14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: American Soldier (Hardcover)
It is a difficult thing to find fault with a man who has served his country as long as General Franks, but these peans (what else can you call them) to his sagacity and ability call into question the ability of the readers to compare the written word to reality. The fact that Tommy Franks flew out of Baghdad at the moment of his "triumph" negates the fact that the city, indeed the entire nation, was dissolving into flames and chaos while his troops sat on their asses out at the airport. This course of events was due to two decisions that were of Franks own making (or, at the very least, he acquiesced in them). One was the idiotic adhearence ro Rumsfelds' "low footprint" dictum and the other was buying into the most complete American intelligence failure since the run-up to the Tet Offensive of 1968.
The first failure was conditioned by the collapse of the Taliban and the "easy victory" in Afghanistan. The fact that Bin Laden and the bulk of AQ escaped over the mountains into Pakistan (again due to Rumsfelds' sagacity) seemed to have slipped everyone's minds in the equation. The second (which compares only to the Whermacht's complete underestion of Soviet strength and capabilities prior to Operation Barbarossa) illustrates the state into which American intelligence collection and interpretation had fallen in the age of "elint" as opposed to "humint". Weapons of mass destruction vs. guerrilla fanatics roving in technicals.
I suppose that the outcome of all this serves only to illustrate the sorry state into which the American military high command has fallen in the post WWII era. The joint chiefs have become yes men, agreeing with the political higher-ups on every hair-brained scheme they demand, regardless of whether the military authorities truely agree on implementation or not. Vietnam - a guerrilla war (at least at the outset) being fought by a military system designed and armed (strategicaly and doctrinaly) for a nuclear confrontation with the Soviets in Europe. The joint chiefs never liked it, but it was the "only war they had."
William Westmoreland - the only American general to "lose" a war (and who designed the strategy in SEA) - promoted to the joint chiefs. Franks - the implementator of the "victory" in Iraq - flying away and leaving the debacle to others who took four more years to decide (or admit) that they were fighting a another counter-insurgency war. It's not like they were not forewarned, but history (which I assume they teach at West Point) seemed never to have forearmed them. A simple study of the British (or Soviet) experience in Central Asia (or the French experience in Indochina) should have set off some warning bells, but American hubris has never been known for its subtlety.
And we are still in Afghanistan. And we are still in Iraq.
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Initial post: Nov 27, 2012 1:05:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2012 8:37:10 PM PST
Lee Carzo says:
Well, he won the war and toppled Saddam, right? What the heck you want him to do? Take over the country to be the next emperor and solve the Middle East problem?
Posted on Apr 7, 2014 10:50:44 AM PDT
Laplace Transform says:
Good comments and analysis of what has happned, and yes it relates to the activities of GEN Franks while he was at CENTCOM. But I wouldn't exactly call what you wrote a "review," moreso an editorial opinion on some historical events. You appear smart and well-read on the topics at hand; what did you think of the book??
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