tv Book TV After Words CSPAN July 1, 2013 12:00am-1:01am EDT
>> how do you define a savior? >> guest: it is and give us -- indigenous. savior as the title means it should be saved. they were not sure that they should have saved some things slide is trying to do two things, describe the generals the would put in position things that didn't look too good and the cause was worth saving. >> host: tell me a little bit about what inspired you to write a book about this moment in time and in history. >> guest: it is the 19th century genre and we read about alexander and hamilton and not so much but napoleon and
wellington and we are supposed to distill lessons from their military genius. why wasn't napoleon able to do the following degette we had the antipathy of the 19th century who were the worst generals but we don't look at situations in which the generals prevail the manpower and technology that would put people on the positions especially in the societies where the public opinion and the bureaucracy are that he elected that had given up on the war so to speak to get so i want to find people throughout history that shouldn't have won and are not responsible for the situation the inherited and yet they prevailed. maybe they didn't win that they see fit. >> host: you go back and talk about the genres of history but first i would like to share a little bit about one.
>> guest: everybody asked me that question and george patton saved the american army after north africa. so it could go on and on. i was looking at the situations that had chronological sweeps. so all the way to david petraeus but also looking at things that what be completely pessimistic. we could have won without pac-10 perhaps, but i don't think that -- you take away with two-thirds of the east occupied and they would have even fought domestically without they wouldn't have recovered much of the western part of the roman empire.
i wish i could say there were american generals, one or two that could have done what petraeus -- the unique individual throughout history. high-tech qualities and inconstant across the time and space. >> host: they might argue with some of your other choices because of the original strategic outcome santeria. how do you respond?
>> guest: that would be against all five of them because they are not winners. they saved the situation for others to lose or to win and he was almost immediately forgotten and it was after the spartans the next year. and at the height of the power, he was put on trial. and as you pointed out he was only there for 100 days and he made a strategic choice not to go across the 30th parallel he defended it in a very strange way. he said the american people were with macarthur when everything was going well. they raised 400 miles. and then as soon as they crossed over, we had a great help the first time they got currency but they turn on him. now they are behind me. and if i go back up to the north
to the same logistical strategical tactical situation that macarthur faced with a that was true or not, i don't know. but they turned on me because they were not willing to sustain this type of war this long. in retrospect when you look at the threat of north triet today, and you can question ridgway's judgment that he felt at that time the notion was not in the political frame of mind to support what he would be needing to crush the north koreans and chinese and the 30th parallel and the same was true with david petraeus and he saved the cause in iraq but he left it to the other is whether they were going to take that legacy, that inheritance and move the force and try to make sure that it became a consentual society in a way that we had done in the 40's and 50's in places like karina or serbia. we chose not to do that. i don't think that tarnishes the achievement. >> i would love to go back to your discussion making the
judgment and the calculation that is in fact strategic and its importance not making an operational decision but something as momentous as this. one of the important components of the united states and the way the democratic system is organized is a civilian control over the military and the perception and responsibility for civilian leaders to make such decisions. so, how do you evaluate the decision making about something as sensitive as popular support and putting that into the operational populations? >> guest: ridgway would say we got in the parallel when we arrived 100 days later people wanted to evacuate again and
they'd given up on the public support than it was for say iraq in 2006 to begin he allowed the possible to happen. he got back. with harry truman and the joint chiefs to lightning joe collins not to go beyond that. later they said that we should have but remember that ridgway had the relief of macarthur in 1951 he became commander in tokyo but we had the stalemated and anybody at that time the white house and hauer -- i am eisenhower but they didn't. and ridgway leaders as he reflected back on this he said well, it is not fair to me to say at one point in time i should have crossed the 30th
