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Commander in Chief

How Truman, Johnson, and Bush Turned a Presidential Power into a Threat to America's Future

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

How Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq Made The Commander In Chief and Foretell the Future of America

This is a story of ever-expanding presidential powers in an age of unwinnable wars. Harry Truman and Korea, Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam, George W. Bush and Iraq: three presidents, three ever broader interpretations of the commander in chief clause of the Constitution, three unwinnable wars, and three presidential secrets. Award-winning presidential biographer and military historian Geoffrey Perret places these men and events in the larger context of the post-World War II world to establish their collective legacy: a presidency so powerful it undermines the checks and balances built into the Constitution, thereby creating a permanent threat to the Constitution itself.

In choosing to fight in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, Truman, Johnson, and Bush alike took counsel of their fears, ignored the advice of the professional military and major allies, and were influenced by facts kept from public view. Convinced that an ever-more powerful commander in chief was the key to victory, they misread the moment. Since World War II wars have become tests of stamina rather than strength, and more likely than not they sow the seeds of future wars. Yet recent American presidents have chosen to place their country in the forefront of fighting them. In the course of doing so, however, they gave away the secret of American power—for all its might, the United States can be defeated by chaos and anarchy.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 01, 2007 – Few presidents have taken on the title of commander-in-chief of the armed forces with such enthusiasm as George W. Bush, who has advanced a wartime executive power unfettered by judicial or legislative oversight on far-ranging topics like the Geneva Conventions, intelligence gathering methods and targeted assassinations. Presidential and military historian Perret (Winged Victory, etc.) explores how wars like Korea, Vietnam and Iraq have been used to consolidate power in the hands of a single man. Charting Truman's anti-intellectualism and fetishization of the military, Johnson's shortsighted escalation of the Vietnam conflict and the current administration's hubris, Perret reveals the steps by which presidential power widened. (Inexplicably, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who created Japanese internment camps during WWII and attempted a coup against the Supreme Court, gets a pass.) While readers at all levels will benefit from Perret's analysis, some sections may be too specialized for nonexperts. The book ends with a thesis that deserves more attention in the body of the work: "China is the only country to have gained strategic advantages from America's three unwinnable wars. The United States has gained nothing, not even the gratitude of South Korea.... Iraq will break American power. Hello, China."
Commander in Chief
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: United States
  • Published: Jan 22, 2008
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 448 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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