Command Influenceby Robert A. Shaines
A true story that reads like a novel set in war torn South Korea. This book reflects the best and the worst of our military and shows how political motives can impact those in command of the military. It exemplifies the expendability of the rank and file to advance the careers of the powerful.
- Outskirts Press, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.88(d)
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If you are a seeker of U.S. Military history, more specifically facts and experiences relating to the Korean War, this is a rare chance to hear it told from the perspective of a young man at the age of 23, who now at 81 shares his unique story. He has finally put a lifelong quest to tell his tale into 'Command Influence'. A thoughtful and deliberately crafted book that allows both those with and without familiarity with military terms and language to understand and visualize the experiences of his journey navigating a wartime Korea and a history making chapter in American military law and politics.
From the very first page I found myself totally absorbed. Mr. Shaines'expressive and desriptive writing style continuously transported me through out the book. I could feel the disdain Mr. Shaines articulated, not only for the situation he found himself in but,also for the "Command Influence" dictating the outcome of Lt. George C. Schreiber's court martial. Dan Wallace
Command Influence is the memoirs of Robert A. Shaines, mostly covering the years he was a JAG officer in the Air Force. He shares his experiences in the Air Force and Korea; however, his main focus is on the trial of George C. Schreiber. Shaines was one of three defense attorneys when Schreiber was charged and convicted of premeditated murder. Twenty-five year old Schreiber was a teacher in Illinois before joining the service. His was well-liked and his reputation was spotless. It was obvious to Shaines the man was not only innocent, he was also was the scapegoat to appease the Koreans and to further the career of some military officers. Shaines supports his story with lots of documentation, quotes, photographs, and letters. Often he utilizes the transcript from the trial. This is a story that needed to be told, not only for the author's peace of mind, but to clear the name of Schreiber. I have no doubt Schreiber is innocent. Mr. Shaines convinced me. The last part of this book was my favorite. Shaines' conversation with Schreiber's family was priceless. My suggestion for this book is to present the story as a fictional account of an actual event rather than a memoir. All in all I found this tale fascinating. This is a story that had to be told. I find that both Schreiber and Shaines are/were courageous men.
I got this book for free. "Command Influence: A story of Korea and the politics of injustice" by Robert A. Shaines (Website) is a first hand account of the trial of Lt. George C. Schreiber by his military defense attorney, who is the author. At the time Mr. Shaines was a young idealistic attorney, part of a defense team which had a losing battle on their hands. The story takes place in Pusan, Korea 1952. Lt. George C. Schreiber is the 25 year old second lieutenant in charge of the Air Police (Air Force) guard unit. The former fifth grade teacher from Brookfield, IL is charged and court martial for premeditated murder. For 23 year old Air Force lawyer (and author of this memoir) the charge makes no sense and he does his best, convinced of Lt. Schreiber's innocence, to get the accused released. Command Influence" by Robert A. Shaines is a captivating book in which Mr. Shaines recounts his memories as a defending lawyer in the case of The United States v. Lt. George C. Schreiber. Lt. Schreiber was the appointed scapegoat in a trial for the murder of a Korean man (whose real name was never found). Mr. Shaines, a military attorney on the Lieutenant's defense team, was fighting a battle which outcome was already decided. Part of the book is a scathing criticism of what was then the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), part of it is a memoir and part is interjections by Mr. Shaines himself. The title of the book comes from what Mr. Shaines said drove the trial - mainly that those in command influenced the outcome regardless of justice. Unfortunately "command influence" is still seen these days, if not in the courts then in reshaping history. As a former solider myself I can certainly understand how a lowly grunt feels when being grilled by a superior officer, looking for the "right" answers regardless of what is just. On top of that keep in mind that not having the "right" answers could make your life extremely difficult - the last thing a grunt wants in a war zone. Mr. Shaines goes to great lengths to make his point, that is that Lt. Schreiber was set-up by the commanding generals to appease the Koreans and the mother of the solider who actually killed the Korean man (the Lt. was charged with giving the order). The author provides letters, quotes court transcripts, conversations, press releases and other relevant material. This is a very convincing memoir and I have no doubt, as does the author and anyone who actually followed the trial (including lawyers not on the team) as to Lt. Schreiber's innocence. It is fascinating to read the transcripts and get the lawyer's opinion of how those questions and answers made an important point during the trial, how the behavior affected the outcome and what it's like to deal with/ argue in-front of a hostile person who outranks you. To me, the last few chapters were especially fascinating and by themselves worth the price of the book. Mr. Shaines goes on to explain how this specific court case is still relevant to this day. The case forced U.S. Congress to tweak the UCMJ and put better measures in place to protect civilians who have been discharged from the military. The implication of this case still resound with us today where the President can order a citizen arrested without trial and the shadow of Guantanamo Bay floats over the news headlines almost daily. However, I thought the book could be a bit better written and edited. The narrative didn't flow smo
I was born during the Korean War and have always been interested in the subject. This book explains the background to the conflict, and also the terrible conditions that the UN backed troops had to endure in the name of peacekeeping. The author was a recently qualified lawyer in the US Air Force in 1952, and was told he was being posted to France, but somehow he landed in Korea! Korea had been split in half after World War II, with the Soviet Union in charge of the north, while the south was controlled by the United States. The story follows the case of Lieutenant George Schreiber, who was charged with murder, following the death of a Korean at the base he was stationed at. The actual killing was carried out my one of his men, Thomas Kinder, whose defence was that the officer in charge, Schreiber, had ordered him to do it. The case was brought some time after the actual event as, at the time, no action was deemed necessary. The Korean had been caught inside the base, attempting to steal or cause damage, and had been injured when he resisted arrest. He was later taken to be released outside the camp, which was the usual procedure with this type of occurrence. Unfortunately, he was shot and killed after attacking the airman guarding him. The court case was always slanted towards the prosecution, as the 'command influence' of the title was brought to bear. The defence team fought valiantly for their client against heavy odds, and the detailed retelling of the case makes up the bulk of the book. There is a lot of legalese but it is well worth reading to find out how the legal side of the US Air Force was operating in those days in a theatre of war. An excellent book, and an enjoyable read, especially for history buffs and legal eagles!
The Korean War has received little notice from historians, yet it was one of the bloodiest and costliest wars in American history. The details of the politics involved are exposed in this book