|America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between the United States and Its Enemies
|List Price: $14.95
Our Price: $8.84
You Save: $6.11 (41%)
Dubbed by Barron¡¯s as ¡°The Shadow CIA,¡± George Friedman¡¯s global intelligence company, Stratfor, has provided analysis to Fortune 500 companies, news outlets, and even the U.S. government. Now Friedman delivers the geopolitical story that the mainstream media has been unable to uncover ¡ª the startling truth behind America¡¯s foreign policy and war effort in Afghanistan, Iraq, and beyond.
Stratfor, one of the world¡¯s most respected private global intelligence firms, has an unmatched ability to provide clear perspective on the current geopolitical map. In America's Secret War, George Friedman identifies the United States¡¯ most dangerous enemies, delves into presidential strategies of the last quarter century, and reveals the real reasons behind the attack of 9/11¡ªand the Bush administration¡¯s motivation for the war in Iraq. It describes in eye-opening detail America¡¯s covert and overt efforts in the global war against terrorism: Not only are U.S. armies in combat on every continent, but since 9/11 the intelligence services of dozens of nations have been operating in close partnership with the CIA.
Drawing on Stratfor¡¯s vast information-gathering network, Friedman presents an insightful picture of today¡¯s world that goes far beyond what is reported on television and in other news media.
Al Qaeda¡¯s war plans and how they led to 9/11
The threat of a suitcase nuclear bomb in New York and how that changed the course of the war.
The deal the U.S. made with Russia and Iran which made the invasion of Afghanistan possible ¨C and how those deals affect the United States today.
How fear and suspicion of the Saudis after 9-11 tore apart the Bush-Saudi relationship and why Saudi Arabia¡¯s closest friends in the administration became the Saudi¡¯s worst enemies.
The real reasons behind George W. Bush¡¯s invasion of Iraq and how WMD became the cover for a much deeper game.
How the CIA miscalculated about Saddam Hussein¡¯s and Iran¡¯s real plans, leaving the U.S. bogged down in the war.
How the war in Iraq began with a ruse, pretending that a ¡°target of opportunity¡± attack on Saddam Hussein had presented itself.
The real story about why the U.S. raises and lowers its alert status and why the United States can¡¯t find and destroy al Qaeda.
The strategic successes that are slowly leading the United States to victory
America's Secret War is an unprecedented look at the new world war being waged behind-the-scenes today. It is sure to stir debate and capture headlines around the world.
I was skepitcal about this book. I've read a lot on the war on terror, but no book has even come close to this. The last third of the book focuses, rightly, on Iraq. The author makes complex ideas easy to follow, like a good physics teacher. You will have an essential understanding not only of what's going on now, but the answers to the questions you've accumilated in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the invasion itself, and the occupation since. From France to Fallujah. Not just a military history or study of tactics, though it includes both. But of the Psy ops, the diplomacy, the good the bad and the ugly. Never dry or dull. You will be pulled as if by a magnet to the end of the book. And most if not all the questions you had will be answered. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. ...more info
- Not partisan? Not really.....
I was taken in by the proclamation that this book was a straight, historical accounting - not a partisan point-of-view piece. Though it's true, there are no hysterical rantings and facts are used - many in context - just the same, there is a conservative perspective to the information in this book. Readers should just be aware that it's there and then can be free to assess the information in that frame, and not be duped by the protestations to the contrary. I don't believe this author is a chicken hawk, I also don't count him as a true historian....more info
- Sleeper of the Year!!!
The title belies the extraordinary clarity in which this book explains the current geopolitical situation. Regardless of your level of understanding and experience this book should be required reading for the students of the National War College as well as ROTC and first year Political Science students. I would even recommend this book for an Honors course at any HS.
This book explains clearly what "Of Paradise and Power", "The Pentagons New Map", "The Paradox of American Power" and "The Clash of Civilizations" have all attmpted to explain; How America has arrived at where it currently is within the context of globalization, America's actions and policies and the global war on terror.