parallel and adamle to china when i just saved it. i saved it for you. you were the civilian overseers and in the next 12 months decided not to do something that was against my advice. he took my advice and now years later you are criticizing me for not doing what you say i should have done. so he honored the civilian relationship and he made it clear in a number of essays that while he liked douglas macarthur personally and respected his mother to react and then because he jeopardized that very valuable relationship and tension between the civilian and military. >> host: i would like to hear more about that attention and support between the leaders of the states that you discussed and the commanders that you discuss. is that full support from the leadership of a country that is
necessary to have the general? >> it is and it's very controversial because they are coming in at the 11th-hour with the policy of the steel and usually the commander whomever the particular political system has and charge it is a referendum that something has gone wrong. if david petraeus takes control the people are going to say why do you have to go there in the first place why didn't we have a surge earlier. if they are sent in late in the game for a third time people would say what is true man doing it the same with wide we have to get land of one grant should just take richmond in the war but they are a referendum on the field civilian policies and that makes them because if they do well after a plant everybody hates grant and mary lincoln -- que as a butcher because basically the story and of the
harbor he is a man of the hour. and even lincoln is a little bit suspicious of him even though he saved the election of 1864. when truman -- ridgway was on the "time" magazine cover and so there's -- no need to mention david petraeus because as soon as he comes back out of iraq in late 2008, people are suggesting that "the wall street journal" should get five stars. he's a presidential candidate in the presidential primaries. he is still being mentioned even though he is on the bases of interested and he has higher ratings than any of their candidate. so there by the definition of a political generals the have to navigate between the sort of being independent and then they said well people are going to be sent me for being successful if i increase my stature to the point people are talking about me as a savior in political terms. it's very tricky and they don't
usually end up well. it's hard to navigate that tension. >> host: talk about that tension and a slightly different political system of the leader empire. >> guest: it was a nominal senate but there were courts and assemblies. they didn't make them quite the absolute and of wasn't quite a hereditary process either. he was after his and the was it. so, the emperor was usually picked up by a consensus of noble aristocrats and then he had some limitations on his power. but of the case studies he was the most offer a terrie in. but the relationship was a very bizarre. they each had a controversial high-powered women. the door and antonio in the case of bill sar as. in the relationship they were
both latin native speakers and they both had women that were very powerful. and as long as those things, that dynamism was there and he could get away and the guy that saved the eastern front he got rid of the vandals in a matter of weeks. he was on his way up to the northern ottilie in order. but once that formula started to break down, he pulled away the guide. there was a tension and suddenly did there became a threat to the emperor and he was recalled at the height of his powers and he was put into exile, internal exile for ten years and he was brought out to save the capitol from the road attacked. but he was always a suspect because he was more popular and he was a political figure in the age people were not. he was highly popular among the
etkin stila constantinople street. >> host: what they always perhaps be more popular? >> absolutely. more popular for a moment. there was a key moment somewhere early in 2008 where david petraeus i think the most popular man in the united states, surely more popular than his predecessors, george casey or the general abizaid or sanchez and much more popular than george bush. that glory is fleeting because they are in an untenable situation where their success is in media to everybody before them. and t rtn personality qualities and ambitions and divisions that make him suspect by their peers. it's like this 19th century western figure that we see in the 20th century films whether it is higho and mckeithen
edwards and the magnificent seven. the man that shot liberty bri te people in and they are kind of suspect figures. we all want him to do something to get rid of the cattlemen but it's better that he writes out and that even at words walks out that door. it is beer than i've had enough. so what they like it or not, they didn't end during well. he committed suicide later with the enemy that tried to destroy greece. bill was arnesen that the popular traditional bigger on the streets in constantinople humiliated by his emperor. sherman was called crazy. he was called a terrorist who spent most of his career trying to defend what he did. very effective but he wasn't popular like grant. matthew ridgway wasn't made the chairman of the trend chiefs. eisenhower wrote a memoir where he lacked the said that ridgely
