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America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and Its Enemies
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America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and Its Enemies

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  746 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Dubbed by Barron’s as “The Shadow CIA,” George Friedman’s global intelligence company, Stratfor, has provided analysis to Fortune 500 companies, news outlets, and even the U.S. government. Now Friedman delivers the geopolitical story that the mainstream media has been unable to uncover — the startling truth behind America’s foreign policy and war effort in Afghanistan, Ira ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 5th 2004 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2004)
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Gabriel Itzhaki
Jun 09, 2014 Gabriel Itzhaki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently finished reading the book, "America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between the United States and Its Enemies" by George Friedman. This is a non-fiction book about how George Friedman, founder and chairman of Straftor Forecasting, talks about how many of The United States' past events are all related. He mentions historic events such as 9/11, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan war. Then he enlightens the reader by telling us about how this all plays into the "Hidden ...more
Yaser Alajaji
Oct 02, 2014 Yaser Alajaji rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was written in 2004. It offers a full perspective on the United States' and its major ally Saudi Arabia's setting up and assisting the islamic fighting forces in afghanistan, and later on facing the repercussions and the overt and covert operations to counter-fighting these elements a decade later. Very important to understand the conflict
Mark Bell
Feb 12, 2017 Mark Bell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having lived through and served in the military during the course of the book's contents I took special interest in Friedman's view. The author does an excellent job of laying out a methodical and rational account of our strategy and how it unfolded. Being 12 years since the book's publishing also gives one a sense of wonderment of how Friedman would view the decade and possibly the foreseeable future.
Jan 23, 2008 Ellis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was actually quite good, and I really appreciate the perspective it gave me on the war in Iraq. The title of the book is very appropriate. This book deals with all of the little known facts of the war with Iraq and with the dealings between the US and Arab nations/groups over the past 30 years that contributed to the current relationship that the US and the Arab world has. I always appreciate any book that deals with the recent US/Middle East relations. I think that understanding the a ...more
Karim Hamed
Feb 17, 2017 Karim Hamed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how I missed this book till now, it's insightful considering it was written in 2004.
Ireney Berezniak
George Friedman's work proved to be quite the enlightening insight into the reasoning behind Al Qaeda's attack on the United States, and the response that was forced upon the shoulders of the American leadership. The author argues that "Al Qaeda was not motivated by hatred of the United States [...] Its focus, instead, was on the Islamic world and its governments." Insightful -- if not prophetic -- words for a title published in 2004 ... long before the recent calamity in the Muslim world where ...more
Jan 17, 2008 Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In one fell swoop changed my take on the Iraq thing. In a nutshell -- he argues that the invasion of Iraq was a strategic flanking move aimed at manipulating Saudi Arabia. The strategic thinking behind the U.S. strategy here is way too complex and ruthless to explain or sell to the American people, so instead Bush and crew lied and said it was about WMDs etc.

Friedman says after 9-11 there were just a few options open to us and all involved invading somebody. The cash flow to Al Queda had to be
I liked this book as a straight to the point, easy read of a very complicated history. However, I need a book with references. I enjoyed Friedman's analysis of US motivations, but I found his assessment of Al Qaeda and the Taliban inaccurate. To be fair, perhaps he was working with the most accurate information known at the time. But who would know without references. It frustrated me how, when talking about the motivations for 9/11, Friedman seemed to lump Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban in ...more
Aug 03, 2007 Nicko rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Americans
The War on Terror has devolved into a highly polarized debate over America's involvement in Iraq. At one extreme are the flag-wavers who insist that America's freedom and way of life are threatened by bloodthirsty terrorists bent on our destruction. At the other end of the spectrum are the liberals who decry the war in Iraq, spread calls for retreat, and seek to expose George W. Bush as an incompetent, nearly criminal idiot. George Friedman's astute analysis of the context for the war on terror ...more
Jun 03, 2012 Brenton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Commentaries on current events and policy, especially foreign policy, are naturally handicapped by the fact that they become outdated on an almost monthly basis as new events unfold. That being said, this book was very comprehensive and worth the read, despite being written in what turned out to be just the beginning of a very long Middle Eastern conflict (still not over).