Although each of the books that I mentioned offer important insights, they are unable to clearly synthesize the whole picture as clearly as Dr. Friedman has.
Although this book has been accused of being overly clinical and cold in its analysis, this is what makes it such a valuable contribution. Dr. Freidman eliminates the rhetoric and passion that confuse the difference between fact, fiction and feeling. It clearly explains the distinction between what we thought we were doing, what we wanted others to think we were doing and what others actually believed what the US was doing (paraphrased from page 52)
Once you begin reading this book and reflect on its contents and compare it with past events, media releases and the briefings that the Administration and or the Pentagon have been giving; the entire picture becomes all of a sudden, perfectly clear. Even those that have been directly connected with the planning and day to day military operations of the last couple of years will have a singular moment of ah ha when you realize that Dr. Friedman has parted the forest for the trees and the picture becomes crystalline.
As an ex planner and retired soldier (24 years) that was directly connected with Operation Iraqi Freedom, this book makes clear, even with the benefit of participation and hindsight, our actions, plans and decisions.
- Interesting, but speculative
In order to digest this book, one has to accept its two basic premises: first, that Mr. Friedman is correct in asserting Al Qaeda launched 9/11 in order to lure the US into attacking a Muslim country, with the goal of reestablishing the Caliphate and, second, that the US invaded Iraq in order to frighten the Saudis into supporting the war on terror. Unfortunately, Mr. Friedman provides no basis for these theories. They hold as much water as Michael Moore's contention that we invaded Afghanistan in order to build a pipeline for Unocal. It's all theory and speculation and without any supporting facts it cannot stand on its own. Perhaps Mr. Friedman has access to evidence or documents no one else has been privy to but it is doubtful even he can get into the mind of Osama bin Laden, a feat he accomphishes throughout this book as he details Al Qaeda strategy, hopes, goals and disappointments, but without a single footnote or referenced source. Other than on occasional Wall Street Journal editorial or a Thomas Friedman column, the author gives us no facts to back up his speculations.
Perhaps the story he is weaving is absolutely true. But without a single reliable reference to back up his theories, it's all just fantasy. There are a number of useful insights in the book, particularly the permanent nature of the US bases being constructed in Iraq. But it doesn't take a PHD to see that our longterm goal from the very beginning was to assert military dominance over this important region and it would be, in fact, irresponsible of our leaders to allow the Middle East to spiral out of our control. That was enough reason to invade and occupy Iraq and we hardly need the smokescreen of Mr. Friedman's rather odd theory about scaring the Saudis and demonstrating US military will to cloud up the picture. Does anyone truly believe his theories?...more info
- The Closest Thing to the Truth About the Current War
There is an old adage that the first casualty of war is truth. This is vividly made clear in Friedman's book outling the real reasons behind the war, the intigue, counter-intrique, backstabbing, outright lying, and the Bush administration's need to "sell" the war.
One cannot categorize this book as being either pro-war or anti-war. Rather, it gives the truth (as best as can be understood without the benefit of years of historial retrospect). Although Friedman makes clear that as an American, he naturally takes the American side and is interested in America prevailing. However, if he is passionate about anything, it is truth, as best we can understand it given the fog of war which inevitably descends after the first shot is fired.
George Friedman is the founder of Stratfor, a private intelligence firm with a worldwide network of sources. True war buffs may be interested in subscribing to his on-line intelligence updates.
If you wish to understand what Friedman properly refers to as World War IV, his book is probably one of the best sources available. Certainly more insightful and analytic than the headlines on CNN or Fox News, a must read for serious students of the war against radical Islamic Fasco-Terrorism. ...more info
- Grade = C. Some promise but major issues ignored
Mr. Friedman's book discusses intelligently the background to the U.S. vs Al Qaeda struggle, and understands better than most bin Laden's probable aims, and some of our historical failures. The treatment of Iraq is weaker though and misses several key points while presenting our larger strategy of putting pressure on Saudi Arabia. Yet how can he profess to understand our Middle East strategy without regard to Israel and Oil, the former a key electoral group in the U.S and the latter as lifeblood of the world economy ? These glaring omissions prevent a worthwhile thesis from becoming a serious policy primer.
