From Parameters, Summer 2006, pp. 124-61.
Our Endangered Values: Americas Moral Crisis. By Jimmy Carter. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005. 224 pages. $25.00. Reviewed by Dr. Martin Cook, Professor of Philosophy, US Air Force Academy.
Jimmy Carters book is a deeply personal and passionately argued case that America is in danger on many fronts and issues: It risks losing clear sight of its best historic core to fundamentalists, both religious and political. As Carter states his thesis in the introduction, Fundamentalists have become increasingly influential in both religion and government, and have managed to change the nuances and subtleties of historic debate into black-and-white rigidities and the personal derogation of those who dare to disagree. . . . Narrowly defined theological beliefs have been adopted as the rigid agenda of a political party.
In this reviewers opinion, hes exactly right, both in the general assessment and in the implications he draws from it when he assesses the impact of these trends on issues as diverse as the changes in his beloved Southern Baptist Church (which he has now broken from), religious assaults on science and pseudoscientific school curriculum battles, bogus historical accounts cobbled together to attempt to diminish separation of church and state, abortion wars, the role of women, irresponsible and ill-advised preemptive war, and the diminished sense of responsibility for the environment justified in the minds of some by loony end-time prophecy novels and beliefs. In some sense, however, thats one of the problems with a volume such as this. In a culture where increasingly we only read books were sure we agree with before we open them, where you can determine a persons political stance pretty confidently by asking whether he or she listens to Fox News or National Public Radio, is there an intelligent reading public willing to thoughtfully consider the carefully articulated views of a deeply religious evangelical thinker who doesnt toe the party line of the Religious Right and, indeed, lays the blame for much of what frightens him directly on its doorstep?
This reviewer hopes there is, because President Carters book is not a book of mere assertion of positionsand perhaps even more important, it is devoid entirely of the shrill and tiresome rhetorical stance that pollutes virtually all of our public discourse. Instead, it calmly and thoughtfully lays out a coherent and consistent stance toward the world.
One set of readers who would find the book engaging and challenging would be Carters fellow evangelicals. The first section of the book explains in some detail the authors own theology and religious path. A life-long Baptist and Sunday School teacher, he explains in detail his perception that he did not so much leave the Southern Baptist Church (the largest Protestant denomination in the United States) as the Southern Baptist Church left him. He eloquently articulates the historical Baptist commitment to a rigorous separation of church and state (a position going back to Roger Williams founding of the colony of Rhode Island), to anti-creedalism and soul-
freedom of each individual to interpret the Bible according to his or her own lights, and to congregational governance in which each congregation governs its own affairs. In all these areas, he details the historical path by which his church has been drawn away from clarity on these central issues and become deeply politically entangled by means of the Religious Right in ways that the historic Baptist tradition always insisted can only corrupt both religion and politics. Political establishment of religion has always been, in the title of Williams justly famous diatribe on the subject, A Bloody Tenet of Persecution.
Carter draws on the same religious resources to skewer the hypocrisy of the Religious Rights passion against abortion and total indifference to the support of poor parents. He meditates on why it might be that the only area of American life where as a matter of policy women are deprived of leadership positions is within much of the Religious Rightand he offers his own modest biblical interpretations in support of womens equality. He ardently defends the legitimacy and autonomy of science. He articulates why, as an evangelical himself (indeed, in his statement on his understanding of biblical authority nearly a fundamentalist), he has no patience with religious attacks on stem cell research, or with the advocacy of so-called intelligent design as a scientific hypothesis. He attacks the pernicious and ethically-enervating apocalyptic speculation (most recently embodied in the fantastic sales figures of the Left Behind Novels) which, by persuading millions of Americans that the world will end in their lifetimes, justifies indifference toward the future of the planet and the environment.
He links religious fundamentalism with its twin: the political fundamentalism of the Bush Administration and the neocons. One reporter was told during the past election that the reporters difficulty in understanding the Administration was that he (the reporter) was a reality-based thinker and the Administration was not. Carter issues a passionate call to reality-based thinking. If it were applied, he argues, the go-it-alone, walk away from every possible international treaty and organization, and dont argue with me about it attitudes of the Administration would be shown to be undermining the nations moral legitimacy on the international stage. As Carter puts it,
During the past four years there have been dramatic changes in our nations policies toward protecting human rights. Many of our citizens have accepted these unprecedented policies because of fear of terrorist attacks, but the damage to Americas reputation has been extensive. Formerly admired almost universally as the preeminent champion of human rights, the United States now has become one of the foremost targets of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles of democratic life. Some of our actions are similar to those of abusive regimes that historically have been condemned by American leaders.
If I were to offer a perhaps too colloquial summary of President Carters book, I might suggest this title: Dude, Who Stole My Church and My Country? For those already alarmed by the trends Carter identifies, the book provides a clear and coherent articulation of their concerns. For those who share his general religious worldview, his book might be at least a bracing tonic and perhaps an antidote for the
monolithic stance of the noisy Religious Right. And for readers open to the personal and thoughtful ruminations of a deeply moral man, the book is at least a good read.
State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century. By Francis Fukuyama. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2004. 137 pages. $21.00. Reviewed by Joseph R. Cerami, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University.
Francis Fukuyama gained international attention with the publication of his 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. His thesis, in brief, was that capitalist liberal democracy was the final answer to the big question of roughly 3,500 years of political philosophy regarding how human societies should best govern their political, economic, and social affairs.
Fukuyamas ideas came originally from a then-deputy director of the State Departments Policy Planning Staff and RAND analyst, marking his efforts with the stamp of a practitioner who had observed the US foreign policy process up close in a very turbulent period. Moreover, the timing of his prescriptions caught the wave of immediate post-Cold War optimism. His history mega-lesson conformed to a very Western philosophy, as captured by the liberalism of the Founding Fathers and put into practice in international competition with a powerful adversary over the 50 years of Cold War.
As one would expect, this thesis came under fire. Was Fukuyama overselling the ascendance of Western democratic political and economic institutions? In the academic community, wasnt Samuel Huntingtons more pessimistic assertion of a coming Clash of Civilizations a more realistic forecast? The onset of continuing difficulties in the 1990s in Haiti, Somalia, the Balkans, and elsewhere all added weight to the Huntington forecast of emerging toil and trouble along the many fault lines between West and East and North and South.
Since 1992, Fukuyamas thinking has continued to evolve. More directly, he has addressed the notions that if democratic capitalism is the end game, how do you get from here to there, especially in failed states lacking democratic social traditions and institutions? His writing in Has History Started Again? (Policy, Winter 2002) returned to the end-of-history thesis to argue that after 9/11 everything looks different and there is a new global struggle between the United States and the forces of Islamo-fascism.
Fukuyamas subsequent work continues to influence thinking on these big issues of political development as well as foreign policy. His current split from the neoconservatives over Iraq policy has been the subject of some attention in policy journals, such as the National Interest (see The Neoconservative Moment, July 2004). In an article titled Nation Building 101 in The Atlantic Monthly (January/February 2004), he declared that the threats of failed states and Americas ability to fix such states will be the defining issue for America in the century ahead. His insights on the urgency of democratic state-building are reinforced most recently in Stateness First in the Journal of Democracy (January 2005).
Fukuyamas current book provides important, if alarming, insights regarding the state of knowledge on the subjects of state-building and governance. If knowledge is power, then, in Fukuyamas assessment of what scholars can contribute to state-building, there is and should be no joy in Mudville. Of the four areas that Fukuyama highlights for building institutions, his view is that, at best, scholars can offer one or possibly two areas of credible knowledge that are transferable to emerging states. First, he sees a high degree of transferability in terms of organizational design and management, as drawn from the classical public administration and management literatures. Second, for political system design, he assesses a moderate degree of transferability in what political science offers in terms of federalism and parliamentary and presidential systems. The tougher issues are in the third and fourth dimensions, involving legitimacy and culture. Both realms receive low transferability ratings from Fukuyama. In his view, we just dont know the best way to encourage the establishment of the normative or values foundations necessary for establishing and extending legitimacy in governing institutions in nonwestern and nondemocratic societies. Nor can Fukuyama find a knowledge base for guiding the development of political and social norms and values that would underpin democratic, liberal politicsstrong and effective governing institutions, accountable political leaders, and engaged citizens. Whether Fukuyamas assessments were knowable before the invasion of Iraq is becoming a matter for historians to reflect upon. Whether the current activities of the United States can transition from an armed forces role to some new, integrated form of national, and at some point international, state-building agencies remains to be seen in the ongoing, bloody experiments in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Now serving as a professor at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Fukuyama is well positioned to continue the in-depth study of governing failed and failing states. As he points out, this is probably the greatest challenge facing the United States in the post-Cold War era of globalization and terrorism. One trusts he will provide additional provocative studies to probe, inform, and educate the scholarly community, intergovernmental and international agencies, and the US armed forces and diplomatic corps (those at the tip of the spear) as they continue to meet the daily challenges of governance and security in the many states facing a bumpy road on what we hope will be the path to democracy and capitalism.
Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-1945. By Max Hastings. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004. 581 pages. $30.00 ($16.95 paper). Reviewed by Colonel Leonard J. Fullenkamp, USA Ret., Professor of Military History and Strategy, US Army War College.
Max Hastings Armageddon picks up the history of World War II where Overlord, his 1982 account of the Allied invasion, left off. Beginning with events of 1 September 1944, Armageddon covers events on the Eastern and Western Fronts through May 1945. Deliberately, Hastings ignores events on the Italian front, preferring to focus his attention on the Allies in the West, the Russians in the East, and
the Germans throughout. Whether one has read widely on World War II or not, this book offers something here for readers of all stripes.
On one level, Armageddon is a conventional military history of the war, with issues of policy and military strategy examined, interpreted, and critiqued in the classical war as an instrument of policy interpretation of history. Here one finds judicious criticism of Franklin Roosevelts shortsightedness on postwar issues, abetted by generals George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower, who come across in Hastings view as decidedly anti-Clausewitzian, their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Americas leaders, civilian and military, earn harsh criticism for their failure to understand or appreciate the dangers Joseph Stalin and his armies posed for Eastern Europe. Winston Churchill and his generals, notably Bernard Montgomery and Alan Brooke, get higher marks, for both their appreciation of geopolitics and their military direction of the war. Stalin and his generals, principally Ivan Konev and Georgi Zhukov, get Hastings highest marks as warfighters and post-conflict architects. Adolf Hitler and his senior generals are roundly condemned, and deservedly so, for their fumbling prosecution of the war, and its associated war crimes, while the German army is described with grudging admiration as having the best, most proficient, hard-fighting soldiers right to the end.
On a second level, Armageddon provides an operational history of major combat operations on the Eastern and Western Fronts during the last nine months of World War II. Beginning with Market Garden, the failed effort to seize a bridge-crossing on the Rhine River in the autumn of 1944, and ending with the fall of Berlin in May 1945, Hastings examines the major operations, the cumulative effects of which proved necessary to defeat Hitlers Third Reich.
Occasionally, Hastings interrupts his narrative to develop the back story, with a summary of events earlier in the war that have led to the situation at hand. For example, to help the reader grasp the significance and implications of the battle for Warsaw, Hastings summarizes events in Poland from the opening days of the war through late summer 1944. On the war in the air, Hastings provides in a single chapter an excellent short history of the evolution of tactical fighter aircraft, strategic bombing strategies, and the moral debates, then and now, about the bombing of cities. Covering adequately events as complex as major operations in the Ardennes in 1944 and in Eastern Europe from January through April 1945 can be daunting even for the most gifted historian, as chapters on the Battle of the Bulge and Russian offensives in Eastern Europe reach to span the complexity of events.
A book that appeared a few years ago, A War to be Won, by Williamson Murray and Allan Millett, is a better operational study of the war, but readers new to a discussion of the level of war between strategy and tactics will appreciate this aspect of Hastings book. Hastings illustrates how major campaigns (maneuver and battles) contribute to, or rather should contribute to, the securing of strategic ends. When campaigns are ill-conceived, or wrongly directed, as was Montgomerys attempt to seize a crossing of the Rhine River in September 1944, little good and much harm can result. Montgomerys failure to open the port at Antwerp did little to resolve pressing logistical problems, and it probably set the stage for the greatest Allied disaster of the war, Hitlers December 1944 Ardennes offensive.
At the strategic and operational levels, Hastings evaluation of generalship on the part of senior commanders on all sides is hard, but fair. Zhukov wins top honors as the best combat general of the war, and Russian ground forces come in second only to the Germans as warfighters. Whereas British and American units were averse to taking casualties, and the requisite risks likely to produce them in great numbers, the Russian generals, at Stalins orders, profligately spent their soldiers lives, while German soldiers sold their lives dearly, yet prodigiously, to defend their homeland. Hastings readily acknowledges the despotic nature of Communism and National Socialism, while observing that American and British soldiers simply would not, and could not, be driven to fight as did the German and Russian soldiers. Of the latter, Hastings makes clear the great debt the Yanks and Tommies owe their Russian compatriots, soldiers and citizens, who sacrificed their lives in the millions to defeat Germany.
Major campaigns, disputes over the best operational schemes, Broad Front versus Single Thrust, the greatest coalition in the history of warfarewhich barely managed to hang together until the fighting had endedall of this is familiar material, and were Hastings to serve up only this, Armageddon would be well worth reading. Yet there is more to the story, what may be called the human dimension of war. Noting that the battle for Germany began as the largest single military event of the twentieth century, and it ended as its greatest human tragedy, Hastings book does its best work in putting a face on the many who lived the war. To bring the war to life, Hastings draws upon archival research and interviews with 170 contemporary witnesses in Russia, Germany, Britain, the United States, and Holland. Among those quoted are the famous (Sergeants Henry Kissinger and Forrest Pogue, for example) and those whose stories survived only in the notes smuggled out of Nazi death camps. Hastings uses eyewitness accounts of soldiers, civilians, men and women, young and old, to tell the unspeakable stories of what it was like as the Allied armies closed in on Berlin, from which is taken the title of the book. Just as the New Testament account of Armageddon describes the climactic battle between good and evil, so too, for those who lived it, the last days of World War II had all the trappings of the end of time. These first-person accounts of the last days of the Third Reich will fascinate the reader, both the horrors described, and the casual, detached way some remember them.
To place in context the cataclysmic ending of World War II in Europe, Hastings writes:
Sixty years onwards, any civilized person must react with horror to the human consequences of the catastrophe that befell the German people in the last months of the war. The battle for the Third Reich cost the lives of something like 400,000 Germans killed in ground fighting and by aerial bombardment in 1945 alone, together with anything up to two million who died in the flight from the east. Eight million became homeless refugees. Yet it is hard to conceive of any less dreadful conclusion to the nightmare Hitler and his nation had precipitated. When Germans failed to depose their leader, when they made the choice, conscious or otherwise, to fight to the end, they condemned Germany to the fate which it suffered in the closing months of the Second World War.
Without irony, Hastings compares the fate of Germany with that of its ally Japan: It is relevant to observe that Japanese casualties from the dropping of atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which precipitated the surrender, were vastly smaller than those suffered by the Germans in the struggle to defend their country, and in the flight from the invaders.
Whether read as a conventional military history of the last days of World War II, as a campaign study, or as an anecdotal summary of the observations of those who witnessed what they believed were the last days of mankind, Armageddon makes a valuable contribution to the body of World War II literature, especially where it puts faces on the last days of the war.
Lincolns Tragic Admiral: The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont. By Kevin J. Weddle. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005. 269 pages. $34.95. Reviewed by Carlo DEste (LTC, USA Ret.), author of Patton: A Genius For War and Eisenhower: A Soldiers Life.
Of the seemingly endless flood of books about the Civil War that are published each year, most deal with familiar battles, campaigns, and personalities. Except for the famous clash between the Union ironclad USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia in March 1862, the lesser-known naval side of the Civil War has drawn far less interest. Nevertheless, it remains fertile ground for historians.
A case in point is Admiral Samuel Francis du Pont, one of the pioneers of the modern US Navy, whose brilliant career was dashed in the wake of his failed attempt to capture Charleston from the sea in April 1863. Kevin Weddle, who is currently assigned to the Army War College, has written a revealing biography of du Pont that sheds important new light on the rise and fall of an undeservedly obscure military figure.
Born in 1803, the nephew of the founder of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Samuel du Pont was enchanted by the US Navys exploits during the War of 1812, and he went to sea as a midshipman at the tender age of 12 to begin a remarkable naval career. Without patronage, du Pont quietly learned his craft and rose steadily but unspectacularly through the ranks of the Navy to become one of its most innovative and respected officers.
In the summer of 1861 du Pont was given command of the largest fleet ever to set sail for battle under the banner of the Stars and Stripes. His South Atlantic Blockading Squadron played a key role in the Union blockade of the Confederacy, beginning with the capture of the important sanctuary and logistical base of Port Royal, South Carolina, in November 1861. It was the first major Union victory of the war and was followed by the successful blockade of Georgia and Florida. These exploits resulted in du Ponts promotion to rear admiral.
