This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Chain of Command: the Road from 9/11 to Abu…

Chain of Command: the Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib (2004)

by Seymour M. Hersh

Other authors: Paul J. Pugliese (Maps)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
775818,021 (3.85)7

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Hersh started on the road to journalism fame with his Mai Lai relevations. How sad for the United States that this book on Abu Ghraib reads like a progression in a serial story. Based on New Yorker articles Hersh continues the Vietnam theme with the way lower ranked military was charged, higher authority, including the White House was not affected. Good book. ( )
  carterchristian1 | Nov 1, 2010 |
Having already read most of Hersh's articles in the New Yorker, I come late to Chain of Command which bundles the banality of evil and incompetence that was the Bush administration. It makes me sad to note that most of the perpetrators fell upwards. All honorable men, indeed. Only the powerless received punishment.

The book is a kaleidoscope of the early Bush years, a fractured impression of many scandals in eight parts. The book opens with the Abu Ghraib scandal and its iconic ugly America. Nearly five years later, no general officer has spent time in jail. Donald Rumsfeld simply sat out the scandal and remained in office long after. The second part moves back in time to the intelligence failures of 9/11. The third part discusses the Afghanistan invasion. The fourth, fifth and sixth part deal with the snake oil salesmen of the Iraq War as well as the invasion itself. The seventh part sheds light on Pakistan and its peculiar friend of George W. Bush, Musharraf. The eighth and final is a tour de horizon of the US policy in the Middle East.

The book offers three major lessons. The first lesson is that even egregious failure does not lead to punishment or disgrace for members of the elite. Being a good German pays off with tenure, places on the bench, stars and other sinecures. The power of media disclosure (as far as the US corporate media allows) has lost much of its strength. If perpetrators manage to survive a media cycle, interest will wane.

The second lesson is that the failures of the Bush administration can look back on a long tradition of US foreign policy failure. The US has a penchant for allying with dictators and other nasty folks for short-term gain, selling their principles of liberty and democracy for small concessions - with a huge price tag in the future as the mistaken trade-offs hit home. A better US foreign policy would stick to promoting its core values and not try to accommodate bad guys just to do some business.

The third lesson is the on-going incompetence of the CIA, the state and defense departments in dealing with foreigners. How long does it take them to learn that speaking a foreigner's language is a sine qua non in playing the intelligence game? Having a huge inward-looking bureaucracy in Langley is of little value.

Overall, the articles have aged well. Rereading them leaves me sad and angry. The US used to be a beacon of hope. ( )
1 vote jcbrunner | May 16, 2009 |
Seymour Hersh is an investigative reporter who made a name for himself by breaking the story of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War. The 21st century found him breaking another similar story: the Abu Ghraib scandal. "Chain Of Command" is a collection of his magazine and newspaper pieces spanning 9/11 to the Iraq War, mid-2005. Unfortunately, Hersh's work reads better in its original format; the stories lack important contextual moorings which would have been immediately obvious to anyone reading them contemporaneously, but which are no longer so due to the passage of time. Furthermore, Hersh only bothered to do the minimum amount of editing when compiling his disparate articles into full length book format, and the narrative is subsequently choppy and oftentimes topical as a result. Hersh's work is nevertheless important reading for anyone hoping to get some sense of what was going on during this time period, but I'd recommend reading it in the magazines and newspapers in which it was originally published if you don't already have a good working knowledge of these events.
1 vote Trismegistus | Dec 23, 2007 |
This is a must read book about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The author writes from an amazing background of previous books. In 1968 he publised Chemical and Biological Warfare: America's Hidden Arsenal. In 1970 he wrote about My Lai. Those who have reviewed the book earlier for Library Thing have commented on how it is difficult readin. The best way is to take each chapter as a self contained unit, rather like a magazine article and not view if as a chronological approach. A good book to read with it is Alfonsi's Circle in the Sand which does give such a chronological approach. One thing to note about the author's approach is his frequent in person or telephone interviews that add to other documentation.This will long be a standard work for the history of the period.
  carterchristian | Dec 7, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Seymour M. Hershprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pugliese, Paul J.Mapssecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Matthew, Melissa, and Joshua
First words
In the late summer of 2002, a Central Intelligence Agency analyst made a quiet visit to the detention center at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where an estimated six hundred prisoners were being held, many, at first, in steel-mesh cages that provided little protection from the brutally hot sun.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (5)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060195916, Hardcover)

Seymour Hersh has been a legendary investigative reporter since 1969 when he broke the My Lai story in Vietnam. His considerable skill and well-placed sources inside the government, intelligence community, military, and the diplomatic corps have allowed him access to a wide range of information unavailable to most reporters. Chain of Command is packed with specific details and thoughtful analysis of events since the attacks of September 11, 2001, including intelligence failures prior to 9/11; postwar planning regarding Afghanistan and Iraq; the corruption of the Saudi family; Pakistan's nuclear program, which spread nuclear technology via the black market (and admitted as such); influence peddling at the highest levels; and the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib prison, among other topics. The book collects and elaborates on stories Hersh wrote for The New Yorker, and includes an introduction by the magazine's editor, David Remnick, on Hersh's background and his sources.

Part of Hersh's skill lies in uncovering official reports that have been buried because government or military leaders find them too revealing or embarrassing. Chain of Command is filled with such stories, particularly regarding the manner in which sensitive intelligence was gathered and disseminated within the Bush administration. Hersh details how serious decisions were made in secret by a small handful of people, often based on selective information. Part of the problem was, and remains, a lack of human intelligence in critical parts of the Middle East, but it also has much to do with the considerable infighting within the administration by those trying to make intelligence fit preconceived conclusions. A prime example of this is the story about the files that surfaced allegedly detailing how Iraq had purchased uranium from Niger in order to build nuclear weapons. Though the files were soon proven to be forgeries, the Bush administration still used them as evidence against Saddam Hussein and therefore part of the reason for invading Iraq. In these pages, Hersh offers readers a clearer understanding of what has happened since September 11, and what we might expect in the future. --Shawn Carkonen

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:02 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"Seymour M. Hersh brings together reporting, along with new revelations, to answer the critical question of the last three years: how did America get from the clear morning when hijackers crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to a divisive and dirty war in Iraq? In Chain of Command, Hersh takes an unflinching look behind the public story of President Bush's "war on terror" and into the lies and obsessions that led America into Iraq."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.85)
1 3
2 5
2.5 1
3 18
3.5 5
4 46
4.5 6
5 22

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 135,658,165 books! | Top bar: Always visible