Item description for The Wars of the Bushes: A Father and Son as Military Leaders by Stephen Tanner...
It is a remarkable twist in history that over a period of 30 years the only full-fledged military campaigns waged by the United States have been initiated by a father and son-the two presidents Bush. Yet rather than representing a continuity in American policy, the wars launched by the Bushes have revealed a vast chasm between those who believe the New World should stand as a beacon for global freedom, and those who think that America should be its unilateral enforcer.
In The Wars of the Bushes: A Father and Son as Military Leaders, military historian Stephen Tanner describes the four major military conflicts launched by the presidents Bush. After a brief description of America's military experience from Vietnam to the end of the Cold War, he begins his in-depth examinations with the invasion of Panama and the Gulf War, which were launched by Bush the elder. Both were characterized by decisive, overwhelming force, matching military capability to geopolitical goals with decisive results. Having positioned America as the moral, as well as military, leader of the world, Bush the elder also cushioned the collapse of the Soviet Union with diplomacy rather than warfare, an achievement that may have been his greatest triumph.
In Bush the son, Tanner has found it difficult to recognize the father, though acknowledging that while the former was greeted by the fall of the Berlin Wall in the first autumn of his presidency, the latter was greeted by the fall of New York's Twin Towers, an altogether more frightening event. But while the father built upon his opportunities to position America at the head of a global alliance, the son has adopted novel doctrines such as pre-emption and pre-eminence, which have left the United States shorn of world support.
Standing apart from other analysts, Tanner criticizes the American war in Afghanistan as a timid failure, in which Bush the younger claimed a hollow victory while allowing the leadership of the Taliban, and most importantly, Al Qaeda to escape.
He then examines the long build-up to the invasion of Iraq, during which the younger Bush divested himself of the worldwide respect earned by his father in order to prosecute a war that had nothing to do with 9/11. The great WMD scare of 2002 is described in all its propagandistic intensity, as well as Americ'as ensuing invasion and occupation. In Iraq, according to Tanner, the United States has undertaken its first war in which it creates more enemies than it can destroy.
The Wars of the Bushes provides a juxtaposition between the father's vision of America's role in the world and the son's. On the one hand stood the world's sole remaining superpower as an admired nation on the cusp of a Pax Americana, and on the other, now in the 21st century, we stand as the mistrusted head of a disparate Coalition of the Willing. Between the two Bush presidencies, the Clinton years are also examined in these pages, for all their fascination.
As the American armed forces currently fight their longest, bloodiest war since Vietnam-unwisely, as then, attempting to subdue an older, foreign culture-this book provides a valuable perspective by comparing the presidencies of two men related by blood but not by experience and character, or in a shared view of America's unique qualities.
In The Wars of the Bushes, Tanner posits that the United States has recently taken a detour along its path to true greatness. But the solution is clear, he believes, and to solve the problem Bush the son need only look back slightly in history-to the surehanded grasp of American policies and principles that were once held by his father.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Wars of the Bushes: A Father and Son as Military Leaders?
A Tale of Two Books Oct 12, 2007
While reading the first half of Stephen Tanner's book, THE WARS OF THE BUSHES: A FATHER AND SON AS MILITARY LEADERS, I was exceedingly impressed with Tanner's ability to simply report the historical facts. In fact, I surmised that one hundred years from now, when today's crop of political pundits and spin doctors are long gone and forgotten, Tanner's book could be used as a High School text book on the late 20th/ early 21st century American political scene.
This is precisely the way historical content should be recorded. There is minimal editorializing, it is simply a recording of the factual evidence with no political sway one way or the other. Leave the reader up to forming their own opinions.
If this were a two-part book, I would give the first part 5 stars. But then on page 145, about midway through the book, a transformation takes place. This is when the subject matter changes to George W. Bush. This is also when Mr. Tanner seems no longer capable of being a credible historian.
Tanner sees the entire Iraq War as an abject failure from the very start. His mantra in the entire second half of the book seems to be, Bush LIED! I HATE BUSH! Even the summary chapter can be clearly delineated thusly; Bush 41, good, very good. Bush 43, bad, very bad.
Don't get me wrong, Tanner does attempt to make a case to bolster his findings, though I believe he falls far short in painting Bush 43 as the bumbling dolt he would like readers to believe. For a book that started out so well, Tanner's editorializing in the second half is inexcusable.
Father and son and their wars. Jul 18, 2007
Tanner relates the recent conflicts of the United States since 1989. Tanner shows how George H. W. Bush was probably a much better president in international relations than either his son or Clinton. Clinton frittered away his power and George W. Bush took a unilateralist approach that angered much of the world. I think Tanner strikes it correctly in this regard.
