Monday, May 29, 2006

Rumsfeld Following His Star To Perdition

Maybe it was sunspots or some cosmic disturbance, but GW Bush and his loyal pet SEC DEF Rumsfeld broke ranks ever so slightly on the Iraq War. During a press conference Bush admitted he made some rhetorical mistakes, while Rumsfeld an hour later on CNN Larry King denied any kind of mistakes -- for him it was stay the course, damned them Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and full speed ahead.

Bush apologized for his BRING EM ON and WANTED, DEAD OR ALIVE statements -- his BRING EM ON had to be the dumbest thing as it was incitement of the enemy -- it is the kind of thing no amount of contrition can undo -- DEAD or ALIVE for Bin Laden, was hokey but okay with me and I would not have apologized for that. There was no apology for MISSION ACCOMPLISHED which defined Bush's Iraq war -- it demonstrated that Bush did not have a grasp of the war. Since then, every time an American serviceman dies or is horribly wounded, the country is reminded of the President's foolishness. Since Bush made the announcement on May Day three years ago, this Left Wing holiday will be used as the occasion to hoist him on a petard with great fanfare until the war is finally ended.

Our President did say, at the co-press conference with Blair, when asked what he will miss about Blair the most, that it would be Blair's red tie -- red, a socialist color as well as pro Bush red state -- stay tuned for looney tunes -- Bush is soon to meet Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Worked for Rumsfeld in Office of Secretary of Defense when he was Sec Def under President Ford -- that was over 20 years ago -- his reputation then as it is now was as an intellectual lightweight. His strong suit then was fierce loyalty to the president and now with a different president, that has not changed either. I am struck by Rumsfeld's physical stature -- in that in those 20 plus years since I first saw him to now, he has aged well. Maybe it is good TV makeup. Or maybe, like Dorian Grey who made a pact with the devil -- his distorted portrait grotesquely reflecting his evil is hidden somewhere in a Pentagon mop closet behind a snack bar -- while his visage remains unperturbed.

Rumsfeld was in the past, a competent bureaucrat. My sense is that he became unglued with 9/11, especially with the attack on the Pentagon that inflicted immediate destruction and death on his employees right in front of his nose. His response was the invasion of Afghanistan -- Taliban's back was quickly broken, but Bin Laden escaped. Sometimes missed is also Rumsfeld's incompetent role in the escape of number one man in the Taliban, Omar. Marines were prepared to arrest him in Kandahar, but Karzai intervened and begged Rumsfeld to allow him to take the chieftain's surrender personally. Rumsfeld foolishly agreed ... Omar fled and still is on the loose. This affinity for trusting local tribes to solve his military problems was evident again when he depended on native units to block Bin Laden's escape at Tora Bora -- this Rumsfeld fixation on economy of force and force multipliers haunts him today in the pending defeat of US forces in Iraq.

Invasion of Iraq was a strategic and military blunder of the first rank. Bad planning, faith based intelligence, insufficient forces -- no exit strategy -- massive incompetence with post war occupation under Department of Defense Coalition government run by Bremmer -- it is now obvious that Rumsfeld had no idea what he was doing. To complicate the role of US forces in the occupation was Abu Gharib, a pointless slaughter of Iraqis at Fallujah, and now the atrocities by the Marines at Haditha -- still no effective Iraqi central government despite stage managing elections by the Bush administration.

The US military generals who have come out against Rumsfeld's management of the Iraqi war are roughly in two categories -- those who retired before the war and those who retired once the war began. Generals Odium and Zinni are in the first category -- Generals Newbold, Eaton, Batiste and others are in the second. Except for Zinni, the other generals refuse to come to grips with why the US went to war -- Zinni said that the pro Israeli neoconservatives were the driving force behind the Iraqi war -- GEN Newbold wrote that the war was driven by zealots and made no sense.

Watched an interview of GEN Batiste on Chris Matthews' HARDBALL -- Batiste was Deputy Sec Def Wolfowitz's military assistant before he commanded a division in Iraq -- Iraq war is conceded to be Wolfowitz's war -- Israeli newspaper JERUSALEM POST anointed Mr. Wolfowitz MAN of THE YEAR for promoting the war ... Matthews pressed Batiste on why the US went to war. Batiste's eyes kept rolling around in his head as he refused to answer the question -- but he managed to reveal that the Pentagon neocons never read the war plan -- implicit was that this group just wanted to go to war... Rumsfeld and Bush, to their everlasting shame, let this pro Israeli gang get away with it -- as far as Wolfowitz, he is now President of the World Bank where he is invited to do more mischief.