The epic engagement between the Monitor and the Virginia at Hampton Roads on 9 March 1862 led the Navy Department to place unjustifiably high hopes on the unproven potential of ironclad vessels. In April 1863, du Pont was ordered to lead a flotilla of nine ironclads to capture the greatest Confederate prize of all,
Charleston. Although one of the Navys foremost champions of technological modernization, du Pont recognized the ironclads shortcomings and strongly opposed their utilization against heavily defended Charleston, arguing that an attack without the support of the Union Army was folly. His warnings went unheeded by the Navy Department in Washington.
Du Pont had to either carry out his flawed orders or resign. His dilemma vividly illustrates a common problem in a democracy, where civilian rule predominates but sometimes clashes with the judgment of the commander in the field who has a better perspective of the mission. Although he dutifully carried out his orders, historys first all-ironclad attack failed disastrously when the fires of hell were turned on the Union fleet, as C. R. P. Rogers, du Ponts staff captain, later wrote.
The Union failure to capture Charleston was doomed from the start. It bears a striking resemblance to the disastrous attempt orchestrated by Winston Churchill in early 1915 to thrust Royal Navy warships through the Dardanelles to capture Constantinople without the support of ground troops on the Gallipoli peninsula to neutralize the deadly Turkish fortifications guarding the straits.
Failed military operations invariably demand accountability, and history is replete with examples of commanders who have been held responsible for and paid the price for the misjudgments of their superiors. In his report to Congress, Navy Secretary Gideon Welles made Samuel du Pont the scapegoat for Charleston by concealing du Ponts letters warning of the pitfalls of an all-naval attack. As a matter of honor, when neither the Navy nor Congress cleared him of responsibility, he asked to be relieved of his command. Almost overnight du Pont went from naval hero to ignominy, his career effectively over after nearly 50 years of dedicated service to his country.
As the author notes, du Ponts story is one of the most heartbreaking of the Civil War. Twenty-four years after du Ponts death in 1865, Congress finally redressed the injustice of Charleston by erecting a statue that for many years was the centerpiece of Washington, D.C.s Dupont Circle, named in his honor. Nonetheless, Samuel du Pont has been virtually overlooked in the plethora of biographies of better-known figures of the Civil War.
Kevin Weddles superbly researched, insightful biography not only chronicles du Ponts remarkable life, but also exposes the deceitfulness of Welles and his deputy, Gustavus Fox, who covered up their accountability for the failure to capture Charleston, which remained a Confederate stronghold until Shermans army finally captured it in 1865. Du Pont, notes the author, was a warrior, a diplomat, a thoughtful strategist, a confirmed reformer, and an exceptional and supremely confident seaman. His contributions to the making of the modern US Navy included his advocacy of steam power and the transformation of the Navy from wood to iron ships. Samuel du Pont embodied the very best that America has produced in her officers and commanders. To his credit, he gave far more to his country than it gave back to him in his lifetime.
Lincolns Tragic Admiral is both the biography of one of the Civil Wars most underrated military figures and a compelling history of the naval side of the war. It is also the auspicious debut of a historian and biographer who deserves to be widely read by anyone interested in military history and the lessons it offers us.
Code Names: Deciphering US Military Plans, Programs, and Operations in the 9/11 World. By William M. Arkin. Hanover, N.H.: Steerforth Press, 2005. 608 pages. $27.95. Reviewed by Colonel Robert B. Killebrew, USA Ret., who served in Special Forces, mechanized, air assault, and airborne infantry units, and held a variety of planning and operational assignments during his 30-year Army career.
In a perfect world, writes journalist William Arkin in the preface to Code Names, all this secrecy would protect legitimate secrets from prying foreign eyes. But in the real world, many of the individual secrets and much of the accumulated secrecy merely serve to keep a permanent system and a singular assumption of American national security from public debate and congressional oversight.
My solution is simple, he says: Democracy works better, and a brighter and safer future is more likely to be achieved, when the people understand what is being done in their name. You either believe in openness or you dont.
And with that, Arkin embarks on a detailed and comprehensive exposure of the American security system: the organization of the governments security apparatus, the Department of Defense combatant command system, a country-by-country breakdown of countries in which US military activities take place and with which the United States has security ties (a Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore, for example, for access to bases; a classified Status of Forces Agreement; cooperative arrangements for acquisition; and more), and, finally, over 300 pages of program code names. From the first entrythe Able series of Allied Command Europe and NATO nuclear weapons exercisesto the lastZodiac Beauchamp: Suborbital launch program from Barking Sands, HI, for missile defense-related research purposes, 1990-presentArkin covers the gamut from unclassified exercises to subcompartments of code-named programs whose existence has been a closely guarded secret. Well over 3,000 named programs are explained in this book.
The numbers are his point. This former Army intelligence officer has no problem with legitimate secrets, he says, but the classification system has built such huge stockpiles of secrets that arent really secrets that we are keeping them only from ourselves, from public awareness, and from responsible oversight. In a previous work, for example, he published locations obtained from open sources of US and Soviet nuclear weapons because, he says, secrecy was operating only to protect the growth of the nuclear arsenal from our own oversight. It was shielding a nuclear infrastructure that had taken on a dangerous, illegal, and questionable life of its own, a situation loaded with overkill. Stripped of secrecy, . . . the nuclear problem could be more easily discussed with everyone on the same page. Today, the growth of secrecy surrounding the Global War on Terrorism is likewise preventing effective oversight, Arkin believes.
Second, US national security strategy is handicapped because excessive secrecy is used to cloak larger issues that policymakers would rather not acknowledge. A glaring example is the extent of US assistance to Arabic governments officially neutral in the war on terrorism, but which require our aid. Arkin believes this leads to the faintly ridiculous sight of secret B-52 bombers and fighters parked on
classified airfields while locals stroll by. The effect actually has worked against US interests: The US found itself in the ridiculous position, for instance, of operating a fleet of enormous and highly observable B-52 bombers from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia but having to maintain (even today) that the location was classified. . . . Over the years, the Saudis did hardly anything to stop the growth of the al Qaeda organization, and the kingdom placed enormous constraints on what the US could do on its soil. . . . [I]n the end, the web of cooperative military agreements and shared secrets suggested a better relationship and stronger alliance than was actually the case. In the authors view, we succeeded only in fooling ourselves: We live in a world in which the professionals charged with our security have again and again been unsuccessful in preventing 9/11s, and the overclassification of data and accumulated secrets have prevented effective oversight.
Whether the reader agrees with Arkins motives or not, the information contained inside Code Names makes for a fascinating read for any national security specialist. So far as can be ascertained, the data are correct and detailed. The book includes major categories of names associated with the gamut of Defense Department activitiesfor example, presidential support, nuclear war preparations and programs, offensive counter-proliferation and countering enemy weapons of mass destruction programs, homeland security operations, missile defense, anti-submarine programs, clandestine operations, spy satellites, human intelligence, information warfare, and other programs.
Regardless of what one thinks of the authors open-source stripping away of national secrets, Code Names is a valuable reference for military planners and for US (or foreign) security professionals. While there are, thankfully, some blank spaces (Arkin asserts that nothing in the book could compromise the identity of a US agent, sources, methods, or ongoing operations), he has nonetheless done an excellent job of collecting on the US government and its armed forces.
Predictable Surprises: The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming and How to Prevent Them. By Max H. Bazerman and Michael D. Watkins. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2004. 336 pages. $27.50. Reviewed by Colonel Mark J. Eshelman, Director, Defense Support to Civil Authorities, Department of Command, Leadership, and Management, US Army War College.
Authors Max Bazerman of the Harvard Business School, and Michael Watkins, founder of Genesis Advisers, a leadership and strategy consultancy, define a predictable surprise as an event or set of events that take an individual or group by surprise, despite prior awareness of all the information necessary to anticipate the events and their consequences. The goal of Predictable Surprises is to help leaders prevent looming catastrophes that are so large and complex that even though they may realize a crisis is developing, they are unable to generate an effective response. The book is well written and provides a superb analysis of a number of past surprises. The authors draw specific conclusions leading to a framework that leaders can use to counter such surprises.
Predictable Surprises is logically organized in a manner that directly contributes to rapid understanding. Chapter One sets the stage for the remainder of the book. It provides an explanation of the phenomenon of a predictable surprise and describes its six characteristics. The book is then divided into three parts. Part I describes two prototypical surprises, the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks and the collapse of Enron. Part II explores why predictable surprises occur, specifically why leaders do not act on what they know to prevent such occurrences. Part III lays out the aforementioned framework to prevent surprise. The final chapter reviews several developing crises that should be acted on by contemporary leaders. While Predictable Surprises is a valuable work, certainly worth reading, the concept of predictable or inevitable surprise is not new with this book.