More objective treatment of our naive encursion into Iraq would also be appreciated - the overall positive evaluation of Rumsfeld's and Cheney's strategy (not Bush's)is laughable when the road from Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone is the most dangerous in the country. Hello Beltway Boys - that is the reality over there. ...more info
- Changed my mind
In one fell swoop changed my take on the Iraq thing. In a nutshell -- he argues that the invasion of Iraq was a strategic flanking move aimed at manipulating Saudi Arabia. The strategic thinking behind the U.S. strategy here is way too complex and ruthless to explain or sell to the American people, so instead Bush and crew lied and said it was about WMDs etc.
Friedman says after 9-11 there were just a few options open to us and all involved invading somebody. The cash flow to Al Queda had to be cut off and that could never happen without the cooperation of the MidEast states. Before 9-11 almost none were helping on this (in fact Saudi Arabia was our biggest problem). After invading Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, there are no states in the Mideast that are NOT helping us with al Queda, Friedman contends. Invading Iraq and Afghanistan was about alot of things, but most importantly it was about getting the Saudis and others to fear and respect us. Friedman says do not listen to what the Arab states are SAYING, watch what they are DOING. They all say they hate America, and they do, and they always have, and they always will, but they are doing business with us now. They weren't before Iraq and Afghanistan. BTW -- that is why there is a civil war going on in Saudi Arabia right now -- some resist the new Saudi policy of cooperation.
Friedman thinks the Bush administration (chiefly Rumsfeld and his allies) have badly run the war in Iraq. BUT he argues that its not really about ruling it well, its more about getting Hussein out and about sending a message to the rest of the Mideast. In that way, its a big success.
Friedman is not obviously partisan. His criticisms of Bush partly mirror Kerry's: 1. Bush is botching Iraq; 2. the reasons given for the war were partly lies. BUT he argeus that Kerry's alternative was far worse.
On the WMDs, Friedman argued that it should go without saying that the US and every other intellignce community on Earth believed Saddam had them. There were outlying reports that contradicted that, as there always are in intelligence, but the concensus of every gov't on earth was that he had them. Bush did not lie ABOUT WMDs. What Bush lied about was the real reason for invasion -- getting the Saudis et al on board -- because it was too sinister and complicated to sell to America. Friedman thinks that was a good and necessary lie. The Iraq invasion was necessary an a success, but for none of the reasons focused on by the media.
Sidenotes: 1. Friedman dismissed the notion that the U.S. went in alone. All but 5 of the NATO states supported the action (France, Germany, Belguim, Greece and one other didn't). France had their own reasons for never getting on board under any circumstances.
2. Friedman thinks Bush should be crucified for not firing the CIA and FBI chief brass on Sept. 12, 2001, the way FDR fired intelligence chiefs the day after Pearl Harbor. Friedman thinks Rumsfeld is the most clueless player in the administration....more info
- Interesting blend of analysis and facts
America's Secret War is a very well-written account of the ongoing war on terror. It's one of the more highly readable books on the topic. Friedman wraps Al Qaeda, the Cold War, 9/11, the wars on terror and Iraq in one neat little package. Friedman claims to have taken a "cold and clinical" approach to his subjects and in many cases this is true. However, at times it appears that Friedman gives the US and its enemies too much credit in having a totally coherent strategy in these wars. His analysis ties perhaps coincidental events together to continue his story.
