Vietnam. The Cold War. Desert Storm. The Iraq War. The Afghan War. This weekend, National Geographic Channel gathers 11 active and retired U.S. Army generals for American War Generals, a first-of-its-kind look back at a half century of America’s military battles told by the men that led them.
The film, premiering Sunday, September 14 at 8P, unveils the complex world of conflict strategy and decision making from our most renowned four-star generals. With unique inside access to America’s most elite military leadership, viewers will be given a new, intimate perspective on foreign policy and our modern military.
American War Generals reveals many never-before-heard stories and opinions from the legendary leaders of the modern U.S. Army. Their accounts will take us through the big changes that have transformed the U.S. military from the first troops to enter Vietnam to the last combat troops to exit Afghanistan, explaining the critical personal experiences that shaped their lives and the way they approached modern warfare.
Featured generals are:
Retired 4-Star General and former Secretary of State
Military Service: 1958-1993
Retired 4-Star General
Military Service: 1976-2010
Retired 4-Star General and Former Director of the CIA
Military Service: 1974-2011
Retired 4-Star General and Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander
Military Service: 1966-2000
Retired 4-Star General and Former Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army
Military Service: 1966-2003
Retired 4-Star General and Former Chief of Staff of the US Army
Military Service: 1970-2011
Retired 4-Star General
Military Service: 1964-1996
4-Star General and 38th Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army
Military Service: 1976-present
Retired 3-Star General and former Ambassador to Afghanistan
Military Service: 1973-2009
Retired 3-Star General and Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
Military Service: 1981-2014
3-Star General / Director, Army Capabilities and Integration Center / Deputy Commanding General, Futures, US Army Training and Doctrine Command
Military Service: 1984-present
And some of what they reveal may be surprising:
In discussing Operation Iraqi Freedom, McChrystal reveals, “It’s funny, the U.S. military and U.S. politicians never talked about losing, but we absolutely knew we could lose. You can lose battles and ultimately you can lose the war. And in the summer of 2005, that was starkly apparent to me and the people that I served with.”
McCaffrey also adds of the conflict, “I think taking down Saddam was actually the right thing to do. Screwing up the military operation was not. So I have a permanent sense of hatred for what Secretary Rumsfeld, in particular, and these people that got in there and convinced themselves that they could do this with a minimalist approach of military power.”
Other revelations divulged in the special: How did the Vietnam War, both at home and on the battlefield, shape Powell’s approach to Operation Desert Storm? Why did Petraeus believe that his controversial counterinsurgency “surge” strategy in Iraq would work? What does McChrystal say about the Rolling Stone interview that led to his resignation from the Army?
Though the politics of war often generate heated debate, the bravery of the men these generals lead on the front lines has never been more apparent.
“Winning starts at the bottom,” says Clark. “A soldier can overcome incredible issues if he’s well-trained and competent and can put steel on target. That’s the difference in the battle.”
Tune in to American War Generals Sunday September 14 at 8P