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

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  468 ratings  ·  51 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
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
JTobscure
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
Ray
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...more
Brenton
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...more
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
Ellis
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
Nicko
Aug 05, 2007 Nicko rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Jonathan Lu
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
Rick
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...more
Tom
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
Sadhbh
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
Jasmine
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
Tushar
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
Phil Fountain
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.
Craig
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.
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.
Jim Johnson
Assuming that the author's sources were correct, he did a superb job changing my perceptions of the United States' involvement with Iraq. Although things got a bit dry at times, Friedman aptly presented a lot of background and historical analysis that was very enjoyable. It is refreshing to approach a subject in a novel way and to (hopefully) gain some insight.
Nathan
a yawner. nothing here that you haven't already read in the newspaper. the bob woodward books were much more interesting. this book read like an chronological outline that the author collapsed into prose with a rotating and repetitive set of transition words. "First...", "Second...", "Additionally...", "However...". I was speed reading by the end.
Moominboy
Very enlightening read about how global politics work. I thought I could comprehend the moves and the size of the chessboard but I was wrong. It displays how complicated any global power game can be (not necessarily a conflict-related one). Although, after reading it, you realize how insignificant a single citizen's political power really is.
Benedict
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.
Zach
This book seemed unjustly sympathetic to the US Military's perspective and derisive of the peace movement. That said, it did expand my view of the recent US campaigns in the middle east by filling in the blanks with names, places, and dates to check with a different source. Overall I found the author's expertise valuable.
Stephen
Definitely a good analysis of our current situation and how we got here. Obviously the book is a little dated, but still a good read. However, I choose to put this disclaimer. Mr. Friedman's group has been wrong lately on the papal vote, and several other things. Therefore I choose to take his opinions with a grain of salt.
RJ
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.
John Fredrickson
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.
Mikekite
Good inside intel agency documentary about the lead up to the Iraq War. This is not an anti-war book, nor a hawkish book, just a deeper history of events, with some speculation on the motives of the persons creating the events. Perfect if you want real-world Tom Clancy feel, and no fiction.
Dennis Willingham
Great analysis of causes and reasons for the Afganastan and Iraq wars. Great emphasis on fact and analysis rather than value judgements. Endevors to explain what transpired, what it was intended to do and why instead of judging was an action right or wrong moraly.
AmblingBooks
"Predictions have made George Friedman a hot property these days." � Wall Street Journal

Listen to America's Secret War on your iPhone, desktop, or smartphone.
Andy
Everyone who every believed what politicians said about the Afghan and Iraq conflicts should read this book, some will find it startling. For the less trusting amongst us it merely confirms just how misguided US foreign policy has been.
Melissa
Interesting. I listened to the audio CD of the book during my daily commute. Friedman argues that the strategic motives behind the Iraq War were always known by the decision makers (obviously not WMDs) but just kept from the public.
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183160
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...more
More about George Friedman...
The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century The Next Decade: What the World Will Look Like The Future of War: Power, Technology and American World Dominance in the Twenty-first Century The Coming War With Japan The Intelligence Edge: How to Profit in the Information Age

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