The major flaw with America's Secret War is that it's hard to tell the difference between fact and Stratfor's analysis. This problem could be overcome by revealing sources, or at least providing a few footnotes and bibliography. However, Stratfor is in the business of providing corporate intelligence...like in any government's intelligence services, sources and methods are trade secrets. Friedman makes some bold assertions (such that the decapitation strike on Saddam was not based on any intelligence) that should be backed up by fact or stated that this is just his assessment.
Despite these flaws, this was a good read. Friedman's style is clear and concise. America's Secret War provides an interesting explanation of why we're at war with Iraq...much more believable than the WMD explanation given to the American people. If Friedman's correct, then this story needs to get out there. If he's wrong, well...his shadow CIA isn't much better than the real one....more info
- Fascinating look at the International Chess Game
This is a fascinating book about American foreign policy both leading up to and following September 11, 2001.
Though Mr. Friedman's topic seems impossible to address without some political angle, Friedman takes a "Dragnet" approach--"just the facts." He explains the goals and aims of Al Qaeda, the history of American presence in the Middle East during the Cold War, and explains Al Qaeda's motives in attacking the United States on September 11. He then discusses the response of the United States in great detail around the world, but focusing on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The most fantastic aspect of this book was that it opened my eyes to the chess game of diplomacy which is going on way over our heads. Friedman explains what the U.S. government had to do in order to get other countries to cooperate (every country stated PUBLICLY that they would cooperate, but many were not as helpful in substance). The flare-up between India and Pakistan several years ago was a result of the U.S. using creative diplomatic pressure.
There are also other points Friedman makes in this book which raise larger questions I have about government and politics. For instance, in the initial days of the Afghanistan invasion, the media made big headlines about the troops in Afghanistan being "bogged down" and moving very slowly. The U.S. government actually wanted to create this impression in order to keep the Taliban from retreating too soon. By staying around longer to fight, the United States hoped to destroy more of the Taliban before they got the chance to melt away. This makes me wonder: was the government trying to deceive the media to report the "bogged down" story? Was the media a willing participant in the interests of national security? Did the government actually do anything to create such an impression in the media's eyes?
The most significant question which Friedman's analysis leads to is this: if international diplomacy is this complex and secretive, then what exactly does my democratic vote stand for? Friedman's thesis for the reasons leading to the Iraq War were completely ignored during the 2004 Presidential election (and it seems clear that both political parties prefer it this way). What message does it send if I vote for the candidate who is a "flip-flopper" or vote for the candidate who "rushed into war without a plan for peace?" These slogans have nothing to do with the real issues--what should be the role of America in the world post-9/11, how do we get real international cooperation against Al Qaeda, should Al Qaeda be treated as a group of criminals or an army of soldiers, etc. These are tough, important questions.
No book is without its shortcomings, and Friedman's text has some limitations. First, some of his analysis is wrong. I have no idea which information is incorrect, but it is safe to assume that Friedman himself is not 100% right. Because each of his points is so clearly stated and convincing, it is virtually impossible to know what is true, and what is erroneous. This is difficult to keep in mind while reading.
Also, I wish the title did not have to contain the word "Secret." Though the war is certainly hidden, those who don't bother to read the book may think the "secret" is that the war is about oil, the desire for revenge against Saddam, or any other of the groundless conspiracy theories (from any political angle). Those who read the book, however, will know better.
Friedman has written an epilogue to the book which can be viewed on the web (just Google the author's name, title, and "epilogue," and you'll find it). There is not much new information, but it gives his most recent update on the government's activities to thwart a terrorist attack before the 2004 election, which is the most interesting piece of information you've never heard. Anyone interested in politics, foreign policy, and military strategy will be impressed by this book. You'll love it!
- Birds Eye View
A very well written analysis of our involvement in the Middle East. This is foreign policy for grownups. Friedman has a way of connecting the dots and giving a birds eye view of events on the ground that is both fast moving and logical. He makes sense as opposed to the static coming from the media and politicians.