didn't take from them. even though he wasn't even in the theater. he lived to be 97 but he got involved in the controversy under ronald reagan. the manuscript some of the editors and people but read that and i finished it right after the election and said david petraeus just in the of happy and everything went well. and of course he had some problems. and so there does seem to be a profile these people are controversy. after the signature achievement it is hard to sustain that committee and the society is ambiguous about them. >> host: the signature the chief that is obviously extremely interesting and challenging. perhaps you could have a little bit more about how it is or
indeed what traits the exemplar is had that made them able to go into a situation that you would see this and actually have the courage and the imagination to do so? >> guest: i think of all the ingredients of the personality traits, the education all of that, the one signature personality trait it seems to me they were immune to public opinion. in other words they were almost suspect of it. we get to join the spartans and go across and give up greece, it is distrustful of the consensus. when they tell sherman lincoln isn't going to win the election and whether you like it or not you better just to make or it's time to go back and just slow things down and get everybody
out. take them back or when petraeus went to iraq. even the study group said it was -- hopeless. i don't trust what most people say to the and i guess they do their homework. they are very meticulous students. so they are strategies not just saving the particular war but the vision of something that you know better than i do we were going to be in a time and space in the 21st century we had to have a different tactic in the relief. ridgway was an author of this radical doctrine, not radical now. but believe me in 1946 the said we don't need the money in court, we have a nuclear force. there will be no more conventional weapons because they will automatically increase and a clear response and he would say no, we are going to have more conventions pity we
better get a doctrine to confront communism in places we don't want to confront it and that was just heresy at the time and the same thing with sherman with this idea i'm going to attack the plantation and i'm going to attack the infrastructure of the confederacy. these are the 3% that cause the war and makes no sense to me to kill the 97% of the sleeves of northern virginia when i can go deep into georgia and humiliate this honor society. he said people will forgive you if you cover father but not if you destroy their patrimony and there was a radical document and of course it was seapower imperialism empowering the poor. they were i guess revolutionaries and beyond that sense they were very well spoken and in the written communications we know that same thing with matthew ridgway. they were not just out of didactic said they were often
former students. and they spoke and they communicated and wrote well and they didn't trust here say. somebody took david petraeus this is what is in iraq when you get over there or you come home. he didn't trust that. he made sure that the double checked, triple unchecked, quadruple check. that was a very important trade in the constitutional society that is subject to 51% of the people governing on any given day in the public opinion. >> you continue to think about these great generals and the characteristics that they have to the is this not the genius, or the not the same traits of the experience the general said
to alexander the great or nepal the in arlington -- senate i think they are different types of generals than hannibal and the pullen and are even willing tend to be a i am not suggesting that they look at a particular battle. at that battle the see a larger theater and it is to be larger strategic situation. and the heavy political ambition. they are more narrow. they are saying i have a particular group of skill sets and there is a particular problem and this problem is absolutely fundamental, society. to be resolved in a favorable way. most people had given up because most people had no deep belief. they simply respond to winners if people are winning the war or are against it and that clouds people's judgment. i am going to look at this and i am going to zero in and look at the situation empirically and use my speaking and writing a devotee of leadership qualities to turn this thing around. they say you know what, if i am
matthew ridgway and they can 400 miles all the way down and we are panicking we want 400 miles at china and we got in trouble. so this is the time everybody says they are supermen. the fight at night and he would say no we went too far from our supply to close to the chinese border. they are in the same situation that we were three months ago and we are going to do to them what they did to us. so they are kind of in tune. but i do not think that they are strategic necessarily pity if you asked ridgway where d want to go after katrina or if you said to david petraeus this vision that you have an iraq would be replicated is it something we can do with syria? mabey. the of these doctrines people can build on these philosophies but i don't think they are necessarily interested in a sustained military career in the type of u.s. grant or george patton or something like that.
