As with any information now days I tend to be skeptical. Throughout my life news media taught me to be this way by misrepresenting the truth. The book contains a lot of history about the Arab people. A lot of intelligence the author says is true based on the intelligence his company has gathered. Some of the things he is talking about in the book (written in 2004) are coming to fruition recently. It's fascinating stuff. If you are interested in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars at all it is worth your time to listen to. Enjoy!
Reports come in on a daily basis of dead and wounded in Iraq. Protests come from all sides demanding that we get out and bring our boys home. Critics argue that we are just over there for the oil. So how did we end up fighting a war in Iraq? George Friedman takes us inside the Intelligence community and back to the beginnings of al-Qa'ida. To understand today's issues in the Middle East Friedman helps us to understand the history of Muslim fighters in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Kosovo. He helps us to navigate the lies that are so critical in times of war. He drives home that it is a war that is being fought right here on our U.S. soil. This is a struggle that will affect all of us here in America for many years to come. This is information that every American needs to know and understand.
I've listened to all of the 9-11 hearings and had read a number of things about Al Qaeda and homeland security prior to the attacks. I found this book to be fantastic, not because it helps explain some of the inexplicable moves of the Bush administration (though it does that), but because of the "Great Power" perspective Friedman sheds.
In fact, listening to this book is much like listening to an analysis of European Wars by Machiavelli--while I don't know how much of his judgment is correct, it's an approach that we don't encounter in the mainstream media of the left or the right.
The two concerns I have about the book are: the author seems to give a short shrift to long term strategic power and alliances, describing things in only the near term and the validity of what is going on within the different governments that are inscrutable to us ordinary mortals.
All in all, a solid read, and I would recommend it.
I rank this book as one of most important I've read this year. Like many, I found myself polarized by 9/11 and the run up to the Iraq War. I came to my own conclusions about what was happening and why. Friedman's fine book showed me that I had alot to learn. He makes a point of avoiding emotional approaches, choosing to focus on the political and historical underpinnings of the current situation, and how the conflict has actually played out. I recommend it to anyone, left or right, who truly cares about our collective future. Friedman has 'turned on the lights'.
This is a superb book that everyone should read. Well written, comprehensive, and honest. I only wish there were more. It doesn't lays out success and failure without grinding any partisan axes.
This book is a must read / listen for anyone who was enhralled by 'Against all enemies' (however with less politics) or 'Plan of Attack'. If your desire is to understand our enemy and the decisions made by our government in times of war, you need to stop watching the news and read this book. I come from a mentality that politics and war is more than ideals and that you are wasting your time if you take a backwards naive approach to this war by spouting 'nuke 'em all!'. America is the only superpower, no doubt, but has only been so for the last 40-50 years and I do not want to share the fate of the USSR, of whom I never thought would become what it is at present...myself being a child of the Cold War.
This book is outstanding in discussing, in plain terms for all to understand, how we have arrived in the position we are today with Islamic terrorists and how decisions of the past, and decisions of the present, will determine our future on a global scale. There is no bias in this book and it is rich in information that I just absorbed like a sponge...being a political science junkie. If you are considering whether to buy this book, stop reading this and add it to your cart, you will not be dissappointed!
If you've already read Intelligence Matters by Bob Graham or have followed U.S. involvement in the Middle East at anything but an introductory level, you won't find anything new here. Like Intelligence Matters, America's Secret War is plagued by a dull narrator.
America's Secret War trots out the same picture of disparate U.S. intelligence agencies and goes on to lay out elements of U.S. involvement in the Middle East without providing enough context to really tie things together.
For a good political read full of drama, depth and detail, check out Charlie Wilson's War. After reading CWW, America's Secret War seemed boring and redundant.
This book is the most outstanding analysis of the war to date. Easy to follow and easy to listen. I have been a subscriber to Friedman's "Stratfor" geopolitical analysis service for quite some time. Dr. Friedmans book is right on. The book is neither pro nor con regarding the administration. Although he is tough on "Rummy". If you are a Bush hater/progressive don't bother with this book, your mind is made up. If you want to know the background of why we did what we did in Iraq then this book is for you. Get it!
This book is loaded with very good analysis of the Terrorist activities. The narrator is kind of monotonous, but the contents keep you hooked.