If you enjoy Friedman's work, I highly recommend checking out Stratfor. ...more info
- I'M NOT SUPRISED
How typical it is to see reviews here blaming Israel in one way or another. This appears to be the voice of many in America. In France or Gemany this wouldn't suprise me...But, so many here? I suppose these people also suspect Israel of warning Jews not to go to work at the WTC on 9/11? I guess the ones that were killed (including Fire Fighters) ignored the warning?
Friedman (yes, likely a Jew himself), lays it out for all to see. Sorry folks, but radical Islam wants you (Christians) dead as much as they want Jews dead. Is that news to you? Hatred for the West started long before Israel became a state. Nazis had a great time with Arabs. Check your history folks. The blame Israel crowd can forever rant and rave. But the truth is folks, UBL, Hamas, Saddam Hussein, and Iran would not stop at the destruction of Israel, Christians around the world would be next. Infedels all. You and I. Israel is the only democracy in the middle East. Who should we be funding? Egypt, Syria? Hamas perhaps? To those who weep for the plight of those in Gaza and/or their homocide bomber brothers and sisters, I offer you this advice. Go there. Be a missionary. Sympathize with them and their feelings for the evil Israeli oppressors. Tell them about your God. Do these things. Just don't speak against Islam or go near one of the daughters. You won't come back alive. If you want freedom of expression and religion, go to.....Israel. Or that other hated place....the USA! ...more info
Dr. Friedman explains the birth of Al-Qaeda, the failures of U.S. intelligence, and the goals and objectives of both the Bush Administration and Al-Qaeda in this fascinating and well written book. You're not going get this analysis in the major media.
In short, Dr. Friedman says that the 9.11 attack was nothing really personal -- it was just a way for O.B.L. to unite the Arab world. The other main point: the invasion of Iraq was purely a strategic move to demonstrate the prowess of American forces to Saudi Arabia who was caught in the middle of Al-Qaeda on its turf and cooperating with its ally the U.S.
In the end he concludes that the U.S. is generally winning the war but only time will tell who the real winner will be (and there will not be clear winners).
- A Tremendous Insight
The book was excellent. Friedman, founder and owner of Stratfor, set out to explain, in the lens of strategy/realpolitik, the events of al Qaeda and the U.S. over the past twenty five years. The book, although it has other extremely interesting ideas and premises, has two main concepts: one, that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's ultimate goal, as an extension of Islamic fundamentalism, is to bring the Muslim world back to a pure way of life, with God at the center of all life, and with this, reestablishing the Sunni caliphate, establishing Shar'ia law, and uniting the Muslim world under it.
Friedman proposes that bin Laden recognized in the late eighties that what was standing in the way of this happening was the religiously-corrupt regimes throughout the middle east. Because of this, he knew that he had to some how overthrow these regimes, whether it be all of them at once or the more likely one at a time. Bin Laden, after the fall of the Soviet Union, saw the only thing keeping these regimes in control of their societies was the United States. Thus, in order to "cleanse" the ummah and to reach his goals, Osama bin Laden had to either severely weaken or destroy the support the U.S. gave to the regimes to keep them in power.
Friedman's theory of bin Laden's strategy is quite interesting. Bin Laden, looking at the failure in Vietnam, Beirut, the Gulf War (a failure in his mind any way), and Somalia, held the U.S. in contempt as a weak and impotent power. This view had sympathies within the middle east, and to completely undermine the support the U.S. gives to the regimes, bin Laden had to turn this view into an idea in all parts of the middle east. After undermining what allowed the regimes to retain their control, bin Laden then had to have a way to begin overthrowing the regimes and to put in place an Islamic regime and raise the caliphate.
