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!Free Pdf ♻ The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army ♰ 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 Great book Not too long Perhaps a bitcould 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 i Great book Not too long Perhaps a bitcould 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 This book follows the careers of 4 Army officers who served as contemporaries and who achieved the rank of General, 4 star rank, and served in Iraq together, all of them having an impact on events there It traces the details of their careers and the forces that shaped the way they conducted themselves at the level of high command Once the thrust of the book moved away from the biographies of these men, it became the story of how the U S conducted itself in postwar Iraq in solving the problem This book follows the careers of 4 Army officers who served as contemporaries and who achieved the rank of General, 4 star rank, and served in Iraq together, all of them having an impact on events there It traces the details of their careers and the forces that shaped the way they conducted themselves at the level of high command Once the thrust of the book moved away from the biographies of these men, it became the story of how the U S conducted itself in postwar Iraq in solving the problems there, in helping to create a stable government, and in combating the snowballing insurgency The book became an account of how the military let the country slide into civil war before they were able to successfully put the puzzle pieces together and turn the situation around These generals are George Casey, John Abizaid, Peter Chiarelli, and David Petraeus I got apositive impression of military competence from this book than I get from periodicals and the evening news Though the book may be a bit partisan, it does present an image of a military recognizing what needed to be done before their civilian bosses and beginning to move in that direction The title and PR on the book hinted at a mild expose, at a failure by 2 of these generals and a deliverance by the other two I found this not exactly true They were all working effectively toward the same vision and end result Washington policy deeply affected the day to day efforts of these officers and those serving with them General Abizaid directed operations for the Mideast region Casey and his executive, Chiarelli, were responsible for Iraq They were blamed when the sectarian violence threatened to spiral beyond the points where the Army and the 2 governments could contain it Petraeus, perhaps rightly so, gets the credit for driving the counterinsurgency doctrine that returned the country to the most stable condition we ve seen since 2003 What happens in the book, the future of the Army, is a shift from conventional warfare to counterinsurgency tactics, a shift now also underway in Afghanistan as well The debate about counterinsurgency has been going on for years in the wake of Vietnam Because our larger enemy in that war was the North Vietmanese Army and because they conducted conventional tactical operations the U S military fought a conventiional war as well, though the perception of history is often different And after the war the Army, eager to forget Vietnam, refocused on what they considered their primary mission, responding to major land conflicts in Europe and elsewhere Cloud and Jaffe don t approach the issue in that way and for that reason lessen the impact of counterinsurgency doctrine and strategy in Iraq after Petraeus had taken command following Casey s elevation to Army Chief I personally think the change of gears in Iraq to that of counterinsurgency is quite distinct from previous approaches, and decidedly effective The Fourth Star, despite its claim to describe the events affecting the future of the Army, seems to avoid giving credit to that policy I picked this book up just prior to the recent fall out over Gen McChrystal and the naming of Gen Petraeus as his replacement I thought it ended up being a pretty timely read.More than anything, this book cemented my belief that we did not have a game plan going into Iraq Based on the accounts provided here, no one was talking to anyone to figure out what to do they were all trying their best, just with different ideas of what should happen I suspect that if the leadership from the civili I picked this book up just prior to the recent fall out over Gen McChrystal and the naming of Gen Petraeus as his replacement I thought it ended up being a pretty timely read.More than anything, this book cemented my belief that we did not have a game plan going into Iraq Based on the accounts provided here, no one was talking to anyone to figure out what to do they were all trying their best, just with different ideas of what should happen I suspect that if the leadership from the civilian side had been stronger from the President all the way to Congress , the Generals in charge might have had a better chance of succeeding in a quicker manner At least that is my take from what is provided in the book.This book also made it clear to me, probably for the first time, that there was not one person I could point to and blame for the continuation of the war in Iraq There were so many chances for things to go differently had there been proper communication between civilian leadership and military leadership Not to mention that if the folks in Washington could have put aside party politics and thought for just ONE MINUTE about the soldiers there, maybe it would have endedquickly.Anyway, this is supposed to be a review of the book, not a review of the war I thought they made Gen Petraeus out to be a little too God like Instead of the weird quirks being weird quirks, they are signs of a brilliant mind I m sure he is brilliant, I d just like for the descriptions and things of him to at least feel a little less adoring.I really enjoyed learning about how the Army