Where I disagree with Tanner is in his last chapter. He discusses the latest war in Iraq and relates the quagmire the U.S. has gotten itself in. This is obvious. However,in several references to Fallujah, Tanner relates how 150 U.S. soldiers and marines were killed in this town, and how 650 women and children from the local population were killed. He equates the resistance with freedom fighters. He obviously has not read Bing West's book on Fallujah. This was a nest of Sunni insurgents, with Al Queda in Iraq as one of the groups fighting. Berg was beheaded here. The insurgents lost 1000-2000 in the various battles, and the town carried out lots of beastly activities (car bombings in Baghdad, etc.). I am sure I would equate this fighting with the war on terrorism. The civilian casualties were also suspect, since much of the town was evacuated prior to the Marine siege. West details this in his book.
This is an OK read. The last chapter before the conclusion may have some questionable material. However Tanner is right when he says that Bush 43 could learn a lot from Bush 41.
The Truth Jun 22, 2005
I finished this book feeling despair and a lot of anger at our quagmire in Iraq. It is an eye-opener and a must-read for anyone wanting to know the truth. It is easy-to-understand non-partisan history.
Wars of the Bushes Dec 16, 2004
There are times when the present is more interesting than the past, but we've yet to see an occasion when familiarity with history has not been invaluable to one's perception of current events. This is could not be more true than now since the United States lived through the 9/11 attacks. We are the strongest nation in history and recently entered new territory. Stephen Tanner's," Wars of the Bushes" has a great look on foreign policy that begins with the first Bush presidency. It focuses on the different approaches of father and son to war that are visible in each approach to Iraq. Bush II, Tanner notes, has stomped his father's achievements through reckless unilateralism. To make this case, Tanner compares Bush I's actions in Panama and the Gulf to Bush II's Iraq War. Of course, Bush I comes out shining, and in contrast, Bush II appears dumbfounded. Bush I helped lift the US military by planning for quick, decisive victories won by using overwhelming force to achieve a well defined, limited objective. These limited objectives were the capture of Manuel Noriega and the expulsion of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. In contrast, Bush II fights wars without clear goals; he fights terror, rightly characterized by Tanner as a tactic of the enemy rather than the enemy itself. In Bush the son, Tanner has found it difficult to recognize the father, though acknowledging that while the former was greeted by the fall of the Berlin Wall in the first autumn of his presidency, the latter was greeted by the fall of New York's Twin Towers, an altogether more frightening event. But while the father built upon his opportunities to position America at the head of a global alliance, the son has adopted novel doctrines such as pre-emption and pre-eminence, which have left the United States shorn of world support. Standing apart from other analysts, Tanner criticizes the American war in Afghanistan as a timid failure, in which Bush the younger claimed a hollow victory while allowing the leadership of the Taliban, and most importantly, Al Qaeda to escape. According to Tanner, The United States has undertaken its first war in which it creates more enemies than it can destroy. He tries to explain the long build-up to the invasion of Iraq, during which the younger Bush divested himself of the worldwide respect earned by his father in order to prosecute a war that had nothing to do with 9/11. While ideologues may agree or disagree about the wisdom of this new path in light of the events of 9/11, the book provides a solid foundation for such discussion. For anyone unaccustomed to reading about current events in anything more than a newspaper, "The Wars of the Bushes" is very entertaining and definitely informative. Stephen Tanner does not praise anyone and present facts without neat solutions. This book gives the reader a balanced understanding of events that occurred over the last fifteen years. One of the books on the "must read" list for those interested in the policies and behavior of the present administration.
Wars of the Bushes... Dec 15, 2004
Tanner gives an account of the major wars that were fought by both presidents. For former President Bush it was Panama and the Gulf War and for current President Bush, it is war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. The book claims to take a "non-partisan examination of America's military operations and foreign policy since the end of the Cold War to the occupation of Iraq...", but the reader soon finds by the time they reach current President Bush, that a biased very is in fact taken. This book examines the question of why wars begin.
Tanner discusses much more different causes of war rather than what the causes of peace are. However, many people feel that the two are interchangeable and can be used vice versa. No matter whom the leader, the environment and things happening in the surroundings also effect what causes war or peace. For instance, something this book neglected to talk about, why was the world so adamant on supporting Bush Sr. in his Gulf War, but reluctant to support President Bush in his war on Iraq and war on terrorism. It seems as though many countries wanted to back the U.S. led Gulf War, but many neglected to even consider the government's reasoning for invading Iraq in an effort to bring peace and stability to a state dominated by a ruthless dictator. Lastly, this book claimed to be a non-partisan account of the wars that had U.S. involvement during the presidential term of George Bush Sr. and George Bush Jr. However, an in-depth look into this book shows that it demonstrates a biased view against President Bush.