These two goals all intersected on the point of getting the U.S. into a war with the middle east, according to Friedman. He writes that bin Laden's strategy was to attack the U.S. in such a way that it would be forced to become embroiled in a war in the middle east that would on the one hand reveal the U.S. to be the paper tiger bin Laden viewed it to be and on the other anger (and also by showing the U.S. to be weak give hope to them that the U.S. can be defeated) the Muslim people so much that it would lead to a mass Islamist revival of sorts and rising against the regimes that would result, in the end, in the wet dream of all Islamists: a united middle east under a new caliphate ruled by Shar'ia law.
This explanation of the goals of Osama bin Laden and the strategy he employs is credible. If you would read Bernard Lewis's new book, The Crisis of Islam, he goes in to depth on the motivation of Islamic fundamentalism and their goals. Lewis writes that the fundamentalists' do not look outside but within; their goals are all eternal. Islamic fundamentalists seek to purify the Muslim world, to bring it back to where they believe it belongs, with God at the center of all things, and with the caliphate reestablished and Shar'ia law implemented.
The second interesting thing that Friedman proposes is the reasons for the war in Iraq. Friedman writes that after the war in Afghanistan and after forcing Pakistan to confront al Qaeda as much as we could, the U.S. realized that there was much more to do. Significant funding and other support for al Qaeda comes from Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis were reluctant to crack down on al Qaeda within their country because of eternal problems. Friedman proposes within the book that the reasons for the war in Iraq were two fold: one, to force the Saudis to confront al Qaeda by placing 130,000-150,000 troops on their border and shocking them in our actions, and two, on the one hand, to show the rest of the regimes in the region that we are serious in this war against al Qaeda, that we will win, and that, basically, Osama bin Laden's premise that we are weak is a barell of BS, and on the other hand to establish a base of operations in the "pivot" of the middle east, on the border of such important players as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and Syria, all to coerce them to either offer no support to al Qaeda or to offer the U.S. support. In this we have been successful; Saudi Arabia, immediately after the war in Iraq, began confronting al Qaeda; and no regime supports al Qaeda, and all either offer us minimal support or full-fledged support, with Qaddafi even giving up his WMD programs and ending any support of al Qaeda he offered.
I, personally, find much credibility in the theories Friedman proposes, as it jives very well with reality, is not a partial theory (i.e. it holds true in spite of other evidence that comes out, such as the idiotic view that the war in Iraq was for oil) and is, in fact, very coherent.
By the way, I recommend that you all read "The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror" by Bernard Lewis (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0679642811/qid=1105047420/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/102-8511204-6599357), because although Friedman's book explains quite well the strategic reasoning of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, it does not explain, at all, the motivations of Islamic fundamentalism, and although you can see the logic in his theory without understanding Islamic fundamentalism, it does not fully make sense without it. ...more info
- Is it all about Saudi Arabia?
Approaching this book requires an open mind, because George Friedman writes from a point of view completely independent of the Left or the Right. When reading "America's Secret War," you should neither expect the jingoistic rhetoric of a Sean Hannity or the conspiracy-mongering of the radical left. Indeed, the book should be titled, "America's 'Strategic' War," since the strategic aspects of the GWOT are uppermost in Friedman's mind.
If you can identify Friedman's "agnostic" view of the war (which appears in the Introduction), you will have a much greater enjoyment of this book. This view can be paraphrased in the following way:
-- America's leaders are not "fools"
-- While we may disagree with our enemy's morals, our enemy is rational
-- The world is a chess board, and we are all players in it
In other words, both sides of the War are engaged in a grand strategy, which is not always apparent, and is difficult to encapsulate in a few words. And, what's more, the dynamic of this grand strategy are as implicit and hidden, as the moves made by the players are indirect and opaque.
Considering this point of view, Friedman's book often requires a leap of faith that he knows the true reasons for the Iraq War, namely that it is more a War about Riyadh than it is of Baghdad. As a result, the reader is often left to accept that IT IS ALL ABOUT SAUDI ARABIA.