s ideology has changed since Vietnam and been changed by that conflict I hadn t ever really given thought to the fact that there is a ideology behind warfare It is an interesting read for that fact alone.I also found it funny in a sad sort of way to read the General s pronoucements of what would be happening in Iraq by 2008 and 2009 How sobering to realize that the government and military leaders have been telling us essentially the exact same thing since 2003 The writers made sure that this material didn t become too tedious I definitely reccommend reading this Whether you support the war in Iraq or not, you ll learn something either way This is the story of four senior leaders of the Iraq War Casey, Abizaid, Chirelli and Petraeus following them from their time as junior officer to 2007 2008 I was contacted by one of the authors Jaffe on a recommendation from someone I know in DC last year about the book and he asked some very informed questions about my time in South Baghdad so I can attest to the depth of some of their work I chose not participate in the book however because I didn t feel I could shed light on the This is the story of four senior leaders of the Iraq War Casey, Abizaid, Chirelli and Petraeus following them from their time as junior officer to 2007 2008 I was contacted by one of the authors Jaffe on a recommendation from someone I know in DC last year about the book and he asked some very informed questions about my time in South Baghdad so I can attest to the depth of some of their work I chose not participate in the book however because I didn t feel I could shed light on the officer he asked me about in particular although I think he does a great job portraying him The bottom line is that I think it is a great read and can help guys like us understand why things appeared to be so screwed up in the Summer of 2006 To some extent it condems Casey, is critical of Abizaid, sympathetic to Chirelli and admires Petraeus assessments I do not necessarily hold But it is not an expose or anything like that he clearly had the cooperation of these guys when he wrote it And while it glosses over much the disfunction below MNF I in Baghdad in 2006 in particular which I was a witness to , it does not attempt to be THE definitive account of the 2006 2007 campaign It s value is putting the perspective of these higher leaders into the context of the fight for Iraq valuable for those of us who served below them This is really a great book that looks the the careers of four of the premier U.S Army general officers at the top levels of leadership over the past decade or so In many ways, their experiences encompass the main themes and events of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Readers learn about the lives and careers of John Abizaid, Peter Chiarelli, George Casey, Jr., and David Petraeus, all of whom ascended to four star rank On Petraeus, I also recently read Paula Broadwell s biography of him, and This is really a great book that looks the the careers of four of the premier U.S Army general officers at the top levels of leadership over the past decade or so In many ways, their experiences encompass the main themes and events of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Readers learn about the lives and careers of John Abizaid, Peter Chiarelli, George Casey, Jr., and David Petraeus, all of whom ascended to four star rank On Petraeus, I also recently read Paula Broadwell s biography of him, and after having read this one, I think it is theobjective rendering of the man I think that Broadwell may have been too close or too beholden to him for the access she was getting to include some of thecritical things that Cloud and Jaffe do in this book Of course, as that this book was published in 2009, if you want to read about Petraeus s command in Afghanistan, you won t find it here, and Broadwell s book is a good place to read about that I also liked that Abizaid s experience as an Olmsted Scholar in Jordan in the late 1970s was frequently referenced in terms of the effect that it had on him and his suitability for some of the senior posts and commands he later rose to Though again, as with Petraeus, the authors do not say that everything Abizaid did was good he came in with a few warts as well In all, I found it be a quite balanced and interesting survey of the Army, the U.S military, and how conditions changed from the beginning of the careers of these fine leaders in the wake of Vietnam to the first decade of the 21st century Highly recommended The Fourth Star, for the most part, follows the careers of four of the most influential Army generals of the modern era It takes you on a journey from their formative years on up to the war in Iraq The book does a good job of documenting the generals careers, highlighting both their strengths and, in some cases, their weaknesses.As the book moves on, it begins to use the generals careers as a device to explore the failed policies of the US government in Iraq While this was great, it left out The Fourth Star, for the most part, follows the careers of four of the most influential Army generals of the modern era It takes you on a journey from their formative years on up to the war in Iraq The book does a good job of documenting the generals careers, highlighting both their strengths and, in some cases, their weaknesses.As the book moves on, it begins to use the generals careers as a device to explore the failed policies of the US government in Iraq While this was great, it left out a lot of information about the generals careers outside of Iraq This is further compounded by the early publication of this book leaves out the eventual disintegration of the Iraq strategies these men promulgated as well as some of the controversies late in some of their careers.It is a book trying to be one thing and at the same time trying to be another.Despite this it was a very interesting read about some very important men in US military history