One former Pentagon staffer has been convicted of spying for Israel -- two members of the US Israeli Lobby are pending espionage charges connected with the Pentagon -- members of the Israeli Embassy in Washington connected to the case have been sent home.....

The Iranian president in a private letter to GWB thanked Bush for removing Saddam, so Bush now enjoys the gratitude of a member of his axis of evil.

With the so called revolt of the generals, Rumsfeld cannot resign -- if he departs the Pentagon, it would explode as the corruption and the real story on the Iraqi war would become apparent -- Rumsfeld has to keep his finger in the dike.

When Rumsfeld's portrait is finally displayed in the Pentagon with the other past SecDefs, it should be displayed upside down as a sign of distress. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

First US Protestant Pope -- Pope George Castastrophus

GW Bush finally gave his ballyhoo prime time speech on immigration last week. By those who grade elocution, it was a success. By those who understand substance, a failure. The next day, Bush's handlers let him fall off the bed of the truck - off the cuff, unscripted, stuttering and stammering, Bush brought US moral compulsion, responsibility and religion into the illegal immigration issue, undermining any success in his previous day’s elocution.

Last time I checked, GWB was elected President of the US, and part of that office came with the baton of Commander and Chief with a mandate to protect America -- nothing there about saving or pitying illegal immigrants who bust our laws and borders.

There exists an overwhelming number of religious professions and foot stomping, handkerchief waving, singing evangelical congregations that regularly inject their views throughout the nation and as such, are a part of policy formulation. Despite this, GWB’s election was not to establish a demigod with a special link between heaven and the US. Protection of US borders is Caesar's duty not God’s.

If GWB aspires to be the Protestant pope, we should first assign him a special regalia that distinguishes him from the Catholic pontiff -- snatch his traditional papal tiara and replace it with a large Mexican sombrero -- then fill his pockets with hallucinogenic mushrooms -- prohibit the use of palm fronds in ceremonies, to be replaced with fresh marijuana stalks -- all religious music to played by a Mariachi band.

His title should be EL PAPITO -- His curea that legislates amnesty and guest worker programs has to called EL SENATITO.

It is uncanny. Put a photograph of GWB and the Reverend Pat Robertson together and you would have a tough time determining who is who -- the two fellas have almost morphed into each other.

Bush's attempt to control illegal immigration without first controlling the borders is absurd -- his guest worker program is built on a crumbling premise -- Bush claims he cannot have protected borders without a guest worker program -- implicit in his thesis is that illegals will stop crawling across our borders if the US had a guest worker program -- absolute baloney -- amnesty programs will encourage more wet backs as it did under Reagan's 1986 program of amnesty -- there is still great uncertainty on how many and who are the illegal immigrants in the US -- nor are there sufficient courts and processing centers to control them.

Like his bloated budget and war in Iraq, does GWB intend that the next president also solve his border problems?

Why Bush did not fill the border patrol budgeted allocation has not been explained. Instead he proposed a 6000 man temporary employment of national guard units. Units are to be deployed for two weeks during normal summer call up times -- TWO WEEKS! It will take guard units that long to pack and unpack equipment, set up communication nets and command posts, and learn the terrain... Bush says the guard is not to carry weapons or interdict illegal border crossers -- gimme a break -- in this case why not send a girl scout troop -- this restricted guard deployment is just a fig leaf to cover a naked fact: Bush does not want to protect the borders.

Understand Bush wants to keep the cheap labor flowing for his corporation contributors, but this national-interest-be-damned policy is only part of the story

Before 9/11, Bush stood with the Mexican President Fox in Florida at a press conference and stated in Spanish with a Texas twang, MI CASA, SU CASA, i.e., MY HOUSE IS YOUR HOUSE -- hey George, it is okay to invite these desperate, milling masses to your rancho grande in Crawford, Texas, but I do not want these illegal immigrants on my doorstep.

Some believe that this human flood across the Mexican border is intentionally advocated by the Bush administration. It is part of a secret grand strategy to fuse an economical political union of Mexico, USA, and Canada -- Mexamericadia union as a counter balance against the Euro Union. If true, suggest this onerous proposal be put to a national vote in the US -- certainly cannot trust our bought Congress to handle the issue.

Bush's half-baked immigration policy is supported in the Senate by Ted Kennedy, hero of Chapaquidick, and tarnish-of-on-the-blade John McCain -- both of these guys should scare the hell out of the red blooded Republicans.

