Review of Battle Ready by Tom Clancy & GEN Tony Zinni
Author Tom Clancy had a goal to write a series of books with distinguished generals who were present and involved in recent operation(s) within the past twenty years. The goal was to have a behind the scenes look at the military mindset from the beginning of a general officer’s career and understand how he got to this point in his career. The ability to categorize someone’s experiences is difficult, but Clancy is able to do this with ease. Clancy also wanted to document the thought process inherent in the huge planning scheme necessary for military operations.
One of the most important items to note in this book is the continual education of a military officer. Wherever General Tony Zinni was assigned, he would gain insight by researching everything he could about the area. This allowed him to start integrating the social skills necessary to be successful at the job. By doing this, Zinni was able to socialize and learn the nuances about the culture before forging ahead to thwart the problem area.
Zinni found that other cultures think that Americans rush to do business. Americans are not familiar with how the rest of the world works; rather, we are used to doing it our way and this is what gets into trouble. Zinni found the solution to become part of the social circle and then try to work the issues out.
In this book, Clancy’s collaboration with Zinni shows a commander who was given much leeway to run his own shop. The benefit of being trusted and able to collaborate with the local ambassador was the fact that the country and its population knew they were dealing with Zinni directly. This can be a huge factor in people’s minds, no matter where the discord happens to be. This man on the ground was able to make decisions that would benefit not only the area affected, but ensured that American foreign policy was continued without any great embarrassment. This trust in a career military officer brings to mind that the U.S. military should be prepared to engage the enemy anywhere in a military or diplomatic manner. We would also have an astute picture of the people we could potentially deal with and the continued education is necessary for the military officer.
Zinni had a great need to study once he found out what area of the world he would cover. Zinni may be considered a maverick for his viewpoint(s), but at least he would give the decision-makers a top-to-bottom assessment. This no-nonsense manner served him well when he was tapped not as a commander, but as a diplomat with military credentials. The military connection would serve him well; he was often heralded as a man of ease who understood differing mindsets. Two presidents would use him for the diplomacy angle; the study of the local area that one can be placed would be extremely beneficial to the United States government. Zinni showed that he could be a Renaissance man and bring military force to bear on an enemy if needed.