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Download The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army epub

by David Cloud,Greg Jaffe




They were four exceptional soldiers, a new generation asked to save an army that had been hollowed out after Vietnam. They survived the military's brutal winnowing to reach its top echelon. They became the Army's most influential generals in the crucible of Iraq. Collectively, their lives tell the story of the Army over the last four decades and illuminate the path it must travel to protect the nation over the next century. Theirs is a story of successes and failures, of ambitions achieved and thwarted, of the responsibilities and perils of command. The careers of this elite quartet show how the most powerful military force in the world entered a major war unprepared, and how the Army, drawing on a reservoir of talent that few thought it possessed, saved itself from crushing defeat against a ruthless, low-tech foe. In The Fourth Star, you'll follow:•Gen. John Abizaid, one of the Army's most brilliant minds. Fluent in Arabic, he forged an unconventional path in the military to make himself an expert on the Middle East, but this unique background made him skeptical of the war he found himself leading. •Gen. George Casey Jr., the son of the highest-ranking general to be killed in the Vietnam War. Casey had grown up in the Army and won praise for his common touch and skill as a soldier. He was determined not to repeat the mistakes of Vietnam but would take much of the blame as Iraq collapsed around him. •Gen. Peter Chiarelli, an emotional, take-charge leader who, more than any other senior officer, felt the sting of the Army's failures in Iraq. He drove his soldiers, the chain of command, and the U.S. government to rethink the occupation plans–yet rarely achieved the results he sought.•Gen. David Petraeus, a driven soldier-scholar. Determined to reach the Army's summit almost since the day he entered West Point, he sometimes alienated peers with his ambition and competitiveness. When he finally got his chance in Iraq, he–more than anyone–changed the Army's conception of what was possible. Masterfully written and richly reported, The Fourth Star ranges far beyond today's battlefields, evoking the Army's tumultuous history since Vietnam through these four captivating lives and ultimately revealing a fascinating irony: In an institution that prizes obedience, the most effective warriors are often those who dare to question the prevailing orthodoxy and in doing so redefine the American way of war.
Download The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army epub
ISBN: 0307409066
ISBN13: 978-0307409065
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Leaders & Notable People
Author: David Cloud,Greg Jaffe
Language: English
Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (October 13, 2009)
Pages: 336 pages
ePUB size: 1663 kb
FB2 size: 1683 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 260
Other Formats: lit mbr lrf lrf

Xava
Great book. Not too long. Perhaps a bit more could have been said on the pre-Iraq war lives of these great men. Still, a great overview of four important Army generals of the past decade: Petraeus, Casey, Abizaid, and Chiarelli. Most know about Petraeus as a hero, and Casey and Abizaid are not so highly regarded after the difficulties during their times in Iraq. However, Jaffe and Cloud make great cases for the decency, intelligence, and competence of the non-Petraeus generals. And Petraeus is indeed one of the most impressive people one can now read about (along with General McChrystal). Amazingly intelligent, hard-working, and confident. I think ONLY someone like him and McChrystal are capable of allowing the US to leave Iraq and Afghanistan in some form of acceptability. Even then, though, "capable" may not be good enough. So my main concern with Petraeus is that I wonder if it's in his DNA to recognize when something is beyond his control. Jaffe and Cloud note that Petraeus made a mistake or two in Iraq (and he seemed to catch on to that). That's the worst thing I think I could imagine about him, and that's me struggling to offer up a potential problem. The Chiarelli story is also interesting because I think he's the least well known among the four of them, yet he went a long way in pointing out early errors and he offered important ideas that eventually became a part of improving conditions in Iraq. Overall this is an impressive four person biography that tells the larger story of how a huge government bureaucracy (the US Army) made some quick changes in the midst of challenging times to better address horrendous conditions. The four generals discussed in The Fourth Star made a lot of that happen.
Stick
The Fourth Star follows the careers of four Army officers who got started in the Army during the Vietnam era and were deeply involved in the war in Iraq towards the ends of their respective careers.

Some of the names are more familiar than others; aside from military professionals, most readers will probably not know them all (I didn't). The list: John Abizaid, George Casey, Pete Chiarelli, and David Petraeus.

All four were exceptionally talented, and none of them hesitated to buck the system. But they had vastly differing temperaments, interests, and personal styles, and the personal portraits are a treat. Casey the realist, deep thinker Abizaid, late bloomer Chiarelli, and the indomitable Petraeus.

I cannot think of a better book about what went wrong in Iraq. Not simply should we have gotten into the war or not, anyone can have an opinion about that, but how the situation turned nightmarishly bad and why subsequent efforts to things back under control so nearly ended in a debacle.

Casey and Chiarelli were in command during the worst days, and the situation kept deteriorating. Centcom Commnander Abizaid (until his retirement in May 2007) supported their efforts, but he was not able to provide the key to victory. This was not a story of incompetence, lack of effort, or reluctance to try new ideas - the key players simply could not seem to find the winning combination.

Then Petraeus returned to Iraq for his third tour of duty, taking over for Casey (who returned to Washington as the Army chief of staff), and with the help of renewed political support (one last throw of the dice) was able to bring the situation under control. Give Petraeus credit, it was a remarkable performance, but maybe he was just a bit lucky because his predecessors were no slouches either.

Do not expect the usual rant about the need to reorganize the U.S. Army from top to bottom in preparation for the counterinsurgencies that will represent its main role in the future. First, the solution in Iraq required notable adjustments to traditional principles of counterinsurgency tactics - which might not work as well under different circumstances. Second, it is foolhardy to believe that we know what all the wars of the future will be like, and they may not all be guerilla wars.

When Casey returned to the Pentagon, he took with him (p. 286) the idea that a "middle point" was needed "somewhere between counterinsurgency and conventional combat that would allow the military to react in whichever direction it had to in the future." This strikes me as sound thinking.

The one clear lesson is the need for a pool of talent in the Army - like the four commanders featured in this book - that is respectful of tradition (the lessons of the past) and the "can do" spirit, but is also willing and indeed eager to try out new and creative ideas. Let's hope the leaders of the future will measure up.
Sharpbringer
Well written book with insights many of us did not know. This is especially true as to the issue of the surge in Iraq. But, also as to the differing policies and in-process strategies to bring some sustained peace to Iraq.

As most know, the post Iraq plan was not a plan, but rather a hope the Iraqi people who would welcome the American with "sweets" ( as Rumsfelt once said)..but, this was not the case.

With the totally disbandment of the Iraqi Army and the civilian infrastructure, the insurgency was assured. The direct result of the Bush Administration (no one know who exactly gave the order to Bremer) was the deaths of thousands of Americans-a war of choice and not of necessity.

That said, the book outlines the generals who played a significant and historical part of the Iraq War...from their beginning as young soldiers to four star generals.

A good read for those who wish more introspective..and truth to the Iraq War.

Iraq/2005;Afghanistan/2003; HOA/2002 & 2008
Unsoo
The term Flags is in reference to the fact that General Grade Officers (Brigadier to General) have a Red Flag with the number of White Stars on it which they are entitled to due to their rank. Being a former enlisted man of the Green Machine, I found the story of these men's rise to the top ranks interesting and informative. It also confirmed some of my experiences and suspicions of Senior Management. That these men are a honorable group but also are very conservative who do not take criticism very well or opinions that differ from their own.
Now granted that the Military is a very conservative outfit and needs to be. As they are in charge of one of our nations most important and valuable assets - Our young fighting troops. None the less as this books puts forth, Our senior leaders must be more open to ideas from the lower ranks on how to be more effective in the field against our enemies. As it is the idea of "Not invented here, so forget it" will prevail to a large extent in our Army.