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Review – Eyes on the Horizon

Overview copied directly from the book’s flap:
General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the critical four years following September 11, 2001, looks back over his career and provides a candid, revealing insider’s view of the war on terror and proposes a bold new plan that will prepare America for the diverse national security challenges of the twenty-first century.

Growing up in Kansas as the son of hardworking, no-nonsense parents, General Richard Myers, a distinguished Air Force officer for more than forty years, learned early the value of steadfast integrity and selfless service. As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2001 to 2005, he bore witness to the critical events that shaped America’s defense policy in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In the days, weeks, and months that followed, he worked around the clock, helping to devise innovative, unprecedented strategies for the Bush administration’s war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq and advising the president on tough, historic national security decisions.

In this captivating memoir, General Myers talks candidly about his career in the military, the unforgettable events of September 11, and the global war on terror. With an insider’s perspective, he outlines the mistakes made by the White House, Pentagon leadership, and the intelligence community.

Myers believes that America has misidentified its adversary, focusing too narrowly on tactical battles, instead of on a long-range strategy that will overcome a global insurgency fueled by a struggle for control within Islam. The United States must rely not just on the military, but also on intelligence and other instruments of national power and work through extant governments to reverse the depiction of an American-led crusade against Muslims. Rather than identify what Islam should become, we must work with an international community that includes responsible non-Western states to protect against the behaviors we consider universally unacceptable – especially those that promote violence against the U.S. and its allies or any other country or society affected by the struggle with Islam. Finally, Myers maintains we must integrate our own government agencies so that we can focus a sustained approach to this strategy.

Told with unfailing honest, Eyes on the Horizon is an unforgettable memoir of one of our nation’s highest-ranking officers and a courageous call for change that will strengthen American national security and defend a democratic way of life.

Praise
There are points in history you will always remember. Where you were, what you did, what you thought. Like a mini-flashback, I see myself getting coffee in the break room near my office and glancing up at the TV. Smoke was pluming from one of the World Trade Towers and a plane was flying directly into another one. I’d missed seeing the first one. Like many of you, I first attributed it to special effects. As the morning progressed, students began to fill my office, seeking a friendly, motherly face. Seeking my calm assurance (with a wry smile) that should more planes continue to seek out public targets, Bartow, Florida – heart and soul of Democracy herself though she might be -- would most likely not be on their list of targets.

Eyes on the Horizon tells the story of that day, and the four years following it, from the inside. It honestly exposes the weaknesses and misconceptions of America which may have led to a vulnerability visible only to a non-American way of thinking. It honorably discusses the unpreparedness of the nation’s battle strategies juxtaposed against its incredible technical abilities. It holds no punches when it reveals that this war could not be fought like any other war before it. It doesn’t just leave the reader there, rehashing 9-11. The last chapter is a brilliant compilation of strategies for improving our national security.

One picture in particular caught my eye. The caption reads, Mary Jo and me on Summerall Field, Fort Myer, Virginia, September 30, 2005. The traditional flowers were hardly sufficient thanks to her for the forty-plus years of being a military spouse. Her love, companionship, and ability to keep me grounded were especially important to me in my last years of service. The woman in the picture holding the flowers is looking up at the general with such love and pride.

Purchasing Information
Eyes on the Horizon – Serving on the Front Lines of National Security by General Richard B. Myers USAF, Ret with Malcolm McConnell
ISBN 9781416560128
The back cover lists the price at $27.00. My favorite bookstore membership price lists it at $24.30. One of the most popular on-line bookstores lists new copies ranging from twenty cents to $17.95. I bought my copy at an overstock store for five dollars.
Published by Threshold Editions
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020


Conclusion
This is a brilliant story of a terrible time in world history told by one of the few people who saw it from the inside out. It’s historically correct and humanly readable. It leaves you with hope and pride and a now you know, go out and do something about it attitude.

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