>> host: it's interesting that you should mention grant because one of the things i really want to ask you is why sherman cannot grant? >> guest: i will be controversial here. after vicksburg and gettysburg everyone thought the war was going to win in six months after july of '63. it was fabulous. the one on the west and the defeated robert e. lee at the height of his powers. then the war dragged on. they bring grant to washington in 1564 and he has this and tells lincoln i'm going and my most brilliant support and it has now taken over the army of the west. he's going to go to atlanta and i will take richmond and the war will be over in a month or so and then the unexpected happens. the of a good transportation.
atlanta is in the so-called will learn s of the plan once. grant gets near richmond but then we have these means that even today because shudder spotsylvania, petersburg and if you look at the army that leads in may of 64 and you look at september almost 80% of it is killed, wounded or missing. and the reputation of grant has changed. mary todd lincoln is calling him a butcher, a murderer. and you get the impression that although that is a much more difficult task, that he's done something that is not politically sustainable peace but suddenly you have john freeman, seem not on the left and he says lincoln should not be nominated. except for "new york times" perhaps. all the newspapers turn on lincoln for the resignation of
his cabinet. general mcclellan comes back on the scene as the candidate of the democratic side and says i wanted antietam. i got closer to richmond and grant ever did. you said i was a butcher compared to what he's doing and sherman says to himself i have to get to atlanta before this and i have to do it by not using the army of the west to it i cannot suffer the type of casualties grant has taken and while they are criticizing him, he is out flanking people and is more of a maneuver. he accept one or two and takes atlanta september 2nd and sent a telegram and then everything is turned topsy-turvy. he wanted to allow the south to have slavery to get he's the man of the hour. lincoln is going to be elected by a landslide and just a few weeks in november, early november. and he does a very interesting
thing. when people are calling grant a butcher sherman basically says no, no pity this was planned all along pity he was going to wear down the confederates. and i was going to go around to it i had one way of fighting and grant had another but not into that the call or synonymous. they are complementary. and he really restored the reputation of ulysses s. grant. but what i am getting at is if grand didn't have sherman, i think they would have lost the election of 1864. and i think that we would have had a negotiated settlement pity i think by ceding the election for lincoln they saved the nation in a way that whether it was fair or not grant almost lost it with a blood bath. they both fought at 1862 and they both got a very different lessons. he was surprised and looked at
that blood bath and more people killed them all the battles the americans have fought up until that day and he said to them i'm never going to fight something like this again. grant said we aren't being be the covering people across and the next day we are going to out number it. we have better supplies, and it was true, they did. and i think that it was the union has more manpower and you have to find them, target them and crush them and after shiloh, grant took that direction and sherman to get another direction. and i think in this particular case, sherman fought like grant and headed right for a plant in a series of battles and we wouldn't have had a union like we have today. >> host: one of the things that some of the generals including sherman and grant and
general petraeus is the willingness not to give up in the face of the common or the popular perception that things are lost. how is it that that kind of tenacity is cultivated by people who have such military experience. >> it is hard to know whether it is a part of their genetic makeup. one of the things i noticed on the two occasions when i went to iraq and i talked to general petraeus once and i just watched and listened to what his average day was and i said to myself at the time that isn't sustainable he's on the sleeping three or four hours a night if that.
later he had the issues i thought no one has that tenacity, no one has that physical endurance that there was something about him that was unusual to be getting about three in the morning and going to bed. what all the generals can do that. even devotees in his fifties was the same thing. he was an age old man and if you look at what he had to do on the eastern front you get the first thing that comes across my mind. physically they are some politicians. the gist of the lack of sleep for food and they are in excellent condition that they also have the sense that i paid my dues pitch i was in the shadows. i didn't get what i deserved. i think david petraeus buy any fair measure should have been the complete the supreme commander much earlier than he was. the surge was necessary. it could have come and hear or two or earlier if there was justice in the world. the same structure men.
