General's War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf

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In a unique combination of journalism and military expertise, Michael R. Gordon, chief defense correspondent for The New York Times, and retired three-star Marine Corps General Bernard E. Trainor provide a definitive, behind-the-scenes account and analysis of the planning and execution of the Persian Gulf War. The inside story of the war is a tale of politics and clashing military cultures: while one war was being waged against Iraq, another was being fought among the generals themselves. Drawing on interviews ...
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Overview

In a unique combination of journalism and military expertise, Michael R. Gordon, chief defense correspondent for The New York Times, and retired three-star Marine Corps General Bernard E. Trainor provide a definitive, behind-the-scenes account and analysis of the planning and execution of the Persian Gulf War. The inside story of the war is a tale of politics and clashing military cultures: while one war was being waged against Iraq, another was being fought among the generals themselves. Drawing on interviews with senior allied officials in the Persian Gulf, Western Europe, and the United States, The Generals' War offers unvarnished portraits of top military commanders, as well as new disclosures about the conflicts and power struggles within the anti-Iraq coalition and the American high command. The Air Force believed that wars could be decided through strategic bombing. The Army saw the war as an opportunity to apply its doctrine of maneuver warfare. The Marine Corps approached the Gulf with a history of expeditionary warfare and amphibious assault. The Navy remained aloof from Central Command, preferring to act on its own. Although General Colin Powell and General H. Norman Schwarzkopf were tasked with developing a unified plan from these separate, sometimes conflicting agendas, they never fully harmonized the war plans. As a result, half of Iraq's Republican Guard forces got away. Three and a half years after what was considered a decisive victory, some of the same Iraqi Republican Guard forces that the allies had failed to destroy again menaced Kuwait, forcing President Clinton to order American troops back to the Persian Gulf to prevent a second Iraqi invasion. Saddam Hussein was entrenched and unbowed. The Persian Gulf War was an incomplete success.

The chief Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times and a retired three-star Marine Corps general join forces to bring readers the definitive account of the Persian Gulf conflict and its aftermath. Maps.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawing on interviews with senior officials and newly declassified documents, Gordon and Trainor provide a behind-the-scenes look at the Gulf War's generalship. The dominant figure, then-chairman of the joint chiefs General Colin Powell, is spotlighted as a politico-military maestro overseeing the dawn of a new era in military technology. In their review of the short, violent, one-sided war, the authors uncover the problems of cooperation among coalition forces and reveal details of interservice tensions, as well as difficulties within the U.S. branches themselves. This meticulous reconstruction of American leadership in Desert Shield/Desert Storm presents the conflict as a laboratory for testing new weapons and doctrine and the services' capacity for cooperation in the field. It also serves as an object lesson in the failure of deterrence and the problem of war termination, with a discussion of President Bush's premature cease-fire order. Gordon is chief New York Times Pentagon correspondent; Trainor is military columnist for the Times. Photos not seen by PW. (Jan.)
Library Journal
If the Vietnam War was conducted by politicians in Washington, the war for Kuwait was, according to New York Times correspondent Gordon and retired general Trainor, our "generals' war." The authors astutely conclude that President Bush understood what his predecessors never did. Neither Johnson nor Nixon, nor for that matter National Security Council adviser Henry Kissinger, allowed the military to wage a winning war. The lesson was well learned by the savvy Gen. Colin Powell, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who directed his subordinates to lash out against the Iraqis with everything we had save for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Kuwait was not Vietnam, however, and the unmotivated Iraqis were not the Vietcong. Aggrandized as "the world's fourth largest military," the enemy fizzled away within hours when confronted with the world's premier military force. Thus, it came as no surprise that Washington won the battle, but with Saddam Hussein still in power four years after hostilities ended, has it won the war? This cogent analysis provides several disturbing answers worthy of our attention. Recommended for informed lay readers and specialists.-Joseph A. Kechichian, Rand Corp., Santa Monica, Cal.
Eugene Sullivan
This inside view of the battle between high U.S. command officers in the conflict with Iraq is a fascinating and sustained analysis of the friction that takes place in real warfare. Writer Gordon teams with retired Marine general Bernard Trainor to record the struggles of the generals of the combined services in their endeavor to plan and execute the massive 500,000-troop movement that achieved the short and stunning victory over Iraqi forces. An important question is posed: Why didn't the generals press on to dismantle the Republican Guard of Saddam Hussein, and what were the consequences of their decision against such an act? The Air Force strategy called for constant precision bombing in the heart of Baghdad. Over 30 days of bombing weakened but did not finish off the enemy. The land attack, whose success was clearly foreshadowed, was concluded too soon and allowed Hussein to keep the Republican Guard intact. The authors believe that the cautious philosophy of General Colin Powell and the eagerness of General Norman Schwarzkopf to get out with an Army victory, combined with the decision of President Bush and his advisers, led to the unfortunate staying power of Saddam Hussein. The final conclusion is undeniable--the gate had not been closed in Iraq, and this book explains why.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316321723
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 551
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.53 (d)

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