Suspend your disbelief while reading "Secret War," and you may be able to appreciate a completely different point of view on the Iraq War....more info
- Excellent view behind the scenes
George Friedman gives us a rare look behind the scenes of America's fight with radical Islam. It was fascinating to get a look at how the U.S. viewed acts of terror and terrorists in general before and after 9/11. Friedman goes into detail that you simply cannot get from watching the news or reading papers. For example, Friedman lays out many reasons for invading Iraq other than WMD's. These include: a need for an impressive military victory to send a message throughout the Arab world, a point of leverage to deal with Saudi Arabia, and the fact the Saadam was a brutal dictator. Friedman discusses the strengths and weaknesses of various U.S. intelligence and law enforcement services in great detail. He also explains why Al Qeada has been as successful as they have and what seperates them from other terrorist groups. The book takes the reader through the military operations and campaigns of the first three years in the global fight against terrorism. For a more specific look at Al Qaeda and the rise of radical Islam see Lawrence Wright's "The Looming Tower." ...more info
- Private Intelligence Officer's View Of The Terrorists Conflict
In "America's Secret War" author Dr. George Friedman lays out his thinking on the background of the Islamo-fascist terror war on the West, events that led up to the Iraq conflict, and events that have occurred there through the print date of 2004.
Dr. Friedman is certainly qualified to do so as the founder and Chairman of Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor), often described as the "Other CIA" with an excellent track record in geopolitical event forecasting.
The reader will enjoy Friedman's clear-thinking approach by a skilled intelligence analyst devoid of passion, which he correctly states is praised to much. It leads to loud noises and incoherence.
He treats all the powerful players on the world stage with respect, no matter how (apparently) inept or diabolical the reader may think they are. One must understand that these skilled and powerful players have a clear vision of how they think the world should look. He also correctly states that fools and psychotics do not accumulate and hold such power.
From there, Friedman leads the reader through the events of the on-going conflict, and his perception of the mistakes (along with many victories) that have occurred on all sides. He closes out the book with his ideas of the concepts needed for victory over this murderous enemy. The Main Stream Media of course, is basically both lazy and clueless, and the reader will learn of many events that were either unknown to the MSM or, if known, not reported.
As the thinking reader would expect, there are no references to sources, just as one would not expect sources to be listed in a classified report from a government intelligence operation.
As a subscriber to Stratfor, this writer found Friedman's book just an extension of the expected clear-thinking analysis that appears in his newsletter. Those with interest in geopolitical events, will find this book well worth the read, and I fully recommend it.
- Orwellian disinfo -- readers beware!
AMERICA'S SECRET WAR is a blow by blow account of the Bush regime's "war on terrorism." And while several chapters do offer valuable insights -- particularly the author's discussion of the war in Afghanistan -- overall, the book is a mine field. I cannot recommend it because the author, George Friedman, is either incredibly stupid in believing that a rag tag bunch of 19 jihadists using cell phones outsmarted the most sophisticated security establishment in the world on 9/11 -- or he is just downright devious.
In the intelligence world deception is a finely honed art. The game is played by subtly spicing truth with falsehood -- and there are enough examples in AMERICA'S SECRET WAR for us to suspect that George Friedman is spinning yarns. Allow me to be blunt: He is quite skillful in the art of lying.
Here are some examples:
Friedman mentions the US-Iran discussions that followed 9/11 -- but he fails to acknowledge that in 2003 Iran made a bona fide peace offer to the US that could have resulted in a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement -- IF the US had responded. Iran offered to cooperate in the Gulf, to disarm Hezbollah, to accept stringent IAEA oversight of its nuclear program, and even signed onto the 2002 Arab peace offer, indicating that Tehran was willing to live in peace with Israel -- provided the Palestinians received a measure of justice -- in the form of a state.
As we know, the National Intelligence Estimate in November 2007 provides strong evidence that the 2003 Iranian offer was genuine. The NIE concluded that Iran abandoned work on its BOMB program in 2003, which -- notice -- coincides with the date of the peace offer. The real question, which Friedman never mentions, is why the US rejected the Iranian peace offer out of hand.
