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America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and Its Enemies Paperback – October 11, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
As founder and chairman of Stratfor Forecasting ("predictive, insightful global intelligence," its Web site states), Friedman is in the business of gathering information and predicting outcomes of global conflicts for businesses and governments. Following up on The Future of War, he assesses the causes, players and parameters of what he calls "the fourth global war"September 11th and its aftermathfrom the perspective of the company. Much of whats here will be familiar to readers of the 9/11 report or the reams of news coverage over the last three years. Yet Friedmans stock-taking exercise is compelling as a distillation of corporate intelligence, where the spin is less about maintaining the image of particular politicians or governments, and more about being right so that money can be made.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Friedman is right when he says that his book may be "vigorously attacked." His (quite reasonable) portrayal of George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden as "skilled and dedicated men" is sure to anger readers looking for easy characterizations. But there is nothing easy about the post-September 11, 2001, world. Any study of the period immediately following the terrorist attacks inevitably raises more questions than it answers. What did the U.S. intelligence community know, and when did they know it? Was there sufficient advance knowledge to permit the U.S. government to defend itself against the attacks? Was President Bush misleading the world when he launched his search for weapons of mass destruction? And how, exactly, has Osama bin Laden managed to escape? Friedman answers what he can, suggests explanations for things that are murky, and gives us fistfuls of new ideas to consider. This isn't the definitive book on the subject, but it delivers a clearer, deeper, and subtler understanding of the post-9/11 world than we will ever get from listening to the cacophony of talking heads on television. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
With America's Secret War though, I felt extremely impressed by Friedman's inside knowledge on the subject and although one might think that a book written ten years ago is already old news, particularly on political issues, I felt very interested in understanding the whole under-the-water maneuvering in the Middle East.
This is a compelling book for anyone with an interest in US international affairs, as well as anyone who want to have some understanding of the complex political issues on the Middle East and all its different moving parts.
I read the book almost as if I was reading a Tom Clancy novel, the sad thing is that this is very real...
Overall, interesting read, but lacks perspective on the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, which were still in their infancy at the time of publication.
The problem was that, typically enough, once the USSR collapsed, we "lost interest" in our former allies and simply abandoned them in Afghanistan. Of course, there may have been some not-so-subtle prodding from Arab regimes (such as Egypt, S.A., and Morocco) to do just that.
Also VERY interesting: 9/11 was not really "all about America." The target was the Arab states just mentioned. Al Qaeda was attempting to provoke the United States into a massive attack on the Arab world as a whole, leading to a pan-Arab Islamic revolution in which the U.S. would simply have been a patsy.
It didn't work. And understanding the strategy of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, Bill Clinton suddenly seems a lot less "lackadaisical." Like all American presidents, he was stuck with a dilemma. If we don't do ANYTHING, Americans will hate us. If we attack the Arabs, we've just been played for suckers. Clinton chose an "in-between" strategy of "ineffective response."
This book is a cram course in current geopolitics, and it is excellent. I would feel a lot more comfortable if the author were our National Security Advisor, or Secretary of State.
The usual ending: "everyone should read this book." But with a special note: "especially the 'Truthers'." This book lays it all out in open view, and shows exactly how the 9/11 hijackers came mostly from Saudi Arabia, but did not represent the WILL of the Saudi Arabian government.
No: they were trying to overthrow the Saudi Arabian government.
As a result, one comes to view the attempted charitable gift of $10 million from a Saudi royal to NYC in a very different light. Mayor Rudy was "right" to follow his guts and refuse the gift, but, like almost everyone else, he did not understand what had just happened. The Saudi royal quite likely did, and so one of the strangest moments of modern history suddenly becomes a whole lot clearer.
By the way, this book only takes the story to 2004, where the author quite rightly calls the war undecided, although looking bad for Al Qaeda. If you want the rest of the story, you'll need to look at a book like "The Gamble."
One of the best books I have ever read!