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EYES ON THE HORIZON by Richard B. Myers


Serving on the Front Lines of National Security

by Richard B. Myers with Malcolm McConnell

Pub Date: March 17th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4165-6012-8
Publisher: Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster

A good soldier turns in a dutiful memoir of life in uniform.

Myers’s ascent to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was propelled by an Air Force career marked by the right combination of ticket-punching (flight school, combat service in Vietnam, a command position in Japan), politicking (hobnobbing with the top brass and politicos, downing fugu with Japanese generals) and doing time at the right duty posts (“We were exposed to German, Thai, and Japanese culture in ways American tourists rarely experience”). His reign lasted four years, whereupon he jumped—by other accounts, was pushed—into retirement. Myers and amanuensis McConnell—previously scribe to Tommy Franks and L. Paul Bremer, who will be known to students of the Iraq incursion—are ever careful, ever politically aware and ever dull in describing his rise, helped along by dazzlingly courageous colleagues and with a strong, cheerful wife by his side. There’s not an unexpected note to be found here, even if Myers expresses “a pang of uneasiness” when George W. Bush landed on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln (he does not quote Bush’s infamous “Mission accomplished”). His is the good soldiery of unknown actors and passive sentences. The diligent reader will note that it was not the fact of the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison that doomed so many a worthy star-wearer to retirement; rather, it was “the public revelation of the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in April 2004 [that] spurred a backlash against U.S. operations in Iraq and around the globe.” As for those operations? All to the good, by this account, which closes with Myers presuming to offer a program for the incoming president on how to continue the noteworthy successes of George W. Bush and his servants in uniform.

Useful only to true believers and admirers of Rumsfeld and Cheney.