In 2003, the same year that Bazerman and Watkins published an article Predictable Surprises in the Harvard Business Review that led to this book, Peter Schwartz described essentially the same phenomenon in a book titled Inevitable Surprise. Both books describe and analyze the same concept and provide examples, often the same examples. For instance, both books assert that terrorist attacks of an 11 September 2001 magnitude were foreseeable. Both books point out that many analysts who closely followed terrorism predicted it was a matter of time until such attacks occurred, and yet our strategic leaders were unable to prevent them. The books also explore coming surprises and again use some of the same examples, such as global warming and Americas looming fiscal crisis. For those who may be reluctant to pick up this book because they have already read Inevitable Surprises, it should be noted that the Bazerman and Watkins book has added utility. While Inevitable Surprises addressed the root causes of predictable surprise and strategies to deal with them, it did so in a passing fashion. The manner with which Bazerman and Watkins examine and analyze these two aspects distinguishes their book and makes it particularly valuable.
Bazerman and Watkins provide a more in-depth examination of the reasons, rooted in the human condition, which often seem to render strategic leaders incapable of preventing a foreseeable crisis. They identify failure to prevent predictable surprise as occurring on three levels: cognitive, organizational, and political. Cognitive failures are rooted in a variety of human biases. The authors also explore four types of organizational failure, including failure to scan the environment to identify threats and failure to integrate and analyze information from multiple sources. They then analyze several political factors that contribute to the likelihood of a predictable surprise, various forms of special interests that cause individuals or groups to act out of self-interest with little regard for the effects of their actions. Their analysis is compelling and seems complete. By examining the root causes of surprise, the authors are postured to draw conclusions and make recommendations designed to help leaders with future crises.
What makes Predictable Surprises especially worth the time to read it is Part III. Chapters 7, 8, and 9 provide leaders with a framework to prevent predictable surprises. Bazerman and Watkins argue that leaders must instill in their organizations the ability to do three things: recognize emerging threats, prioritize them, and mobilize an effective response. They provide decisionmakers with sound analysis and practical examples of when and how to use the suggested techniques, tools, tactics, and methodologies.
Throughout Predictable Surprises, the authors emphasize the role of leadership and articulate an unwavering belief that it is possible for good leadership to make a difference. By furnishing convincing evidence that many future problems can be anticipated, the authors provide insight and understanding about the cognitive, organizational, and political factors at work in any organization that may inhibit an effective response to looming disasters. In so doing, Bazerman and Watkins provide leaders the analytical tools and framework to productively examine their own organizations.
One Soldiers Story: A Memoir. By Bob Dole. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. 287 pages. $25.95. Reviewed by Dr. Samuel Newland (LTC, ARNG Ret.), Professor, Department of Distance Education, US Army War College.
For citizens who came of age in the 1960s and 70s, the name Bob Dole is eminently familiar. Some remember him as a long-serving US senator from Kansas. Others remember him as the fiercely combative chairman of the Republican National Committee during the Nixon years, and subsequently as President Fords vice presidential running mate in 1976. More recent generations remember him as the unsuccessful candidate for the presidency in 1996, running against the incumbent President, Bill Clinton. In short, through the last four decades of the 20th century, the name Bob Dole draws to mind the image of a plain-spoken Republican politician from the Midwest. This autobiography, however, will introduce readers to another personaBob Dole, the soldier. This book, by the authors intent, and as depicted in its title, avoids his political career and focuses on his formative years and service as a soldier in World War II.
Dole was born and raised in the north central Kansas town of Russell. He was one of four children born to a family of very modest circumstances. His family was noted for its closeness, hard work, and integrity, attributes that remain with the former senator to this day. As an intelligent and athletic young man, Dole planned to attend college and then medical school. Upon graduation from high school in 1941, fall found him at the University of Kansas. While he did complete two years of college, his mind was not on his studies. Like so many young men of his generation, his mind was on the war. On 14 December 1942 he joined the Army Reserve Corps and the following June he entered the US Army.
Doles military career was in many respects unique. Although he entered the Army in June 1943, he did not receive orders to go overseas until December 1944. After basic training he was accepted into Officer Candidate School, but before he could actually attend that course he was selected for the Armys Specialized Training Program (ASTP). Rather than being sent to another Army post, he was assigned to study engineering at Brooklyn College in New York. The ASTP was an excellent concept, educating bright, talented soldiers for higher levels of responsibility, but it was a luxury the Army couldnt afford. It needed more soldiers at the front. Consequently in the spring of 1944 Dole was again sent off to schoolthis time to be an infantryman. While in training he was notified that he had been accepted to attend Officer Candidate School, and in July he was assigned to Ft. Benning, Georgia.
Arriving in Naples, Italy, only a few days before Christmas, Dole reported to a replacement depot and then waited impatiently for orders. When his orders finally arrived in February 1945, Dole was assigned as a platoon leader with the 10th Mountain Division. On 18 March, he received a wound that brought him his first Purple Heart. A little less than a month later, on 14 April, he received a much more serious wound, one that would forever change his life. A German mortar shell shredded his shoulder and damaged his spinal cord. He eventually would retire from the Army on 29 July 1948, and in the time that elapsed between that second wound and his retirement he endured numerous surgeries, months of physical therapy, and came very close to dying on several occasions. Though his injuriesthe loss of the use of his right armmade medical school unlikely, Dole was able to subsequently finish both college and law school. He then embarked on a highly successful career as a state and national political leader.
Several things make this book an excellent read. First, it is based both on the senators recollections and a treasure trove of letters that he wrote during his college and war years. These letters and his memories provide readers another perspective on life in the United States during the war. Additionally, they reveal the courage and determination required of a seriously wounded soldier to conquer his handicapping injuries. Second, and perhaps most important, the reader is impressed by Bob Doles acceptance, his lack of bitterness about what happened to him in April 1945, only a few weeks before the end of the war in Europe.
When Tom Brokaw, the well-known television journalist, learned that Senator Dole had more recently suffered a serious injury, Brokaw called him and said, Life isnt fair. Later, Dole mused over this statement and wrote, On the whole, life has been more than fair to me. I wouldnt trade my life for any other. This statement is from a man who, because of the severity of his wartime injuries, finds getting dressed every morning to be a real challenge. It is also a reflection of the character of Bob Dole and hints at why this book is worth reading.
Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco. By David L. Phillips. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2005. 292 pages. $25.00. Reviewed by Major Keith W. Mines, USAR Ret., Political Officer, US Embassy Ottawa; former Coalition Governance Coordinator for Al Anbar Province (2003-2004).
The number of books on the current Iraq conflict has passed the 300 mark from policy reviews to battle analyses to published blog sites to assessments of the wars impact on the Iraqi people. Among the assortment is something for everyone, with more to come. Within this field, Losing Iraq, by David Phillips, finds its niche as a brief but thorough examination of pre-war policy planning and the first year of postwar political execution. From my perspective as the former Coalition Governance Coordinator in Al Anbar province, the book doesnt miss much as a review of what went wrong. But its key prescription for doing things right, the Future of Iraq Project, may not be the panacea that the author suggests. Moreover, it leaves unanswered the question of what institutional fixes would enable us to do future Iraqs better.
The authors main pre-war thesis is that Iraq was thrown into crisis when Bush Administration officials, especially Pentagon political appointees, rushed to war and decided to ignore the planning that was under way. Phillips supports this by walking the reader through his involvement in the Future of Iraq Project and meetings with Iraqi exiles in 2002. Phillips is not prone to oversimplify, conceding that there was legitimate hesitation to do too much postwar planning before the decision to go to war was confirmed, and he doesnt sugarcoat the lack of consensus and leadership among the Iraqis. Even absent a detailed plan, however, Phillips shows convincingly that there were certain emerging themes that should have helped guide the transition. But the Bush Administration, he says, did not have a detailed program, all it had was one personAhmed Chalabi.
At the time the war started, Phillips paints a picture of a perfect storm: We see no credible Iraqi leadership, squabbling factions that couldnt agree on a framework for the political transition and which would be ignored even if they could agree. Turkey and Iran stand as unhelpful neighbors. There are interagency disagreements about who owns the postwar phase, followed by disdain for the task by the Pentagon after it won the initial fighting. There is no overt planning so as not to tip our hand, and there are few international partners.
The authors involvement in the execution phase is less direct, but his analysis is still quite thorough. Here too Phillips sees a negative accumulation of decisions that led to the very difficult subsequent slog: de-Baathification that put 120,000 former regime members out of work and sent the message that they would not have a place in the new Iraq; the disbanding of the army, which disenfranchised another 400,000; the emplacement of a US viceroy; and no meaningful political process to engage the Iraqis and show them that the way forward included self-government.
