Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery

I'm not a real Cowboy, but I play one in the movies.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Dodging the Tag and a Book Review

James Rummel at Hell in a Handbasket almost tagged me with the Book Meme, until he discovered my immunity. He linked me anyway, so at least I should post a book review. I just finished An American Soldier, by General Tommy Franks. From the very first page, I kept in mind my impression of his DESERT STORM CENTCOM predecessor's autobiography, It Doesn't Take a Hero. It's a very interesting read, especially since he uses transcripts and notes from the CENTCOM classified archives to put the reader front seat at his meetings with the National Command Authority and his subordinate commanders. He illuminates the points missed or glossed over by the mainstream media like why the 4th ID remained off the coast of Turkey for so long (to freeze northern Iraqi divisions in place...there wasn't room for the 4th in Kuwait for nine days anyway!). He still rues asking President Bush to make a statement thanking the troops for achieving the end of "major combat operations."

General Franks had a very exciting and heroic tour in Vietnam as an artillery forward observer, and was a lean-forward innnovator at every assignment following. Both books trace insightful roadmaps to the constellations of four stars; it's a rare and wonderful mortal who can make the journey. As a young NCO, I was once a "shadow" to my wing commander and got an eyeful and earful at the fast-paced schedule and decision-making demands on staff and flag officers. Never again did I begrudge their reserved parking places or other perks; these high-speed, low-drag movers need most sources of friction removed from their trajectory to ensure they're earning their great big paychecks. Though both were exceptional warrior-diplomats, Gen. Franks illustrated how his war was markedly different from Gen. Schwartzkopf's. They are now neighbors in Tampa, not far from CENTCOM HQ, who, I'm sure, values their consultation.

General Franks' accounts of his meetings with the NCA reinforce my faith in President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and Secretary Rice and make me glad we have folks like that leading our country.


  • At 3:20 AM, Blogger Da Goddess said…

    I loved the book myself. I've read it twice now. And my copy is signed. My son was very impressed by Franks and I think I may have actually swooned a little upon shaking his hand.


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