Noted recently that GW Bush gave press interviews while in Yuma, Arizona. He sat in directors chairs, separately with CNN and NBC White House press reps -- in the hot open desert sun -- no hat -- even a prairie dog knows enough to avoid the desert sun and hide in the shade -- that adolescent stage set was not macho -- just stupid -- You got to wonder about the President's judgment -- Mr. President, stay out of the sun.

GWB's polls are in some cases as low as those of Richard Nixon. You would think that he would do the country a service and follow Nixon with his resignation. But he would be followed by whack job VEEP CHENEY, with his 17 per cent approval rating. So his replacement would even be worse.

John McCain went to Lynchville, Virginia to kiss the ring of Jerry Falwell and to be anointed the new Protestant pope; he wants the presidency very badly to flip flop on his values on the born again Christians -- let's hope the Republicans deny him the nomination -- enough influence from the moral minority. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Start the Breathing--Stop the Bleeding

Rule number one in first aid when you find a victim -- START THE BREATHING -- STOP THE BLEEDING -- Right now the US is a wounded Bush victim...To complicate his victim's distress, Bush applies a rule that Stops the Breathing and Encourages the Bleeding.

After 9/11 Bush did his best to suppress the Congressional investigations and avoided most of their subsequent recommendations. In the aftermath of the Iraqi war, he attempted to cover WMD debacle by attacking Valerie Plame's covert CIA status -- so far over this issue VEEP Cheney's aid was indicted and President's brain... Carl Rove's head is still in a noose at this writing. Now we find out that GWB's "Mission Accomplished" was designed to mislead and entice other nations to join the coalition of the willing. Duplicity over the real situation in Iraq still contributes to the demise of the US worldwide status -- Italian and Spanish leadership that supported Bush's Iraqi war has been voted out of office -- Englishman Blair's days in power are numbered.

Perhaps the latest and most specious Bush argument to justify the Iraqi war is the imposition of democracy in the nation -- but nearly every time a key Iraqi is elected that the US can not control, he is undermined and replaced -- by the way have you cracked the code? Nation Building means Occupation...

Have you been watching the musical chairs in the Intelligence Community? Replaced Slam Dunk Tenet with Cheney loyalist Goss who with a vengeance purged the organization of much of its expertise -- now he has been fired by National Defense Chief Negroponte for incompetence -- Negroponte wants to fill the job with his deputy, Air Force General Hayden who was head of NSA and now is involved in eavesdropping issues inside the US -- General Hayden is a technocrat, an expert on signal intelligence, and trained to target installations -- in these disciplines there is very little transfer of training to covert intelligence that works with human resources -- according to spymaster novelist John le Carre -- professional spies do not use telephones -- so General Hayden brings a lot of unnecessary baggage to CIA -- a bad choice for the job -- but loyalty trumps competence in the Bush administration

Sometimes I think VEEP Cheney is America's Kamikazi pilot who always lands -- his conduct has driven approval poles to dip below 17 per cent. His latest sortie was launched from Vilnius, Lithuania where he flew into the miasma of Golden Horde -- Russia... It was as usual, one of his lunatic flights.

Terrorism, bloody Iraq, crazy Iran, illegal immigrants, $3.00 a gallon gasoline, port and border insecurity, leftist penetration of Latin American, North Korean nuclear weapons and containment of Red China are all expanding national security problems for the US. With all this gathering menace to the US, VEEP Cheney picks an open diplomatic fight with Russia.

Cheney accused the Kremlin of backtracking on democracy and using energy to blackmail former states. Best I can figure is that Cheney is pissed off over the blowup of US policy in the Ukraine, the compression of the Russian press and recapture by the government of Russian energy resources from foreign bankrolled interests. By any standards these are internal Russian affairs and involve countries in the Russian sphere of influence, on the Russian borders. Like it or not, Putin was elected democratically and he rejects US advise on how to run his country.

Russian reaction to Cheney's attack was sharp. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov replied that Cheney's criticism was unfounded... that the US VEEP was misinformed and that Moscow expected to be respected as an equal partner -- Russian analysts and media characterized Cheney's speech as the opening shot of a new cold war.