Phillips ends with the June 2004 interim government and an epilogue in which he asks, Is Iraq really lost? The author tries to see the glass as half full, answering, Despite mishandling of Iraqs political transition, Iraqis might yet succeed in fashioning their country into a federal democratic republic that acts as a catalyst for reform in the Middle East, as well as a bulwark against terrorism.
Although the author gives a very thorough analysis in a crisp 225 pages, there are several aspects of the book that could be better. First, at times there is a bit too much of Phillips himselfhe drops names and inserts himself even when it adds little. Second, he may trust too slavishly in the Future of Iraq Project. Dr. Brendan OLeary, editor of The Future of Kurdistan in Iraq, one of the best political reviews of Iraq to date, suggested recently that the 18-state federalist solution proposed in the Future of Iraq Project would never have worked, given the Kurdish insistence on forming an ethnic subregional state. The Future of Iraq Project did generate some new ideas that would have been helpful to planners, but it was not a planning document and it certainly was not a panacea. Third, Phillips on-the-ground experience in Iraq was limited to Kurdistan, while his exposure to Sunnis and Shiites was through his relationships with exiles. A more well-rounded exposure would have enriched the book significantly. Fourth, Phillips was only on the margins of the bureaucratic battles he describes, and consequently he may have missed some of the key points. It is true, as he asserts, that the State Department was marginalized in the interagency debate, but it is
questionable whether it could have done a better job than the Department of Defense (DOD) in any event. Like DOD, the State Department does not have a fly-away package of civilian administrators ready to deploy to fix broken countries. Additionally, the State Department lacks an institutional planning process for contingencies and a standing civil affairs component that can backfill in emergencies like that of DOD. It is entirely possible that the State Department would have done worse than DOD at managing postwar Iraq, and the authors recommendation that in the future the National Security Council take on nation-building coordination is just as questionable.
Development of the latter point could have taken this good book with its conventional review of a messy post-conflict operation and turned it into a must read. Perhaps post-conflict reconstruction is having a difficult time finding a home because no one wants to do it. Possibly, no one wants to do it because it has become so politicized and the outcome is so difficult to control. But if there are more Iraqs in our future, and I for one would not want to rule it out, getting it right this time would indeed be in our basic interest.
The First Space Race: Launching the Worlds First Satellites. By Matt Bille and Erika Lishock. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2004. 214 pages. $40.00 ($19.95 paper). Reviewed by Dr. James R. Downey, Professor of Science and Technology, US Army War College.
For someone who was a child growing up in the 1960s it is easy to recall, like many Americans, the excitement of the Apollo program and Americas drive to land the first human on the moon. As millions gathered around black and white television sets, many were inspired by the famous words of Neil Armstrong: Thats one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. However, before a footprint could be made in the lunar dust, a tremendous amount of work had to be done just to get into space. This part of the story is less memorable for many, but equally if not more important, as humans broke the bounds of the atmosphere to enter the realm of space. Matt Bille and Erika Lishock address this early history with their book titled The First Space Race. Packed with copious details and several first-person accounts, the book provides an excellent understanding of how the space race began and the effects it had on the world. In particular, for the national security audience the book provides a historical insight into the developing competition between the United States and the former Soviet Union, such that where we are today can reasonably be traced to the race to space.
This work will appeal to at least two audiences. For those who are interested in a detailed accounting of the early space race, this book will more than satisfy their curiosity. The book also will be of value to leaders who must manage high-risk programs with significant technical challenges. The many examples of system failures, design changes, and political issues will remind leaders about the frequent requirement for patience and the need to accept risk in order to achieve success. The book also provides insights into the interservice rivalry that developed over space and continues even today.
The First Space Race is organized chronologically and opens with a brief discussion of Johannes Keplers planetary laws of motion and the important work of the Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. The latter is credited with developing many of the basic principles of space flight, including the idea of multi-stage rockets. From this beginning the book delves into a veritable laundry list of people who made contributions to the early rocket and space programs. Some are familiar names like Robert Goddard (early rocket experiments) and Wernher Von Braun (leader of Army efforts at Redstone in Alabama). Others, such as Navy Lieutenant Commander George Hoover (space advocate and champion) and the Russian scientist Sergey Korolev (leader of the Russian Sputnik program), are little known except to serious students of space history. While many readers will be familiar with Germanys V-2 program, the authors do an excellent job of describing the effect the V-2 had on both the United States and the Soviet Union. Both nations actively engaged and recruited German scientists and collected rocket information after World War II as the seeds of the Cold War space race were planted.
Succeeding chapters develop the growing space programs of the two superpowers in significant detail, and the book does a good job of contrasting the US and Soviet programs and the correlated national security implications. Most significantly, it describes how the superpowers had fundamentally different goals in pursuing their first satellite programs. For the Soviets the goal was simple: be the first in space, period. For the United States the objective appeared to be more diffuse, with a primary goal of getting a satellite up to correspond with the International Geophysical Year (July 1957 to December 1958); being first was not as critical. Another important aspect of the early space race which had major national security implications was whether spaceflight over a sovereign nation was a violation of territorial integrity. The desired position of the United States was that free access to space was vital. Frequent references are made to the initial lack of interest by defense leaders, including the Secretary of Defense, at the time. Research and development programs were supported, but there appeared to be little expectation of any military utility for satellites, as most of the effort was focused on missile development. It is hard not to see the great irony here, given todays dependence on space assets for virtually all aspects of warfighting. Readers may be surprised to learn that the US Navy was given the lead for the first orbiting satellite, even though the Army had demonstrated much early capability. The nascent and separate US Air Force also had a role to play, especially after the first satellite made it into orbit. Independent of these issues, the book goes to great lengths to develop the notion of the push into space as ultimately having both scientific and military purposes.
Many people have heard of Sputnik, the first Russian satellite (actually Sputnik 1), but not Explorer 1, the first US satellite. The launch of the first Russian satellite on 4 October 1957 changed the world forever. Surprisingly, the initial reaction in the United States was somewhat subdued. However, as the book describes, Americans soon became greatly concerned. The book goes on to detail the impact of Sputnik in such areas as education, including the passage of the National Defense Education Act. Readers may be struck by some similarity in several events following the launch of Sputnik 1 and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In both instances the
United States was mobilized to respond and significant projects were begun. Additional outcomes highlighted in the book include the formation of new US government agencies, including the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The final chapters of the book address the trials and tribulations of getting early satellites into orbit and the numerous failures that occurred along the way. Readers may be encouraged to consider whether such risk could be tolerated today.
For those who want to know all the intricate details, including dates, events, people, and context, this book provides them in almost every paragraph. However, this level of detail makes the book difficult to read in places, and one can get bogged down and miss the big picture. Nevertheless, one can easily skim sections to get the gist of the story and then delve more into those parts that attract particular attention.
In sum, this book provides a superb insight into the early space race and the overall effects this race had on both the United States and the Soviet Union. Understanding how efforts in space began is a lens into the space programs we have today, both military and civilian. Matt Bille and Erika Lishocks The First Space Race reveals the story of this world-changing journey.
Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945. By Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005. 608 pages. $29.95. Reviewed by Professor Eugenia C. Kiesling, Professor of History, US Military Academy.
Historians of the Second War World, however apologetically, rarely give much space to events in Southeast Asia. Two admirably comprehensive works, H. P. Willmotts Crusade and Gerhard Weinbergs A World at Arms, each devote about five percent of their pages to Malaya and Burma. In 200 pages on World War II in the survey textbook used at the US Military Academy, one learns only that Japan conquered Singapore and that Allied strategic planning for the victory in 1943 would build upon British efforts in Burma.
However slighted in the general histories, Southeast Asia has received its share of operational studies focusing on the achievements of General William Slims 14th Army in 1944-45. Those events are well understood, and Forgotten Armies does not recapitulate the military history of the China-Burma-India theater. Its authors have produced something far more important, a broad and detailed study of the political, social, economic, andcruciallypsychological experiences of the many different peoples who lived and fought in the long geographical crescent stretching from Calcutta to Singapore.
