Marine general Tony Zinni was known as the "Warrior Diplomat" during his nearly forty years of service. His credentials as a soldier were impeccable, whether he was leading troops in Vietnam, commanding hair-raising rescue operations in Somalia, or - as Commander in Chief of CENTCOM - directing strikes against Iraq and Al Qaeda. But it was as a peacemaker that he made just as great a mark - conducting dangerous troubleshooting missions all over Africa, Asia, and Europe, and then serving as Secretary of State Colin Powell's special envoy to the Middle East, before disagreements over the 2003 Iraq war and its probable aftermath caused him to resign." Battle Ready follows the evolution of both General Zinni and the Marine Corps, from the cauldron of Vietnam through the operational revolution of the '70s and '80s, to the new realities of the post-Cold War, post-9/11 military - a military with a radically different tools for accomplishing it. Opinions differ sharply about just what that job and those tools should be - and General Zinni makes it clear where he stands..
"In the lead-up to the Iraq War and its later conduct, I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility, at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption." So says former U.S. Central Command commander in chief Zinni, who retired in September 2000 and has been outspoken ever since regarding the uses and abuses of the U.S. military. This book is the latest of Clancy's nonfiction Commanders series, which has previously featured collaborations with Gen. Fred Franks Jr. of the army, Gen. Chuck Horner of the air force and Gen. Carl Stiner, formerly U.S. Special Operations commander. As in those books, Clancy gives adequate background on his subject and his subject's context, then quotes him liberally, consigning tens of pages at a time to Zinni's italicized first-person reflections. Beginning the book with the 1998 CentCom-coordinated attack on Saddam Hussein (the unfortunately named Operation Desert Fox), Clancy and Zinni next move through 150 or so pages of Zinni's service as a Philadelphia-born (in 1947) Marine infantry officer during Vietnam and his racially charged Headquarters and Service stint on Okinawa in the early '70s. The book then flashes forward to the end of the Cold War and steams along from there, with details on Zinni's European command service, including 1990 meetings with a recently de-Sovietized Russian army and support operations during the Persian Gulf War. Zinni joined CentCom just in time for the Somalia debacle, and he is candid about its failings. Over the next years, Zinni traveled widely in parts of the world that were obscure to the U.S. then (Pakistan, Central Asia), but are central now, and played cat-and-mouse with Saddam regarding weapons inspections all through the late '90s. But it is Zinni's 24-page closing statement, "The Calling," that will sell the book to nonbuff civilians, summing up his service and the ways in which he feels his generation's legacy is in jeopardy. (June 1) Forecast: Often too detailed for nonenthusiasts, this BOMC Main Selection and Military Book Club Main Selection will be used as background by pundits and other writers trying to understand the relation of Clinton-era dealings with Saddam to those of Bush 43. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
May 02, 2005
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Battle Ready by Tom Clancy
THE TOMAHAWKS WERE SPINNING up in their tubes.
It was November 12, 1998. U.S. Marine General Tony Zinni, the commander in chief of United States Central Command (CENTCOM), was standing in his command room overlooking the command center at CENTCOM's Tampa, Florida, headquarters, leading the preparations for what promised to be the most devastating attack on Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War.
The spacious command center was fitted out with desks, phones, computers, maps, and large and small screens showing updates and the positions of aircraft and ships. In addition to the usual office-type furnishings, the windowed room had secure phones and video communications with Zinni's superiors and his commanders in the field. It was Zinni's battle position-the bridge of his ship.
At the end of the First Gulf War, Iraq had agreed to the UN-supervised destruction of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the programs to develop and build them. That agreement had been a lie. The Saddam Hussein regime had never intended to give up its WMD program, and for the next seven years it had conducted a running battle with UNSCOM, the UN inspection operation in Iraq, to protect its programs in any way possible . . . by hiding them, moving them around, lying, stonewalling, delay, and noncooperation.
The two essential issues covered by the UN mandate were compliance and accountability. That is, the inspectors had to ask and get satisfactory answers to these questions: "Are the Iraqis in compliance with the UN requirement to destroy their WMD and completely dismantle their WMD programs? And are they satisfactorily accounting for the programs and WMD they claim to have destroyed?" The absence of Iraqi cooperation on both of these issues led UNSCOM to make the obvious assumption that the Iraqis were hiding something-either that the weapons still existed or that the Iraqis at least wanted to maintain their capability to make them. UNSCOM had to look hard at the worst case.*
When UNSCOM had persisted in carrying out the UN mandate, the Iraqis had raised the stakes-by making it ever harder for UNSCOM to do its job. There had been greater and greater threats and intimidation, lies, obstruction, and hostility . . . allied with a diplomatic assault aimed at splitting off powerful states friendly to Iraq (principally France, Russia, and China) from the rest of the Security Council and using their support to sabotage the disarmament effort.
With each Iraqi escalation came a counterthreat from the United States: "If UNSCOM is forced to leave Iraq with their work unfinished, the U.S. will hit Iraq and hit it hard." The threat caught the Iraqis' attention. As each escalation neared its climax, and the inspectors started to pull out of the country, the Saddam Hussein regime blinked, backed down, and let them return-though each time with fewer teeth.
But now it looked like the Iraqis were not going to blink. The day before, November 11, the UN inspection teams had left once again, apparently for good. As they left, President Clinton had given Zinni the signal to go. The twenty-four-hour launch clock had started.
Zinni knew the moment was approaching for the cruise missile launch-the moment of truth. These weren't airplanes. Once the Tomahawks were in the air, they could not be recalled.
Before him was an open line to the White House, where the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) vice-chairman, Air Force General Joe Ralston, was sitting. Before him, too, was another line to his Navy component commander, Vice Admiral Willy Moore, in Bahrain. Moore was in constant communications with the eight ships that would launch the initial cruise missile salvo. The clock ticked on.