The book is an "insider's look" at what was going on inside the US government in the first few years after September 11th. Ob
Jan 17, 2008 L rated it really liked it
A very fair look at the reasons why we entered Iraq. When supplemented with Stratfor, the book melds together with what was reported on the website and at times Friedman was being too fair with Bush. It is apparent now that the Iranians sucker punched the US into getting involved in taking out Iraq. That Bin Laden was in Bora and because troops were not there from the US, the outsourced domestic tribes paid by the US to keep Bin Laden trapped allowed him to escape and that Iran was never in real ...more
Jonathan Lu
Jul 31, 2013 Jonathan Lu rated it really liked it
another great analysis by Friedman, a true scholar of history that can paint the context driving decisions that may otherwise seem illogical. read this book if nothing else to get an understanding for the immense geopolitical complexity underlying Middle Eastern political relations. Also an extremely vivid depiction of Al Qaeda's 911 undertaking, showing them to be a far more potent and capable adversary than as depicted in The Looming Tower. I can't say I agree with (nor want to) his contention ...more
Jul 24, 2012 Del rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A exciting look into the hidden struggle between the US intelligence communities and various enemies of America. George Friedman is a guy I've respected a long time. Very knowledgeable about global events and risk assessment. Stratfor, his company that focuses on providing strategic global insights to clients who's businesses depend on proper decision making, has always got interesting analysis about the various conflicts around the world. This is his private peak into what has been going on beh ...more
May 26, 2012 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting thesis, though his notion that the strategy to counter AQ evolved serially is not completely accurate. For example, Friedman says the efforts to counter AQ financing emerged after OEF was launched, when in fact, this line of effort was begun the same time the unconventional warfare campaign was being shaped. But actions to counter threat financing began much later than military actions because of the intricate planning necessary in advance of executing these actions. In short, Friedm ...more
Jarred Alexandrov
This book was, in a word, enlightening.

Not only does it reveal the true motivation of Al Queda and their attack on 9/11, but it describes the broad US response and the complex decisions to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

This book was written during the Iraq war which makes it seem unfulfilled today but after reading it you can clearly draw the path to where we are today in our battle against Al Queda and where it is going.

The best part? It describes how Al Queda have largely failed in their mission
Aug 13, 2010 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book addresses the American response to 9/11 the initial operations in Afghanistan, the lead up to the Iraq War, and the war itself up to the provisional government in June 2004. The book was written by the founder and chief executive of Stratfor, an intelligence company well established and practiced in the analysis of geopolitics. Written in 2004, it is a book of history that is being written while the history is unfolding. The analysis was good, but the coverage is naturally dated by its ...more
Jun 17, 2011 Jasmine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political
I honestly did not get a whole lot of this book since it is a couple of years old. I still need to educate myself on what is currently happening in the middle east. (I am not a huge news buff so politics is a little hard for me to stay current on...) and thought that this book would be a good one to help spell out some things that I am still unclear on. But the book focused on mainly things that occurred during 9/11 so I wasn't very interested listening to it during my commute... (I tried to lis ...more
Terry Cornell
Jul 15, 2014 Terry Cornell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Analysis of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq post 9-11. Written in 2004, lists the real reasons the U.S. invaded Iraq, and what our government's agenda was. The book does not take partisan sides and points out strategic blunders as well as victories. To have a better understanding of what is going on today in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria this book is essential. Dr.Friedman is the founder of Stratfor a private intelligence company that provides services for global fortune 2000 companies an ...more
Explains the history of U.S. intelligence in the Middle East, from the origins of the War on Terror through to the initial invasion of Iraq. Provides very effective analysis of intelligence concerns related to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, as well as the roles that intelligence services played in the organization for the invasion of Afghanistan. Interesting, but since it was written in 2003 it seems quite dated. The author's interpretation of the resistance in Iraq - he sees it solely as Baathist r ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Tushar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gives a brilliant insight into the ways of the perpetrators of the september 2001 attacks on American union. Not just that the american strategies of war, how it looks at an impending conflict is laid bare on a coffee book table like no one else better than Friedman could have done. Further the insight he gives about intelligence fraternity and how terrorist groups were able to dodge them at.their own game read covertly operating underneath their skin is what makes this book a must rea ...more
Apr 22, 2009 Sadhbh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started off quite interesting, but by the time I got halfway through I got bored of the intrigue and the politics. Once I figured out that nothing is carried out without an ulterior motive, no one can be trusted and everyone will double cross you at some point, coupled with the fact that I knew what happened in the end anyway, I felt there wasn't much point in continuing and actually put the book down before finishing. Having said that there are probably those who will find this book f ...more
Fredrick Danysh
The CIA has been involved in operations against America's enemies since the Cold War with Russia. After the the downgrade in human intelligence sources, the CIA has used the Islamic religion to counter the Russians in the Middle East often training and arming these fighters. When the war against terror became necessary, the CIA became involved again and worked behind the cover of Middle Eastern governments.
Feb 12, 2009 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book, which, though perhaps a bit dated, opened my eyes to a new set of possible explanations for our current situation in the Middle East. There are no citations, so I assume all of his positions comes from intel gathered by his company, Stratfor.