The subtitle, The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945, reveals the subtext. This is not Defeat into Victory, but Defeat into Empty Victory. However spectacular the British recovery from humiliation in 1942 to major military success in 1944, the destruction of the Japanese Army at Imphal and Kohima was rendered irrelevant by the developments of the sort ignored in operational histories. More crucial in the long run than the victories of Slims Forgotten Army were the actions of armies even less remembered, the Indian National Army, the Burma Independence Army,
and the Malayan Peoples Anti-Japanese Army. Many of the players were not enrolled in armies at all. The experiences of tribal resistance groups fighting the Japanese and of ordinary civilians struggling to survive under Japanese occupation all contributed to shaping the political climate of postwar Asia. In another sense, the subtitle understates the true value of this book, which is not merely the story of British failure but of the wartime activities of King Georges myriad Asian subjects.
Skillfully using a vast range of primary sources and demonstrating encyclopedic knowledge of an entire subcontinent, Cambridge University historians Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper depict the shallow roots of Britains pre-war hegemony in the region and the convoluted positions of indigenous independence movements complicated by differences in ethnicity, religion, social class, and ideology. The road to independence could lie though Chinese communism, Japanese fascism, Gandhis Quit India movementwhich threatened to deprive Britain of the wartime resources of Indiaor even British paternalism, and such ideological choices were rendered more fraught by the realities of the Japanese occupation. To some, the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere promised liberation from colonial oppression; for most inhabitants of the region, however, occupation brought sufferings which deserve their own place in the catalogue of World War IIs horrors. While native Indians, Burmese, and Malayans were living and dying with the consequences of their choices, Britain mismanaged affairs in India with the consequences that three million Indians died in the Bengal famine of 1943. Churchill had no sympathy for India, treating the deaths as condign punishment for the Quit India movements role in hampering his war effort.
Forgotten Armies appears at a good time and should be of interest to a wide range of readers. Sixty years after the end of World War II, the issues arising during the conflicted processes of Indian, Malayan, Burmese, and Indonesian decolonization continue to shape their domestic political struggles and their international relations, and Bayly and Harper have provided an essential primer for understanding the roots of contemporary Asian affairs. Moreover, the events they describe resonate beyond the Southeast Asian subcontinent. Occupation and insurgency are timely topics. The range of British and Japanese policies throughout Southeast Asia illustrate several models of failed foreign occupation. Those eager today to free foreign peoples from domestic tyranny could learn from both Japanese and British actions how easily liberators can wear out their welcome, especially when the behavior of the liberators contrasts with the ideology they espouse. Other relevant topics are the often inept British efforts to support indigenous insurgencies against the Japanese and the internecine quarrels within those insurgencies themselves.
Forgotten Armies covers a great range of material, its readability and anecdotal style compensating for daunting thickness and density of detail. One is grateful, moreover, that the book begins with useful maps and an even more useful list of key characters, whose numbers would otherwise frustrate the nonspecialist. On the downside, this reader was sometimes lost as the string of anecdotes in a given paragraph moved further from its central theme. On the whole, however, this is a wonderful book which tells the story of the war in Southern Asia both in its own right and as a step toward the construction of the geopolitics of the world today.
The Generals: Andrew Jackson, Sir Edward Pakenham, and the Road to the Battle of New Orleans. By Benton Rain Patterson. New York: New York University Press, 2005. 289 pages. $32.95. Reviewed by Major Jason R. Musteen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Military History, US Military Academy.
The Battle of New Orleans is often presented as an isolated event, coming as it did after the official conclusion of the War of 1812a war that highlighted many problems with the US Army and with Americas sacred militia tradition. To many, the tremendously lopsided victory served to validate the national abhorrence of a large regular army, setting aside many of the lessons of the previous two and a half years. In fact, Andrew Jacksons victory was largely attributable to his devastating artillery, manned more by the regular army and the US Navy than by his backwoods militias.
Benton Rain Pattersons history of the events leading to the battle attempts to put New Orleans back in the context of the global Napoleonic Wars by detailing the precipitating events of the War of 1812. Patterson also intends to simultaneously trace the distinct paths of the two commanders destined to meet at New Orleans in January 1815. On the whole, he succeeds in providing context for the battle and in presenting a general understanding of Andrew Jackson prior to 1815. He also establishes a strong contrast between the early backgrounds of the opposing generals. However, his portrayal of Sir Edward Pakenham falls far short of satisfying, and Patterson occasionally casts his net too wide in his efforts to place the battle in context.
The Generals is most successful in its treatment of Jackson. In Jacksons youth during the American Revolution and in his young adult life on the Tennessee frontier, Patterson identifies many of the qualities that led to victory at New Orleans. Although Jackson was no stranger to adversity, he consistently found success in life. Yet, much of the literature on the battle follows the single track of Andrew Jacksons life to the New Orleans battlefield; what makes Pattersons work different is the explicit effort to unite Jackson, Pakenham, and the worldwide events that orchestrated their climactic meeting in 1815.
Patterson wrote The Generals in part to reveal more about Sir Edward Pakenham, commander of British forces at New Orleans. Concerning earlier histories of the battle, Patterson laments that not only were there great gaps in the story of [Pakenhams] career, but, worse, little was known about him as a person. Unfortunately, those reading The Generals will likely conclude the same thing. Although there are awkwardly placed chapters carefully detailing the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, examining the Duke of Wellington, and recounting the founding of the town of New Orleans, Pakenham remains something of a mystery and is often lost in the disjointed narrative. After a few paragraphs concerning Pakenhams service in the West Indies, we learn that Sir Edward joined Wellington, his brother-in-law, in the Iberian Peninsula in 1809, but Patterson neglects to reveal when or why Pakenham earned his knighthood, an event that actually occurred four years later.
Patterson deserves credit for his discussions of the Napoleonic Wars as the context within which the War of 1812 was waged. However, his chapters on Napoleon and Wellington, in addition to interrupting the chronologies of Jackson and
Pakenham, also leave the reader short in some areas, provide more detail than necessary in others, and include several factual errors. One of the major causes of the War of 1812 was the economic war between France and Great Britain that resulted in both sides impounding American ships and cargos. Patterson presents the escalation of policies between the two powers well, but never mentions the Continental System, the name by which Napoleons economic war is known. He also misidentifies the Duke of York as the brother of King George III rather than his son, fails to establish York as the commander in chief of the British Army, and perpetuates the myth that the future Duke of Wellington was forced to sign the unpopular Convention of Cintra. Napoleons highly competent subordinate, Marshal André Masséna, is incorrectly identified as Andrea, and Marshal Nicolas Soult, the Duke of Dalmatia, is called the Duke de Soult. Each error is minor by itself, but included in chapters that are themselves largely unnecessary, they become cumulatively distracting to those familiar with the Napoleonic Wars.
Although The Generals will likely not provide a great deal of insight for Americas senior leaders, the War of 1812 and Andrew Jacksons place in American history are welcome topics of study for todays soldier. The contrast between the orphaned son of immigrants and the privileged child of British nobility and their intertwining destinies is an important story that in many ways is representative of young America. On one hand, the seemingly foolish belief that victory was possible in the Revolution, the Quasi-War with France, the Tripolitan War, and the War of 1812 reveals the rash impetuousness of America, but on the other hand, it also points to an inherent sense of justice and optimism. Pattersons The Generals reminds us that, despite the odds, spirit and resolute leadership are often critical keys to success.
First In: An Insiders Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan. By Gary C. Schroen. New York: Presidio Press, 2005. 379 pages. $25.95. Reviewed by Dr. Amer Latif, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Eurasian Affairs.
After the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, there was serious concern within the policymaking community about how to decisively strike at the Talibans key centers of gravity. Although the Taliban controlled most of Afghanistan, its lack of structure, elusive leadership, and an apparent lack of critical physical infrastructure made it difficult to pinpoint the best way to defeat such an amorphous organization. Enter a small team of CIA operatives led by Gary Schroen, conducting a CIA operation called Jawbreaker. Schroen was a decorated veteran CIA operative in the Directorate of Operations with over 30 years of experience focusing on the Middle East and South Asia. At the time of 9/11, Schroen was in the midst of his retirement process when he was assigned to lead the Jawbreaker operation into northern Afghanistan to engage the Northern Alliance forces and set the stage for the defeat of the Taliban.
Picking up where Steve Colls Ghost Wars left off on 10 September, the author gives an almost day-by-day account of his experiences beginning the day after 9/11. After a succinct history on the CIAs (and his own) involvement in Afghanistan, Schroen moves into his narrative. The chapters are short and the book moves
briskly, as the author writes in clear, crisp, matter-of-fact sentences that require no embellishment.
Schroen describes the initial planning for the operation at CIA headquarters as the team is assembled, requirements are identified, and Schroen receives his final instructions from Cofer Black, then the director of the Counterterrorist Center. It was at this meeting that the Jawbreaker team was reportedly given instructions to kill bin Ladin and his key lieutenants.