he was elevated very rapidly after shiloh and he wasn't given a fair chance prior to that because his own psychological problems. and i think that they get this idea that i have one chance and only one chance and i am here in a way that doesn't quite make sense. he never thought he was granted a given that chance but i waited my whole life for it. i am better educated and they are almost becoming secondary so to speak. and for a brief moment i do not think it is sustainable the are the men of the hour. and after the moment passes and they let the diplomat for the joint chiefs or the general staff deal with a victory in a way that is either stupid or smart. >> host: as you take a look at
that kind of extraordinary change of fortune for the political leadership and military force, what do they do to help the military division? >> i think that there is a continuity. there is a paradigm and one of the things they do is feel that the generals are separated from the field so ridgway is called old iron if i can say that he says i want warm food and winter uniforms and regular mail and any general that isn't willing to be about the front, go leave pity he restores the morale. he was indistinguishable.
he was out all the time with the soldiers. they called him uncle billy and there were many anecdotes they saw him and they didn't believe that he was the general of the army. they thought he was just a private or like grant in that sense for the renegade they were one with their soldiers, they were at the front and they cared about the the daily needs. that is why people had the terms of endearment they called him on gold leaf. there was named in an attractive use of the was one thing. the second was the had to remind people why they were there because when you say save your general's committee and the lost war, unpopular, the war that isn't clear the defined. he said whether you like it or not we have to go down and these people asked for the war. in going to make it synonymists its editor, etc.. and then people whether you agree with third or not they
thought they were going to go down there and destroy the plantation class. people didn't know why they were there. was the first time. it was a police revolution. the first engagement the congress hadn't even authorized. we haven't seen that by the way. so, they were confused. if congress doesn't say this is a war. what's going on. and so as soon as they got there he said these are the talking points. the little manifesto he gave to every soldier. i am here legally because the president of the united states has an ability to offer is this spigot i'm here internationally because the u.n. approved it and the coalition. i am here morally because we gave our word that they would have a shot at some point for the constitutional system and i am here morally and ethically to stop it whether you think it is silly or not godless communism it won't take berlin and going to western europe and that really galvanized people. so when you add this all together we could see them
sharing the same risk here is a man that thinks he can win and tells us why we can and cares about us enough to make sure that we are clothed and fed and he gets people are now and that is another thing that i really try to emphasize to the light of know where they can come but i don't think that we have ever seen this a ray of kernels that they have assembled around and the people like mcfarland board mcmaster except there's plenty of them and the same thing. he brought in a group of people. he won the conventional war without going nuclear. he had a much better stuff than grant. and those are the leadership qualities we kind of forget about because of high tech or we are in a therapeutic age and we think these leadership qualities of drones or the nsa or some type of new technology that makes them obsolete. i am a little worried and perhaps you know more about it
than i do what it seems that form of the most dynamic 19th century generals that we have had the last 40 years, general mabus congenital petraeus, general eleanor general mike cresco are not writing within the army bureaucracy kidding if we are not right now using their talent and military context reasons other than the battlefield efficacy. jaish delete couldn't show discretion but whatever it was we didn't maintain the use of the talent at the time that we really needed them and that scares me because i think that there has to be room in the military's. especially for the 21st century for the eccentricity the contrariness of and for the general. >> host: tell me a little bit more about how that kind of independence of determination is
cultivated in these careers to the we've had the privilege of working with general petraeus and have seen him do as he says and giving the clear vision presenting the idea of what is that he believes needs to be accomplished and the vision of how to do it. but also, the vision of independence and that it's something that should be tolerated within a military force. >> i think for all of us at some point in our career we find that we encourage other people are out to get us and whether they are true or not and imagined or real and react to that one of the most common to the necessary adamant what we get into the bureaucracy but all of these people come sherman had a
complete mental breakdown and his wife save him by writing letters and he was given a chance again. this was his recovery moment. they got on the wrong side of every that even though he did in world war ii hero with the greatest american campaigns of the bulge of normandy and the campaign. but what i'm getting at is all of these people at some point people didn't like them. i don't know why david petraeus just when we needed him he was brought back to kansas and he worked on the claim manual. but i think that he had the argument maybe we need him there. i know people argue he was influential in other ways and wrote that there were people who were suspicious of him there. and that he reacted in a very different way. it's like he bided his time and if he was and be back in the united states he would use this time to assemble a group and formulate thoughts because when i do go back -- i don't think he ever thought he wouldn't go back.