Yesterday Putin added his view to the VEEP's remarks -- he suggested that the United States puts its political interests above the democratic ideals it claims to cherish. "Where is all this pathos about protecting human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue their interests? Here, it seems everything is allowed, there is no restriction whatsoever"

Putin said in the defense of Russian national interests: "We are aware what is going on the world " and "Comrade wolf knows whom to eat; he eats without listening, and he's clearly not going to listen to anyone"-- Another way to say in Russian SCREW YOU MR. CHENEY.

This a major diplomatic failure. Our Secretary of State Condoleezza professes to be a Russian expert -- she should limit her expertise only to working in a Russian bookstore...

In about two weeks Mr. Bush meets with Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia -- wonder if Mr. Bush will look into Mr. Putin's KGB heart and again come up with mellow thoughts about him -- for whatever reason, Bush has decided to come out against Russia in these perilous times -- just what the US needs: another enemy -- this one has nuclear teeth.

During holidays, in the old days, long after Lenin's death, the Soviet regime would display barrage balloons, illuminated at night with search lights, tethered near Red Square, having Lenin's picture and the words, LENIN LIVES. Cheney of Vilnius has just taken steps to resurrect the dead demon. Robert E Bartos Colonel USA Ret

Sunday, May 07, 2006

MAY DAY! ..... May Day

When you are in a tailspin -- your airplane is crashing, you shout MAY DAY!, MAYDAY !, into the microphone before you bail out. This is the ultimate distress call. The other May Day celebrates a left wing parade of the working class masses, annually performed on the 1st of May -- it is a world-wide phenomena in many Socialist countries that proclaims internationally, WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE. As I watched events unfold this past 1st of May in the streets of the US cities, began to wonder whether these parades also signaled a distress call for the USA.

If you believe the grand scale marches throughout US cities by the so called illegal immigrants was only coincidental to have occurred the 1st of May, you probably have the gullibility to believe that the war in Iraq is fought for democracy of the people of Iraq. So if you fit that category, stop reading now.

GW Bush is a capitalist's capitalist. You will never catch him taking a salute as a workers parade passes. What a strange twist of history that our president delivered his MISSION ACCOMPLISHED speech off an aircraft carrier deck on the 1st of May three years ago -- the US media reminded him of this as it taunted him over his failure by citing mounting US casualties since his misguided statement -- like Caesar and his Ides of March, GW Bush may want to stay clear of the 1st of May for his momentous announcements -- it is as if he did not learn -- this May 1st he foolishly announced that the US has reached a TURNING POINT in Iraq.

At least two of my military assignments took me to places where I attended May Day ceremonies as an official observer -- in Communist Moscow and Belgrade. These were all day parades; planned for a year as Party organizations came to the Communist capitals from all over the country to express their fealty to the regime. Manifestations were big bang, high budget affairs used as a propaganda tool -- definitely festive as the workers and peasants came to the big city for a good time -- lots of music, red bunting, flags, flowers and folks dressed in their best proletarian clothes -- few were sober at the end of the day.

There were many differences between the illegal immigrant march in the US and those in the streets of Moscow and Belgrade, but the one that struck me the most was that the Communist regimes directed everything from the center to the center, while the planners for the US May Day successfully decentralized the marches to major cities of the US -- they managed to cross time zones, so they presented a continuum projecting an almost seamless march that the local and national TV gobbled up -- had the March been in just one city, it would have been local. But involving many cities, it had a national impact. Lenin, Marx and Engels must have smiled from hell at the organizers in appreciation of their improved agitation and propaganda techniques.

The marches should have been a call to arms for the average American as they viewed their country flooded with uninvited illegal impoverished third world people who proclaim WORK MAKES YOU FREE, apparently to break the law..... that must be an appealing, tested slogan -- the Nazis painted it over the entrance to their death camps, but for different reasons... Too early to conclude how the marches will affect the drafting of new immigration laws -- one thing it should do it is to force protection of US borders sooner than later. The marches, in the main, were largely peaceful except a ruckus along the border, and in Los Angeles in the evening when demonstrators threw bottles and rocks at police... These marches will continue until the lawmakers surrender or the marchers are confronted by force -- the white shirts will turn to red -- as will the flags -- like it or not, America is facing an internal revolutionary movement -- it should be addressed by the government as such. Expect the Marches to continue as long they scare the politicians, gain media focus, and are supported by corporations -- some corporations are actually financing the movement and the politicians that support the illegals -- I call it short sighted, mercantile morality -- shorted sighted, because today these workers who are cheap labor -- tomorrow, once organized by unions, will morph into exploited labor -- and that is a basis of future social and political unrest -- Instead of Perdue and Tyson chickens being plucked by illegals, the owners could end up without their feathers.