The author also describes the personal side of his preparations as he outlines the various personal tasks to be completed before his departure: updating of wills, farewell letters, and last good-byes. Although Schroen does not go into great detail about his emotions during this period, the reader obtains some insight into the personal challenges of life as a CIA operative.
Upon the Jawbreaker teams arrival in northern Afghanistan, one of the first orders of business was getting the cooperation of the various Northern Alliance commanders. Here we are introduced to the major personalities of the Northern Alliance, including Mohammad Fahim Khan, Ismail Khan, Abdul Rashid Dostum, and Ostad Atta.
This was a precarious time for the Northern Alliance because their charismatic leader, Ahmad Shah Masood, had been assassinated on 9 September. There was serious concern within the CIA, as well as in the US policy community, that the Northern Alliance would fragment now that Masood was gone. Seventeen days had elapsed between Masoods assassination and the arrival of the Jawbreaker team in the Panjshir Valley. It was enough time for a power struggle to begin, but perhaps not enough time for it to decisively conclude. Although General Fahim Khan was apparently in charge, it was unclear at the time whether other intrigues were under way that might undermine Northern Alliance unity. It was for these reasons that Jawbreaker had to quickly secure the Northern Alliances allegiance to the US effort. Schroen describes his work to gain this allegiance through a combination of financial inducements and delicate diplomacy among the various warlords. Despite a number of anxious moments and doubts, Schroen and his team were able to gain the trust of the Northern Alliance and keep the coalition together through the fall of Kabul in early November 2001.
Interagency disagreement also hampered Jawbreakers effectiveness early in the operation. As Schroen and his colleagues tried to assure the Northern Alliance of the US commitment, mixed signals from Washington sowed doubts in the minds of its leaders. This doubt was reinforced during the early conduct of the bombing campaign, as US strikes were concentrated on targets in southern Afghanistan rather than along the front lines with the Northern Alliance. The CIA team pleaded for more airstrikes in the north, even after the insertion of Special Forces teams in northern Afghanistan who were assigned the task of laser designation of Taliban targets.
Much of this initial hesitation was due to concern within the US government about allowing the Northern Alliance forces to prematurely arrive in Kabul. US policymakers feared that a Northern Alliance takeover of Kabul would lead to retribution and widespread bloodshed against Pushtuns within the city. Despite the assurances of Fahim and other commanders that no reprisals would happen, US bombing did not shift its focus until early November. There was also concern about
antagonizing the Pakistanis who would be concerned about non-Pushtun forces taking over Kabul.
An interesting aspect of this operation was the cooperation between the CIA and US military Special Forces. Although the author discusses some bumpy aspects of the initial relationship, the book does not discuss any major challenges (if there were any) to combined operations between these two organizations. Schroens perspectives on this topic would have been quite useful as the US military and the intelligence community wrestle with the lines of authority between both activities.
The book concludes with an afterword discussing the authors multiple visits to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. He points out that despite numerous difficulties, there are hopeful signs for the state reconstruction process in Afghanistan. Here the author is on shaky ground as he comments on Afghanistans democracy experiment. Despite his plethora of knowledge about Afghanistan, Schroens lack of experience in international development is evident, as his examples of progress are too general to persuade the reader that Afghanistan is headed in the right direction. A more in-depth discussion on the authors assertions that the diversion of intelligence resources from Afghanistan to Iraq has hindered the hunt for Osama bin Ladin in the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan would have been more interesting. Despite these minor flaws, however, First In adds a riveting account to the already rich martial history of Afghanistan and is destined to become a classic tale of CIA exploits in the war on terror.
Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for Americas Independence. By Carol Berkin. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. 224 pages. $24.00 ($13.95 paper). Reviewed by Major Jason N. Palmer, Instructor of Military History, US Military Academy.
In General Orders, 28 June 1776, General George Washington lamented the unhappy Fate of Thomas Hickey, executed this day for Mutiny, Sedition, and Treachery. It was lewd Women, Washington claimed, who . . . first led him into practices which ended in an untimely and ignominious Death. Washingtons rebuke of the ladies who plied their trade in New York Citys red light district, mischievously named the holy ground for its proximity to St. Pauls cathedral, neatly captures one stereotype of womens association with war. After Trenton, Washington admonished his troops to show humanity and tenderness to women and children. Such behavior toward wars victims would distinguish brave Americans . . . from infamous mercenary ravagers. General Nathanael Greene depicted yet a third stereotype of women as helpless innocents when he requested his brothers assistance with Katy, Greenes headstrong young wife, during Greenes absence. She is without Father, without Brother, with[out] Husband to apply to for assistance, Greene wrote; Counsel her in all matters that respect her Interest or Reputation. Eighteenth-century wisdom held that women were sinners, victims, or naïve innocents when it came to war.
Carol Berkin goes beyond the whore, victim, and madonna archetypes in Revolutionary Mothers to broaden our understanding of the roles women played in the War for Independence. The general audience, for whom the American Revolu-
tion is unfamiliar territory, will gain much from this book. Similarly, those who have not previously considered the effects of war on the home front will find much to ponder in several of the chapters. The book, however, has its flaws.
Berkin does too much with too little. Her arguments are so concise that they often lack sufficient weight of evidence. Disparate as they are, her anecdotes rarely make the pointwomen played an active role beyond the home front in the Revolutionthat she seeks to prove. Unfortunately, her stories reinforce the image she strives to overturn, the exceptional nature of womens heroism in this era.
In ten concise chapters Berkin explores a war that continually blurred the lines between battlefield and home front . . . through the eyes of the women who found themselves, willingly and unwillingly, at the center of a long and violent conflict. She begins by introducing her readers to 18th-century American gender roles. Chief among a womans truths, Berkin notes of this era, was that God created her to be a helpmate to man. Women often assumed male duties, managing the family assets and operating the family farm or shop while their husbands were away, but this temporary alteration did not change womens subordinate role in a hierarchical society. The War for Independence, however, stretched to its limits this notion of woman as helpmate and surrogate husband. Revolutionary Mothers probes the several ways that womens roles temporarily expanded during the Revolution and how afterwards, like an overstretched rubber band, things did not fully contract back to the status quo ante bellum.
The expansion of womens roles did not take them, at least at first, beyond familiar territory. Colonial women were not considered political actors, but when the American boycott of British goods made shopping in the early 1770s a political act, women became crucial participants in the first organized opposition to British policy. Domestic duties became political weapons.
The Revolution was a bloody civil war, fought as much on the home front as on the battlefield. Berkin highlights the families torn apart by political choices . . . the screams of women raped by soldiers, [and] the weariness of a war-torn country. The author paints vivid pictures of the choices that widows and wives of soldiers gone to war (Patriot or Loyalist) faced amidst cruelty, bloodshed, and oppression when lawless power ranged at large. She brings to life the wretched image of the camp follower, and she explains the difficulties women experienced when Patriot mobs drove Loyalists from their homesacross not simply a physical wilderness but a social oneand into exile.
Where the Revolution expanded the role of white women, it had a different effect on black slave and Native American women. Berkin addresses these two cases in separate chapters to avoid treating them as detours or deviations and to ensure their perceptions of events are not portrayed as a misunderstanding. This intellectually honest approach highlights cultural differences in gender roles. The authority and autonomy that women enjoyed in their Indian societies, Berkin notes, stood in stark contrast to the accepted subordination and economic dependency of colonial farmwives or urban mothers. Doubly damned by their race and their gender, black women could rarely take advantage of the opportunities for freedom that British commanders offered to slaves who would fight for His Majesty.
Berkins chapter on Spies, Saboteurs, Couriers and Other Heroines illuminates the books greatest strength, and its biggest weakness. Drawing on multiple accounts, Berkin reveals how women played on gender expectations to deceive the enemy, how they demonstrated the steely determination of mothers, sisters, and daughters protecting their families, and how women became veterans of the struggle. Although persuasive, there just isnt enough evidence presented to convince.
A mile wide but an inch deep, Revolutionary Mothers is largely a synopsis of other historians work. For those with a firmer grasp of the American Revolutionary Era, there are other more appropriate, albeit lengthier books. Among them are Mary Beth Norton, Libertys Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750-1800; Linda Kerber, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America; and Laurel Ulrich, The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth.
Chinas New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy. By Peter Hays Gries. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. 215 pages. $40.00 ($19.95 paper). Reviewed by Dr. Andrew Scobell, Associate Research Professor, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College.
Nationalism as a potent force in international affairs is very much alive and well in the 21st century. In countries around the world, nationalism possesses a vigor that politicians, diplomats, and soldiers ignore at their own peril. Perhaps nowhere is the topic of nationalism hotter than where China is concerned. China is the worlds most populous country, with a burgeoning economy and large military in the throes of modernization, not to mention the one state many peg as the next superpower, so Chinas disposition vis-à-vis the United States and the rest of the world is of enormous interest.
