Have You Read the Book?

"MILES O’BRIEN: You know, General, I’ve got to say, I’m having a hard time seeing the signs of success. We don’t have much evidence that the Iraqis are stepping up to the plate. The U.S. is having to provide whatever security there is. We’re approaching now 2,000 fatalities, lost U.S. men and women, and I see what I see are an increase spate of violence and I see a country on the cusp of civil war. How is that success?

MYERS: Well I think there’s nobody that thinks they’re on the cusp of civil war.


MYERS: The Shia community no, of course not, Miles. The Shia community is not at war. The violent Sunni extremists. There are four provinces in Iraq and the city of Baghdad, a very important place, obviously, where the violence occurs. It does not occur in the rest of the country. There has been we’ve had elections. That is progress. We’re going to have a we have a draft constitution. That is progress. We have a constitutional referendum coming up. Even the Sunnis I mean, we’re talking about 80 or 90 percent of the Iraqi population, according to polls, say they’re going to vote in the constitutional referendum and then they’ll vote in the national elections that follow in a couple of months. That is progress."  Miles O’Brien and General R. Myers

"Just like our troops did in 1776. I hope you’ve read the book."  Myers

I guess he hasn’t heard of Basra"

The Book?

What book?  Does this mean he has read just ONE book about the American Revolution?

Rumsfeld said the other day that this man was probably the greatest chairman of the Joint Chiefs in history.  Assuming that he would include service chiefs before 1947 in his list of candidates, does that mean he thinks this towering intellect in blue is a greater man than George C. Marshall?  Marshall was Chief of Staff of the US Army in WWII.  It numbered 12,000,000 in the Ground, Air and Service Forces after he built it to that size.  He was Secretary of State.  He was Secretary of Defense.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Myers is greater than him?

If you read through the transcript cited, you perceive a man who never really understood what the situation is in the Middle East, a man who always said YES to the boss, a man who has made his way by being pleasant.

George Marshall was not especially pleasant.  Winston Churchill once pressed him for months over the idea of opening a front in the Balkans.  Marshall resisted.  FDR backed him, as he always did.  At a meeting in London of the Combined Chiefs of Staff (where Churchill was FDR’s equal), Churchill harangued him for hours over this with the expectation that he would eventually wear Marshall down.  Marshall listened and listened, and listened.  Finally, Churchill said, "So, you agree?"

Marshall said, "No.  You can do what you please, but not one American soldier is going to die on that god damned beach."  That was the end of that.

There are many books which describe George Marshall’s life.  Myers should have read a few of those.

Pat Lang


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5 Responses to Have You Read the Book?

  1. Minnesotachuck says:

    Amen! About 30 years ago I read Forrest Pogue’s multi-volume biography of Marshall and it remains one of the best reading experiences of my life. There aren’t very many JCS members since 1947 who deserve to empty Marshall’s bed pan, and Myers isn’t one of them.

  2. mavro says:

    So I take in you’re also denying that George Bush is the greatest president in the history of America? And that Rumsfeld is the greatest SOD?

  3. Pat Lang says:


  4. fbg46 says:

    Poor Gen. Myers – he’s got the same hapless befuddled expression that Earl Wheeler, his predecessor in spirit and in fact during the Late SE Asian Unpleasantness had.
    Two sad sacks, both occupying the job during times when we definitely could have used somebody better.
    If Myers was only going to read one book, too bad it couldn’t have been McMasters’ “Dereliction of Duty”.

  5. praktike says:

    In what percentage of Lebanon was they’re fighting during the civil war there? If you get my drift …

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