when ridgway was sitting as the fais deputy chief staff of the army and he was being shown the side writing these memos on how to fight the war in a place like korea and finally people said bring him over here. he has these crazy ideas we have to fight in a non-nuclear fashion he was ready when he got there. he said i've never been to korea and japan. truman had this idea if i ever get a chance again i have an idea making total war of the infrastructure of the enemy and a class society and on our society. i can humiliate that southern aristocracy in a way that is going to be very dangerous to the cause. so they have an idea that i'd want but if this narcissistic or arrogant but they feel that they are transcending the situation
at hand and the are going to get their shot but only one shot a one when the opportunity and they make the most of it. >> host: and as we think about studying the generals and reading about them, i think it is important to ask why study the generals in this century. >> guest: that is a good question because we have sort of two different views of human nature. i call them the tragic and the therapeutic. they are set on the increased by it, bring in a chemistry or drugs that can change your way of thinking are very minor in the very fact that we are what we were 2500 years ago. this is such a thing as a victory and defeat and such a thing as deterrence and alliance and the other group of people who believe that with greater education and food and
sensitivity and health care, we can change the nature of man. i think the latter view whether it is the league of nations or the united nations from these utopian at temps in history to say we have created a new soviet man and an italian fascist and the national socialist man coming european union man, but now he is immune from all these other pressures and appetites and the war that has to be redefined or can be out lot. 200 something pieces of conflict resolution plans maybe four or five military history but i don't think there is any record of success. so we study the past because it keeps telling us that there is a small number of people that are absolutely no good. and when they get into the positions of power, they will take things that are not logical. you can't explain to them that it is not in their interest to take that piece of land because sometimes it is fear or self-interest.
the falklands. the great novel two men fighting over a cullom it made no sense. or the items of china and japan. you would like to tell them they are rocky. no they are about as valuable as a piece of -- as he was for hitler. he didn't need it but he did for the matters of the motion and that is what the war is fought over. they are logical and they don't make sense sun-times and the only prevented by deterrence and alliances and the balance of power, by convincing simply not to do that because you are going to pay a high price. the generals to see that in the methodologies of defeating him a humiliating and rehabilitating the enemy are timeless kid i think that history offers us a more helpful anecdote to the modernism than the social science. >> that tells me a little bit
like to study military history because it is the nature of human beings and of states to fight. but why study generals rather than other people on the battlefield? >> guest: i've written about the average person and what it was like to fight the western way of the war and how the cultural people fight or do not fight. but the fact of the matter is i get older and understand the mind of one person could get a lot of people killed in a lot of people saved. if you are alexandre the great and you were out numbered 5-1, you are going to win that battle if you are a persian and have five-to-10 times more you are going to be killed that day because somebody on your site doesn't have the mind if alexander the great. there are a lot of iraqi is
alive today. we forget that because of david petraeus. had he not in their letter it was person now become education, his intelligence, his intellect, take david petraeus out of the equation and i don't think that -- i know there are people like yourself and others that were responsible for him to be there. but he can out, take matthew ridgway out of the croatian. that isn't true of all but in these particular cases, the planets lineup. maybe it is a perfect storm of situations. but one man who can get a lot of people killed were a lot of people saved. >> host: that leadership becomes an important priority and how human beings respond to other human beings and nature. >> they make people believe they can do things that they otherwise wouldn't think they can and i think that's important >> host: when we think back to the 19th century studies of the