Evo Morales, the new democratically elected Marxist leader of Bolivia, made a special point to honor May Day by announcing his intention to nationalize the natural gas and oil fields, as well as the refineries of Bolivia... Plans to send his army into the fields to take control and force renegotiation of contracts with foreign oil companies. This is just the first step in the nationalization of his country's means of production as Castro and Chavez hold his hand. Morales also is supported by the Chinese who are prepared to come to his rescue if things spin out of control.

On this past May Day the Puerto Rican government ran out money -- it was short about 532 million dollars to finish this fiscal year. Its credit exhausted due to its bloated level of government employees, the government needed two more months of financing for this fiscal year, but could not continue with existing funds -- laid off about 95,000 people that included public school teachers. There were massive protest demonstrations -- even violence at banks as demonstrators believed banks should bail them out -- the island remains gripped in the crisis as of this writing -- things just seem to come to a head on May Day. Despite the fact the US provides over 11 billion dollars annually in aid, the self governing Puerto Rican government still cannot balance a budget... Hopelessly incompetent -- No US statehood there this year for sure. Let us hope US Congressional Representatives Seranno, Velasquez, Gutierrez, all Puerto Rican Americans and strong advocates of the May Day march, do not promote the current Puerto Rican government as an enlightened model for all Latinos.

In all my days as a former Cold War pistolero, never did I believe that the streets of America would be filled with demonstrators on May Day. These Latino marchers carry with them a rolling thunder that if left unchecked will cause havoc in the US. The guys who organized these marches are talented pros -- the American politicians who let immigration get out of hand are feckless chumps and have failed the American people. Maybe we should hire these Latino organizers to head our war on terror -- at least they have focus and an ability to set up cells and networks that perform -- How does the Latino American anthem go ?..... only heard the first line -- OH SAY CAN YOU SEE THAT GRINGO BORDER GUARD BY DAWNS EARLY LIGHT -- Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Monday, May 01, 2006

COBRA II ..... A Book Review

COBRA II, a recent book on the Iraq war written by NEW YORK TIMES Michael Gordon and Marine General Bernard Trainor is worth the read. Normally, I would dismiss things by Gordon who was wrong most of the time when he wrote regularly for the NYT years ago on the strategic arms limitation talks. As far as Marine generals, apart from amphibious operations, and command of the bravest of the brave troops, never had much respect for Marine general officers when involved in sustained operations above battalion level. But in this case, changed my mind, bought the book and read it. I will tell you why.

Chris Matthews on MSNBC HARDBALL interviewed General Tommy Franks recently -- General Franks had staged himself for the interview with a large picture window behind him, with two copies of his book displayed balanced on two of the window sashes. Franks is not a handsome man -- the books, the 1965 picture window, and his donkey looks projected a cheesy Saturday Night Live sketch. When Matthews pressed the General on what he thought about some unflattering issues directed toward him in COBRA II, Franks refused to reply to the questions... Matthews asked why he refused to answer. Franks replied he did not want help sell the book. This goofy answer intrigued me. Why so defensive? So I bought he book and read it.

Memoirs by retired generals usually should be taken with a grain of salt. They all have something to prove or a private agenda. I served with General Schwarzkopt in Vietnam in the Americal Division as a Lt Colonel and earlier with his deputy in Desert Storm, General Calvin Waller in Santo Domingo in the 82nd ABN Division as a major. Was underwhelmed with Schwarzkopt's performance, but very impressed with Waller's. Appreciated the Army's wisdom of buttressing Schwarkopt's command in GULF WAR I with a gifted officer like Waller... General Colin Powell was by his own admission a product of affirmative action. He seemed to have problems with most of his general officer assignments and finished his career splattering himself on the UN windshield with his egregiously false promotion of Bush's WMD. As far as General Wesley Clark's war in the Balkans -- he won the war with the air forces destroying Serb infrastructure -- he tried to destroy the Serb army in Kosovo from 30,000 feet -- all he destroyed were Kosovars innocently riding tractors. Serb Army returned to Serbia from Kosovo unscathed and just a little drunk on slivovitz -- Clark's ignominious deployment of Apache helicopters to Albania still needs to be explained -- as matter of fact that whole war should be explained -- so now you understand my skepticism on general officer memoirs.