Friedman also poo-poohs the 2002 Saudi peace offer, characterizing it as nothing but political posturing. He writes: "The Saudis had consulted nobody about the idea. which meant that this radical proposal didn't even have the backing of [prince] Abdullah's own government." (p. 244)
This is total BS. In fact, the 2002 Arab peace offer had the backing of every member of the Arab League -- and again -- could have become the basis for an Isareli-Palestinian peace settlement -- IF Israel and the US had responded favorably. Both, however, simply ignored it.
The Saudi Prince Abdullah actually went so far as to personally confront Bush about the Palestinian issue during his June 2002 visit to Crawford Texas. At that meeting Bush promised Abdullah that he would take steps to solve the Palestinian question. Of course, as we know, Bush did nothing of the kind -- because his idol Ariel Sharon opposed a peace settlement.
Friedman is also dishonest when he writes about an Iranian BOMB --as if Iran already had nuclear weapons. When in fact they did not -- and do not. There is no excuse for his getting this wrong. As a self-described intelligence expert Friedman should have known this. We must interpret this "error" as a case of calculated deception on his part.
Friedman's confused analysis of why the neo cons invaded Iraq fails to persuade -- and again -- we must conclude that the author is simply fibbing to us. Friedman fails to mention the obvious: that the war was largely about controlling Iraq's oil -- and had nothing to do with fighting terrorism. I would argue: It was also about destroying Iraq as a nation -- leaving Iraq prostrate so that it could never again challenge Israeli hegemony in the region. Now why couldn't an expert like Friedman simply tell the truth and state the obvious? Clearly, he has an agenda.
Friedman gives a really bizarre justification for the US policy of arming BOTH Iran and Iraq during the bloody war which raged between these two nations between 1980-1986. He states that if either Iran or Iraq gained "the upper hand in the region it would try to sieze part or all of Saudi Arabia." (p 253) Which, again, is total nonsense. Why couldn't the author simply state the obvious: The US pursued a wicked policy of bleeding and weakening both nations for its own selfish reasons -- and also to divert attention from Israel's continuing illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. It had nothing to do with protecting Saudi Arabia.
Friedman also repeats the lie that Saddam Hussein kicked out the UNSCOM inspectors in 1998. This lie has been told so frequently that it has taken on a life of its own. But Scott Ritter, the chief UNSCOM weapons inspector, knows what actually happened because he was there. According to Ritter it was Bill Clinton who ordered out the UN inspection team, on the eve of a major US bombing campaign in late 1998, Operation Desert Fox, which was an attempt by the US to assassinate Saddam Hussein. Indeed, this is why the Iraqi leader then refused to allow the inspectors to return. He correctly accused the US of using the UN inspection effort to gather intel about Saddam's whereabouts in an attempt to take him out. Ritter affirms this is what actually happened. Now, why couldn't Friedman get this right?
What is Friedman's agenda? We get a clue from the author's discussion about the Madrid bombings in March 2004, which he attributes to al Qaeda. Yet, today, we know al Qaeda had nothing whatever to do with that attack, which ocurred shortly before major elections in Spain. The bombing was almost certainly staged by operatives of the ultraconservative Spanish government then in power -- as a way of terrorizing the Spanish people into re-electing that same government. They blamed it on Basque separatists. Fortunately, the false flag attack failed. The Spanish people saw through it -- and voted out Bush's allies -- in the process, electing a new populist government that immediately fulfilled its promise to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq -- consistent with the strongly anti war sentiment in Spain. Here, again, by misfiring, the author shows his true colors.
Friedman is the founder and chairman of STRATFOR -- which claims to be an independent intelligence agency. However, I suspect he has links to the Israeli Mossad and maybe even to the CIA. The reader should beware: Read the book with a discerning eye -- because the author weaves many falsehoods between the lines. He is a liar....more info