Sunday, August 12, 2012
BOOK REVIEW, Jeffrey Freeman: Background for Escalating War with Iran by Dr. David Crist
BOOK REVIEW: The Twilight War
Guest Post by Jeffrey Freeman
The Twilight War: The Secret History of America’s Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran (The Penguin Press), is nothing short of fascinating. With its many twists and turns, it reads more like a well-written novel than historical non-fiction: Revolution. Counter-revolution. Invasion. Infiltration. Shia versus Sunni. Iraq. Lebanon. Israel. Syria. Saudi Arabia. Plot and counter plot. It’s all laid out with clarity of purpose.
Its author, Dr. David Crist, is uniquely qualified. In suit and tie, he is an historian and advisor within the Department of Defense. In uniform, he is a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, having deployed in the first Gulf War and the invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban. He grew up in the military, his father now a retired four-star general. Crist is not only an academic but has been a boots-on-the-ground soldier with Special Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He is also one of the best interviewers I have ever watched in action, able to ferret out closely guarded information. In the ten years of compiling the background for the book, he conducted interviews with more than four hundred people, many of them senior officials in various U.S. administrations.
The book delineates with intricate detail U.S. and Iranian positions from the 1950’s to present day. It is endorsed by men such as Pulitzer Price author Thomas E. Ricks and General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Retired), former commander of Central Command.
As Crist makes clear, Iran is an important world player for three reasons: it controls the Gulf of Hormuz, through which passes one-sixth of the world’s oil; it is set on a policy of energy independence by developing nuclear power; and it considers itself a major, perhaps the major power in the Middle East, not an idle boast for a nation that traces its roots back to the Persian Empire, predating Christ by six hundred years.
As Crist also points out, the potential for bringing the war out of the shadows and into a full-scale calamity is immediate and very real.
This book is essential for anyone wanting to fully understand the complexities of US-Iranian relations. It is a must-read for all decision-makers and decision-influencers in Washington and Tehran.
Jeffrey Freeman is political independent and a retired Army colonel who spent nearly half his career inside the Washington beltway. He is the author of four novels, the most recent being, We Were Warriors Once. He is a five-time awards recipient from Freedom’s Foundation at Valley Forge.