The book's main strength is the stripped-down, totally dispassionate language. Friedman doesn't pull any punches for either side, and he doesn't make any unfair ones, either.
Don Weidinger
Sep 26, 2014 Don Weidinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carter started Afghan involvement, modern explosives and terrorists, measured responses to determine action overwhelm inputs, began after Ottoman then British then us, missed other events in past similar to 911, dems introduced law to end cia in 91, collect and analyze with native language, global reach strategy, Americans come big and stay, ToraBora 35sqmiles, nukes of Pakistan and dissolved ussr.
Phil Fountain
Aug 26, 2011 Phil Fountain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought I understood the dynamics of the "War On Terror", 9/11 and our country's position. I didn't know squat... well, I certainly got a broader view from Friedman.
I would say the book challenges positions on both the Left and Right and manages to be objective, at least to a degree we're unaccustomed to in this day and age. Friedman lays out the scene while trying to remain above the fray and shows that the whole Democrat/Republican doesn't mean much in the real world of geo-politics.
Aug 01, 2015 Pupsi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
This was an interesting book. The basic premise is that Geo-politics and strategic goals mean that what countries say and what they do may differ. In this context the war with Al Qaeda is portrayed.

The only doubt I have is in some areas the book felt like it was a justification piece on the poor performance. but in other areas I found the book very insightful.
Jul 13, 2010 Benedict rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The CIA has been so incompetent since its beginning that it out-sources its analysis to think tanks like Stratfor.

The CIA made its specialty what is known as serect operations. It forever refused and/or could not give information on our enemies to every American President during its existence so he could make intelligent decisions.
John Fredrickson
Jan 04, 2010 John Fredrickson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political
I enjoyed this book a lot, partly because it appears very non-partisan in its analysis and exposition of the issues and events in the Middle East. It provides a very nuanced look at the players, their strategies, their successes and failures in the struggle for control during a very turbulent time.
Aug 26, 2014 severyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A straight and refreshingly non-partisan reading of the US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, which helps explain the current situation in the Middle East as well.
The last but two sentences, published in 2004: 'Either the US will withdraw from the Islamic world, creating a vacuum to be filled by the Caliphate, or Al Qaeda will be crushed and the spirit that gave rise to it will be defeated.'
Mar 07, 2013 RJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent international relations insight into the early War on Terror. The title of the book might scare some off, sounding conspiratorial and all but it felt quite unbiased and analytical. It breaks down the interests and decisions of many international actors really well and it was easy to read too.
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Dr. Friedman is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of STRATFOR. Since 1996 Dr. Friedman has driven the strategic vision guiding STRATFOR to global prominence in private geopolitical intelligence and forecasting.

Dr. Friedman is the author of The New York Times bestseller “The Next Decade: Where We’ve Been…and Where We’re Going,” which forecasts the major events and challenges that will test Am
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“The events we have passed through form a coherent pattern and the political actors who have shaped the world are rational--if not necessarily moral or decent--actors. Americans tend to think of its leaders as fools and knaves and of its enemies as psychotic. This seems to comfort us. While America's leaders might be knaves, they are not fools, and while our enemies might have utterly different moral values that are repugnant to us, they are far from insane.” 0 likes
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