early 20th century studies of the same, very often we can look at the authors and say that they are indeed in hero worship so how do you do that when you are writing the seat year generals? >> guest: i admire them a great deal but one of the criticisms -- the book is just out but sometimes i was ambiguous and my portrayal. the and and in that fashion. if you were to collate all of the things matthew ridgway wrote you would think that he's going to get on the wrong side of omar bradley and divide eisenhower ran alongside that lightning collins like he did and if you look at kunkel valley sherman you said you know what why did you have to say make dramatic or iran or all of these things that
were a little bit over-the-top. david petraeus little bit different. he was judicious in his speech but if you look at the appointment prior to that he married the superintendent's daughter and he got very eschewed appointments that emphasize education and the new type of fighting rather than armor although he was gifted and almost everything. something to the effect when david petraeus was in the room everybody knew he was probably the best educated and the smartest and he knew he was and that created a lot of jealousy i think. so, i am disturbed that it takes a lot of confidence in one's powers to think if you just let me come in and clean up the mess that is what we are getting down to. we don't see that explicitly that ridgway is basically saying everybody else screwed up. i'm going to go over year and give the united states to second chance. petraeus never said that but when he took the position every that he said it is either
petraeus clean up the mess we are three. from any other tax atlanta or he will not be elected. they either get the borders secure and take back west where it is just going to be losing story. you didn't cause the problem that we have but if you don't save us, it is down to defeat. >> the generals are great. the devotees great qualities but again only appear in a situation that needs saving. so, what are your thoughts on how to avoid this in the first place? >> guest: how we preclude the need for degette petraeus or matthew ridgway? well and i think that a series of the examples. your argument should we intervene or preamp in iran or what is going to happen with japan from china or vice versa.
i think in a constitutional society what is predicated on basically 51% of the people want in the midterm or direct elections for the media it is very and bent to tell people that if you sign on to going to iraq, the second of war or if you want to go into korea or vietnam these are the things that could happen and whoever is going to win is going to have ups and downs and it is not going to be as easy as we think. things are going to happen we didn't anticipate and to prepare the public and tell them that we do not have to be perfect morally or ethically to be good and we don't have to win every battle but it's going to go to the people with the greatest loral and conviction and the cause it is essential. what happened so often was the intervention we are going to go do this and oil is going to pay for it or in three week that
taliban has gone but at this critical moment we need the leaders to say this is the beginning of the end. and we should expect a lot of bad things to happen because if you look at what lincoln said or triple or fdr, they were always trying to prop the public almost in a condescending fashion thinking these people could turn on us at any moment and i know what they are going to do so i am going to prepare myself and them not to be -- the great leader of all time he was a genius at leadership because they got very excited he knew how to calm them down and they got very reckless he knew how to say it's not over until it is over. >> host: in that kind of
situation, that kind of crisis you focus on what on public opinion as being center of gravity essentially for success. and it raises a question for me that while i was reading the book and talking to you which is his success and failure nothing but the will of the people? >> guest: it is and it's true not only in the consentual societies if we have this conversation in june of 1940 in germany we couldn't find a german who didn't approve of hitler after the success in france and poland. if we had a conversation in 1945 we couldn't find change. the ideology, no pity it was more dubious. but the reason is a sense of success. the same thing is true in the civil war. he was a hero in july of feet in
63 and in july of 64. he didn't change from what happened is we keep thinking people are ideological or political or the of deep-seeded opinions based on the convictions and principal. i think as they get older it is about 10% of the people. most people want to identify with a winner and want to distance themselves. victory has all of these, and i think that people have to understand that. so, one of the things that i appreciated about reading petraeus and watching him in action because i was the one that was alive and appreciate, the interest of the political situation. david petraeus never wrote in the situation. i got to protect bush from the likes and i shouldn't have to go in front of the senate committee and be called the suspension of disbelief that i'm a lawyer basically by heavily clinton.