Much of the information in COBRA II was the result of debriefing POW Iraqi leadership, both civilian and military. From these sources, it was clear now that Saddam's national security priorities were: 1) prevent coup d etat by his own military establishment; 2) prevent uprising by Shiites; 3) defend Iraq from Iran. Bet if you look into the National Intelligence Estimate with which GWB took us to war, you will not find this information there -- Bush wanted Saddam to have the US as enemy number one threat and this was not true; but when Saddam found out it was true, it was too late for him --Saddam was not a threat to the US, period.

WMD -- same sources indicated that all WMD were destroyed in Iraq by Iraqis; further, Saddam made a special effort to scour Iraq to be certain none remained -- you did not find this or even speculation about this in Bush's spurious national estimate -- Saddam apparently was ambiguous in his replies on WMD, because he wanted the Iranians, with whom he fought a bloody war for 8 years, to believe he may have them -- he assumed the US knew the truth.

By the way, there were no SCUD missiles that concerned the Israelis so much -- risk -- lots of manpower and money wasted searching for them, but it made the neocons happy. Just another factor in the war that made it an intelligence debacle.

Planning for the Iraqi invasion was a harum scarum operation with the Pentagon Joint Chiefs mostly cut out out of it. It was a Frank's CENTCOM operation from beginning to the end. Drum beat guidance by Rumsfeld and his neocon cohorts was to invade as fast as you can with as little forces possible. To do this CENTCOM staff had to jettison 8 years of careful planning that included a postwar Iraq -- there was no approved postwar plan when Iraq was invaded. To make planning for a quick, cheap war make sense, faith based intelligence was incorporated into the plan. Accordingly, plans assumed the US forces would be met by happy natives with very little resistance, and fast capitulation of regular Iraqi forces was an expectation. There was no factoring in the irregular Fedayeen -- no thought of insurgency -- strong points, ammunition dumps and urban areas were to be bypassed in the race to Baghdad -- this rosy reception scenario was even incorporated into the rules of engagement (ROE). Planners developed ROE, to the extent that Iraqi civilians carrying rifles should not be engaged -- it took about three days of heavy fighting and some US casualties to shed this ROE -- the authors indicated that the ROE were quickly substituted for the rules of survival.

CENTCOM planners had to shift forces from Afghanistan to Iraq for the build up -- Rumsfeld and his neocons argued that if few forces and Special Forces worked so well in Afghanistan, why not in Iraq. Rumsfeld was desperately trying to justify his concept that light, highly mobile forces could win wars with cutting edge military technology. This was a Deputy SecDef Wolfowitz and Andy Marshall's dream concept -- both of these guys are old time system analyst net assessors. Over the years their concepts were always rejected, because the threat seldom matched their proposed US force structure -- in the case of the invasion of Iraq, they cooked the books on the threat, so it would match the reduced forces requirement for the invasion -- and Franks, instead of falling on his sword, let them get away with it. Additionally the Army system of generating phased support units was side tracked and was later to cause major problems.

Every 2nd Lieutenant infantryman knows that light fast forces are to gain ground and heavy forces are needed to hold it. Apparently Franks forgot this basic rule when he set the plan in Iraq.

Another major element in COBRA II was the narrative of tactical and operational combat of US forces -- reconstruction of battles was based mainly on interviews of those who fought the war on every level -- men were interviewed even in hospital beds. This contribution will remain as an important part of military history as the data was taken while it was still fresh -- before memories faded or molded to fit a future agenda. The book is not a White paper or a white wash... It is all there -- bravery, stupidity, mistakes, friendly fire, glory and interim victory -- there was no question, despite vexations and poor planning, Saddam and his party went down. But what happened after that is the looming defeat that the US nows faces in Iraq.

The book is well sourced with footnotes and copies of important documents. Refreshingly, it is written with candor and eschews political correctness.

The picture of General Franks is not flattering. He comes across as arrogant, narrow minded, inflexible, foolish and in one instance, insensitive to US casualties. War is always organized chaos, bloody and brutal. Things continuously go wrong -- not for boy scouts or the sisterhood. The military leadership is expected to win at all costs and Franks delivered a first phase success, but his planning was terribly flawed for the long term. It is a nine inning ball game and it is the score at the end that counts. Franks wore his team out in the first innings. His misguided planning insured he had no bench to call on for relief.

Buy the book. Spend the money. If for nothing else, to show your appreciation to Mr. Gordon and General Trainor for their fine work. As you read it, you will understand quickly why General Franks does not want it promoted. Robert E Bartos Colonel USA Ret