRIOT act stands on our books as the greatest curtailment of the rule of law in our history. Read the book and understand how these events could even be possible in the United States of America.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Master Manipulator -- General Alexander Haig, February 5, 2011
In the first part of this book, "Book One", to page 224, the authors report the behind the scenes efforts of multiple people to undermine Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, guided by Fritz Kraemer, working from the Pentagon.

General Haig is shown to be an ambitious and master manipulator, who undermined Nixon, and could easily have been charged with treason had his actions been known. His Wikipedia profile reports none of what is in this book, and someone needs to update it: [...].

Haig's mastery of manipulation is shown by Nixon's advice to Gerald Ford to retain Haig as chief of staff, because "he was always loyal to the commander he served." Nixon didn't know that Haig's intellectual commander was Fritz Kraemer and other neocons.

Fred Buzhardt, Nixon's counsel who was supposed to be defending him, in the portrayal in this book, had at best conflicts of interest, or was incompetent, or was in cahoots with Haig in removing Nixon from office.

In the second part of the book (which I haven't read yet), many of these same neocons who brought Nixon down play important roles in the following presidencies, particularly George W. Bush's and the Iraq war.

This book is a look behind the scenes starting with Nixon that just has me shaking my head!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FRITZ KRAEMER AND THE FOURTH REICH, February 3, 2012
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Fritz Kraemer is certainly a mysterious and important figure. For many years prior to her death in 1988, Mae Brussell tried to unearth information about him to answer an important historical puzzle: was he the SAME Fritz Kraemer who was a top General for Adolph Hitler in WWII?? Given Operation Sunrise, Paperclip, etc., it would certainly be possible that he was recruited by the OSS, ONI and the Pentagon and secretly brought to the US after the war. (I've just ordered this book so have not read it yet)
The extraordinary secrecy and lack of information about him prevented Mae Brussell from ever gaining any definitive information. I would suggest this tight control and lack of information may suggest the answer to her question is very well positive.
That would certainly explain the neo-cons fascist programs and policies, their advocacy and practice of deceit, agressive wars and destruction of individual rights and liberties, among their many atrocities.
When high level Nazis went underground starting in 1943 (De Spinne and Odessa), their plans were to establish the Underground Reich. For this effort, they were extremely successful in dispersing individuals, assets, industrial materials, artwork and massive financial assets overseas (i.e., Egypt, South Africa, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, etc.). Martin Bormann was the top man in charge of the Underground Reich - assisted by many others from the German military, industry, finance, etc. Otto Skorzeny was a very important high level figure in this who went to Egypt in the years after the end of the war. We were told, of course, that these figures died during or at the end of the war as cover for their ongoing work. Their allies in the West, especially in business, finance, politics and the US military and intelligence agencies recruited them and covered up their identities and ongoing nefarious activities. Researcher Dave Emory describes the Underground Reich: "An entity which maintains the long-term interests of German-based multinational conglomerates, it includes heavy industry, chemicals, communications, as well as international shipping, banking and financial interests." He says that the many units which make up the "Underground Reich," having survived World War II, persist and flourish as major components of the current global capital elite. (Keep in mind that Germany was defeated militarily; Nazism was neither defeated nor destroyed)
Read up on the history of the Bush family, especially Prescott Bush, to learn about one of the top level groups that worked tirelessly to establish a New Reich, re-christened a "New World Order." You will then understand why the policies of the Bush/Cheney regime so closely mirrored those of Germany in the 1930's and 40's.
Fritz Kraemer, at a very high level in the Pentagon, has been a key and essential player in this whole scenario.
Is the underground Reich real and has it been influential? My answer has two parts: First, their initial goal for post-war Nazism was to pit the US and the Soviet Union against each other; hopefully to eradicate Communism and make the US susceptible to infiltration and ultimate control. It was within 2 years of the end of WWII that the "Cold War" began, precisely pitting the US and the Soviet Union against each other.
Several decades later, Communism did indeed disappear.
Second, the long range goal of the Underground Reich was to ultimately turn the United States into the Fourth Reich. With ongoing endless global wars of aggression, the eradication of fundamental rights that were essential and primary to the United States' original core political principles (see the grotesquely misnamed "Patriot Act I and II"), the elimination of habeus corpus (a legal foundation for liberty that dates back to the Magna Carta), the President (both Bush AND Obama) claiming the right for extra-judicial assassination (i.e., targeted MURDER w/o evidence, trial, or any due process at all) incl. of US citizens, the suppression of dissent in the US, the complete subjugation of political, legal and financial interests and rights to the Corporate elite and the Warfare State, etc., etc., would suggest the record is starkly clear.
Do you need any more evidence that the Nazis - via the Underground Reich - have also achieved that long range goal?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a well researched scholarly historical report, April 27, 2010
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This review is from: The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama (Hardcover)
I have been waiting for a well researched, scholarly, non-fictional historical report of the influences of military conservatives for a very long time. The only thing that could be better is first hand confessions of the underhanded, unAmerican actions by the NEOCONS and military conservatives but hell will freeze over before we get that and some of them are now dead and have been judged. This is an UNDENIABLE smoking gun of the disengenuous actions of a group of unAmericans used to further their own goals and feather their own nests. I just wished the authors had started with the Tonkin Gulf incident which even Robert McNamara and the US Navy admit...NEVER HAPPENED. Or perhaps the attack on the USS Liberty. This book moves that claims that many of us have had for many years OUT of the realm of conspiracy theories and into the camp of historical facts. The more Americans that read and accept this book for what it is, the better off America will be. I put this book in the same group as Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler's book, "War is a Racket" and Robert McNamara's "The Fog of War" (DVD). In his farewell address to the nation, George Washington warned America of people who are more loyal to ONE MAN or ONE PARTY than to the CONSTITUTION and the American PEOPLE.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neo-Con Era at an End ?, February 25, 2012
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This review is from: The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama (Hardcover)
The authors would have you believe that the era of the neo-cons is over with the election of Barack Obama as the American President in 2008, which is not true. Mr Obama's top financial backers since 2004, the year Obama was elected U.S. Senator from Illinois, have been the Crown & Pritzker families of Chicago, both families are very pro Zionist, so IMHO neo-conism is still alive and well under a different name. In regard to Haig, the authors, I believe the authors while critics of the General, are not strong enough is their condemnation of his perfidy in the Watergate Affair and other acts of treason.The same goes for Kissinger , Fritz Kraemer, and others. A new book AGAINST THEM by Tegan Mathis, which is about " Watergate ", raises Haig's and Dick Cheney's role in the events surrounding Mr. Nixon' removal as President. This book, AGAINST THEM is not an easy read, and has in my opinion many dubious conclusions. I about half way through AGAINST THEM.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full of Surprises and Important Insights, December 19, 2010
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I was a teenager when I sat on the couch in small town central Ohio watching the Watergate hearings on TV and telling mom I thought Dean was lying. Thirty years later I read Dean's book Conservatives without a Conscience and thought he was an honorable man trying to make amends and do what was right. This book sheds new light on his role and that of many more who are more important characters in the drama in Washington DC. Reading between the lines, the neoconservative movement was just one aspect of a multifaceted approach the military had at that time of undermining America's Presidents, imposing their own preferences over those of the people. I did not realize that Bob Woodward was military intelligence or that the military helped him get his job at the Post without the necessary experience to be a reporter (he had to leave and go to another less prestigeous newspaper with the aid of the military once it was realized how difficult it really is to be a reporter). Nor did I realize that his books clearly serve the preferences of the military and their supporters in Washington. The book is a good summary of the Nixon era and a quick summary of the neoconservative operations since then and their impact on our country.
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