i shouldn't put up with a general petraeus bigot his attitude basically as a understood these things happen on the consentual society because the battlefield isn't doing well. when the battlefield isn't doing well people will jump in and tried to distance themselves. however they will say that iraq was maybe after all. they want that anymore general petraeus and they want. and they have to be mature enough and responsible enough to say i have content for you people. they probably do privately but petraeus was so brilliant in iraq that people fought along with ryan crocker you couldn't pigeonhole them even though they'd been appointed by bush and the same thing with sherman and lincoln and ridgway and truman. they just said most people will not do what i want to do. most people will not take this job and most people don't give a
whit about korea. they just want us to win and feel good about winning and they do not feel good about seeing. that is my job to ensure that we win and don't lose but they don't have about confidence in human nature in that sense. >> host: you've given us lots of reasons why they are extraordinary human beings and about how they came to be in the circumstances but there is a character and history that helps them to pull through. but surely not only were they not perfect human beings because it came to that end, but they were not necessarily perfect generals. so how would you critique in the military sense a few of these
extraordinary xm parts? >> guest: he hadn't done well. there were certain things he wasn't good at and one of them was conducting the battle or leading the large expedition on his own or even leading the expedition and the joint command. he was very weak as far as alliances with any of a steep. he was lucky that he gambled and offended the convenience and they were able to defer to him. but i was not a sustainable coalition. he was the antithesis of dwight eisenhower. and that is where he disappeared after the los alamos and he didn't figure it was the battle that won the parisian war peaden it was a real drawback. i think in some sense they were my eve in that when there was a distention and that the emperor he was in the position where we want you to take over. he's going to die and now you can do all these wonderful
things publicly and domestically. and he deferred. he was loyal to his temper but he differed in such a way that could be interpreted by the emperor said he put himself into a formidable position. when he went to italy and restored the situation he didn't realize it causes and the and jealousy. he was nine even the political sense to the extreme degree and a cut in exile in a way that he was and fell below. sherman, his problem was that he didn't quite understand the role of the media. he said things that would be reported in a way that petraeus never would have said something outrageous because only create problems with him politically to get matthew ridgway was strange in the sense that he understood
he was part of the bureaucracy. he understood how the pentagon worked but he didn't quite understand that the joint chiefs and people that were his superiors would never make him one of them. in other words omar bradley was a judicial thinker and talker and so was lightning collins and joe marshall and so was dwight d. eisenhower. when there were certain areas integrating the troops, stopping the 50th parallel, leader of the question of the military he thought he could appeal to reason or the merits of an argument and their political instincts and career and the desirability to the light. he didn't care about being liked or whether he had a career afterwards. and he suffered for it in a way that may have been invaluable as four or five more years in the military. and he was alienated from our
american discourse on critical issues because of that. david petraeus i think felt that he could navigate through this political situation with the senate, the democratic senate on the one hand and push that 32% and he was going to be such an upright on this guy and everybody on both sides would honor him. he did that very successfully. and i think that explains why he took the task in afghanistan. he was willing to trade positions with the general and came back to the cia. but if you look at it from the historical point of view you can see there were larger forces at work, the politics, some people in the obama administration about the political resonance of david petraeus they were going to conspire in a way i'm not sure that he appreciated or wanted to appreciate. but i'm not sure that i think at some point while they are very
good survivalists at the moment afterwards they are not quite sure how all of the fame and attention and jealousy and envy and how they all internet that is one reason i don't think they do well. >> host: i think the concept of save your duty to save your generals the book is quite readable and you portray such phenomenal characters and really force us to think about history. in the brief moments that we have left can you tell us what there is next? >> guest: i'm working on the war armageddon and i am interested in there are so many thousands since the beginning of civilization but why is there a third war when there isn't a fourth? when there was a first and second what makes them say that's enough. there isn't going to be. we will obliterate the aztecs or
that we are going to burn down the cities of japan. and the frightening concept when i'm looking at the four or five cases that explain how it evolves into something beyond a conflict with an existential destruction mccaul the residents to think in the case of the future that we are looking at a nuclear iran for example. so looking at the war and the existential and of all things. >> host: thank you so much for the contribution to the military history for the excellent book. >> guest: thank you for having me today.