This book provided some great insight into some of the most powerful Generals in the US Army It starts off with fairly short bios for each man, covering their early life and decisions to join the Army Then the authors follow their careers until all 4 Generals are tested in Operation Iraqi Freedom I enjoyed getting a closer look on how the Generals were viewing the war which varied, sometimes significantly, from what they said publicly at the time.I d have liked to see the book coverof This book provided some great insight into some of the most powerful Generals in the US Army It starts off with fairly short bios for each man, covering their early life and decisions to join the Army Then the authors follow their careers until all 4 Generals are tested in Operation Iraqi Freedom I enjoyed getting a closer look on how the Generals were viewing the war which varied, sometimes significantly, from what they said publicly at the time.I d have liked to see the book coverof the end of the Iraq War We get to the surge, then the book just ends I m guessing that as the Generals had moved on to other things and other Wars , that it was beyond the scope of the book I m still looking for the definitive history of the Iraq War I may not one to judge but I found the book a bit to article like and although the information was a bit flat in the details about the men behind the stars It may start off as study of military leadership, but degenerates quickly into a critique of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which dominatesthan half the writing.Naturally, there is little to no discussion of the successful endeavors of the last decade millions freed from tyranny, democracy spreading throughout the region also supported I may not one to judge but I found the book a bit to article like and although the information was a bit flat in the details about the men behind the stars It may start off as study of military leadership, but degenerates quickly into a critique of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which dominatesthan half the writing.Naturally, there is little to no discussion of the successful endeavors of the last decade millions freed from tyranny, democracy spreading throughout the region also supported by Obama , toppling genocidal regimes in rapid time, avenging 9 11 and the deaths of 3400 Americans, etc Those are ignored or covered rapidly as background to further criticism.Oh, and of course, The Surge that every Democrat and some Republicans opposed but Bush McCain bravely and successfully chose is ignored When it is mentioned briefly, it s done only as way to correct prior tactical errors.Additionally, very little coverage of risky and successful free elections before pushing the issue aside to focus on violence or killing terrorist leaders This book was mainly penned pre Obama, therefore the war and its mission was still bad then Hypocrisy Particularly, the authors make the esteemed generals they re supposedly honoring who accomplishfor society in one day than these writers have in their lives look confused and forever at odds Bush is also criticized, and disproven clich s about rushing into war are included ad nausea.Strong terms like Humiliating setbacks, disasters, strained tensions and so on are common words, as are opinions disguised as facts.The 43rd POTUS being congenial, open minded, humble and a good listener unlike Obama, who only looks at the war politically is never described in such ways, unless interpreted by a sentient reader.Perhaps most odiously, rather than note that we have the most educated, best trained soldiers in US history, our troops and officers are shown to have low morale, be undereducated, suffer from low re enlistment rates, obstinate to changing tried tested military strategies, discouraging of creativity and anti intellectual Commanders are mocked as choleric killers counting dead bodies.Lovely.Instead, the authors laud nitwits who challenge status quo and support social science academic intelligentsia at West Point The military may be a bureaucracy, but it isn t incompetent, change resistant public education it s the strongest force for freedom in world history.Sec Rumsfeld, to no surprise, is not portrayed kindly Colin Powell is barely mentioned, and when he is, he s praised Naturally, Powell gets off scot free, even though he was the real phony in the Bush Admin Not much credit for Petraeus COIN either, which tore apart the flawed Powell Doctrine, which occasionally works, but also shows inane fear of public will, which is often overstated, since while fatuous elites have fatigue, military families regularly do not.Effective COIN reduced the violence and U.S casualties against all odds It allowed the army to achieve its mission of helping secure a functioning, elected Iraqi government And to pacify the military haters, U.S troops ended their combat role in 2010 for better or worse.And on that topic, if you want a real look at the war, read Paula Broadwell s All In, a very objective book about Gen Petraeus.It s amazing this book could be so slanted hard left, yet the NYT s reviewer, like a child, begged forwar bashing What is missing from The Fourth Star is a sense of the magnitude of the Iraqi disaster not merely what the generals inherited, but also what they, especially Abizaid and Casey, wrought The Iraqi strategy conceived by Abizaid and Caseyled directly to the catastrophe that Iraq became Read history much Look at FDR and Wilson s flawed rhetoric and epic blunders in the two world wars Instead, the only prior war endeavors mentioned are Defeat in Vietnam and the military hitting its nadir Over over All conjecture, written as fact In so many ways, an amazing book Jaffe tells a truly remarkable story in fantastic detail without sacrificing the narrative elements common to any page turning novel The Fourth Star is an absolute must for anyone concerned with the inner workings, recent operational history, or leadership of the US Army.