In the case of 21st-century China, nationalism is perhaps the dynamic most difficult for Americans and others to gauge or comprehend. This is despite a veritable cottage industry that has sprung up in seeking to identify, describe, and analyze this force and determine whether it is benign or malignant. Some Sinologists argue that China possesses a confident, stable kind of nationalism that is not something to be feared, while others contend it is a more insecure, worrisome, and volatile nationalism. Chinas New Nationalism, written by a member of the younger generation of China scholars, tends to fall into the latter category. Nevertheless, Peter Gries wisely argues for a more nuanced understanding of Chinese nationalism: the author contends that this nationalism is not simply a product of Chinese elite politics, nor merely of domestic political forces, nor can it be classified as either rational or irrational.
So what, according to Gries, is the nature of Chinese nationalism, and what role does it play in Chinese foreign policy? Contrary to some analysts who contend that nationalism is an idea that is manipulated by Chinas leaders, Gries argues that is it an autonomous societal force with which Beijing elites must wrestle. The author argues that Chinas national identity evolves in a dynamic dialectic fashion, interacting with Chinese views of other countries and other countries views of China as well as the historical memory of Chinese nationalists. The two countries that seem to matter
most in this evolving dialectic are the United States and Japan. Nationalism involves the Chinese people and their passions, and Washington and Tokyo seem to evoke their most forceful passions.
Gries fresh look at the subject provides some interesting and important insights: first he argues that face is not uniquely Oriental. All countries desire to be treated with respect. Indeed, Gries insists face is a cultural universal. In this context, words and diplomatic niceties matter a lot. While no country likes to be dissed, China, in particular, appears to be hypersensitive to perceived criticism from abroad. Some analysts have argued in recent years that China has gotten past its so-called Century of Humiliation and an ingrained victim mentality. But Gries doesnt think so. He identifies a new victim narrative that is fueled by incidents such as the accidental bombing of Chinas embassy in Belgrade in 1999 and the collision between a Chinese military jet fighter and a US naval surveillance airplane near Hainan Island two years later. The perception of many Chinese is that their country is being victimized by the global bully and these incidents are reminders that China remains weak and incapable of standing up to the awesome power of the United States. Moreover, Gries suggests these incidents and how the United States is seen as treating Beijing feed right back into Chinas evolving national identity. Gries also provides fascinating analyses of incidents in Sino-Japanese relations and how these affect Chinese nationalism. The abysmal state of ties between Beijing and Tokyo makes this discussion particularly fascinating. Gries asserts, Today, many Chinese nationalists are primed to view American or Japanese actions as aggressive. Of particular interest are the convincing explanations the author provides of how China has responded to Japanese apologies for war crimes (similar trenchant analysis is directed at interpreting American apologies for the Belgrade bombing and Hainan Island incident). How many apologies does it take to satisfy ardent Chinese nationalists? Read this book to find out.
Another key insight of Chinas New Nationalism is that the words and tone of voice that US officials use to talk about China and in their interactions with Chinese officials are noticed and monitored closely. In short: words matter. Gries argues that Chinese nationalists have what he calls a Kissinger Complex that disposes them to praise high status foreigners who, like Kissinger, trumpet Chinas rise while downplaying its flaws. Such praise gives Chinese nationalists face. This insight does not mean that US officials need be effusive with public praise for China or be fearful of using the wrong word in dialogues with their Chinese counterparts. Rather, it suggests that senior members of the Bush Administration and subsequent administrations would be well-advised to compile a lexicon of terms and phrases to be invoked or omitted by US government officials in their dealings with China.
Night Draws Near: Iraqs People in the Shadow of Americas War. By Anthony Shadid. New York: Henry Holt, 2005. 424 pages. $26.00. Reviewed by Dr. W. Andrew Terrill, Research Professor of National Security Studies, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College.
Night Draws Near is an important, detailed, and disturbing study of Americas involvement in Iraq, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony
Shadid. Shadid is a Lebanese-American journalist who speaks Arabic and has spent a great deal of time in Iraq and the wider Middle East. He speaks with the perspective of a true Middle East expert who has stayed in Iraq for extended periods, rather than as globetrotting reporter who has dropped in for a short visit. Shadids background places him in a credible position to analyze the clash of cultures and worldviews between Iraqi citizens and US troops, which is a central theme of his book. His chance of tapping into mainstream Iraqi public opinion is dramatically increased by his ability to work without a translator and his own Arab heritage, although the book remains unavoidably anecdotal.
The Iraqis portrayed in this study have long historical memories recalling the conquest of Mesopotamia by Mongols, Ottomans, Persians, and, in the early 20th century, the British. Military conquests by outside powers seldom led to good results for these people. One Iraqi tells Shadid that when British General Sir Stanley Maude seized Baghdad in 1917, he told the population, We come as liberators, not as conquerors. This promise is widely remembered with scorn in Iraq, where the United Kingdom remained and dominated Iraqi policy for decades. Nor has it escaped Iraqi notice that US leaders have used the same suspect language. Throughout the study, the United States is portrayed as having entered Iraq on probation with the population, needing to prove that it was there for reasons other than lashing out after 9/11 or helping to secure cheap access to oil.
Virtually no one interviewed by Shadid seemed to think much of Saddam Hussein, and many Iraqis hate him. Others hold Saddam in contempt for personally surrendering to US troops without firing a shot. Saddam is seen as compromising the dignity of the nation with such craven behavior. His sons, surprisingly, were viewed with a little more charity by at least some Iraqis for fighting to their death against US forces supported by attack helicopters. One of Shadids young Iraqi friends calls them martyrs, whereby another young Iraqi quickly and strongly contradicts her. Some Iraqi citizens are also portrayed as both opposing Saddam while still refusing to support an invasion of Iraq by an outside power. Others were less choosy about the way to rid themselves of the tyrant, but have become more critical of the US military presence with the passage of time.
According to Shadid, many Iraqis remember with great nostalgia the mid-1970s, when Iraq was (mostly) at peace and was experiencing an emerging prosperity. At that time, Saddam had not yet become president, although he was nevertheless the dominant leader in the country. The full price that Iraqis would have to pay for Saddams delusions of grandeur was not then apparent to most, and some Iraqis dared to hope that their country could emerge as a kind of super Gulf state, a large, powerful Arab nation with a standard of living at least approaching that found in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar. The destruction of the Saddam Hussein regime revived some of these hopes for a new era of prosperity among a large number of Iraqis encountered by Shadid. Such expectations made it correspondingly difficult for many average citizens to cope with much of the disappointment that came in the aftermath of Saddams ouster. Massive crime, undependable electricity, and corrupt government officials were problems throughout the country. Uncollected garbage, clogged sewers, and the resulting raw sewage in the streets of the poorer
population centers in Iraq are hardly reminiscent of the lavish lifestyle of the small Gulf Arab states.
American officials in Iraq are portrayed as frustrated and sometimes angry with the Iraqis. Many clearly expected the Iraqis to be more grateful for any kind of government that was not Saddam. Moreover, some of the less charitable Americans are described as annoyed that Iraqis were not showing more initiative and resourcefulness by doing more for themselves. The American promise that the life of the average Iraqi citizen would dramatically improve is viewed by the Iraqis as mostly broken (due to crime, poverty, shortages, corruption, and lack of services), while it is considered largely fulfilled by many Americans (since Saddam and his police state are gone). Shadid also maintains that by eviscerating the economy through sanctions, the United Nations caused Iraqs population to grow even more accustomed to dependence on the government than earlier in Iraq history. This dependency as well as deeply ingrained behavior patterns of remaining passive before the dictatorship limits initiative.
Shadid also deals extensively with what he calls the Shiite Awakening and suggests that religious clerics have displaced secular leaders as the most powerful growing political force within that community. Previously forbidden or regulated Shiite holiday festivals are seen as solace for difficult and uncertain times, with Shiite religious enthusiasm expanding dramatically. The author also provides valuable insights on the activities of Muqtada al-Sadr, who is the most visibly anti-American member of Iraqs politically prominent Shiite clerics. According to Shadid, Muqtada Sadr knows the Iraqi personality quite well, and his calculated shows of defiance reflect the high accord Iraqis provide to acts of courage, which in this case may be stage-managed but nevertheless effective. Sadr has carved out a place as the leading cleric opposed to the US occupation in Iraq by what he terms the army of Satan.
The author also spent considerable time in the Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, interacting with local residents and even speaking to the families and acquaintances of insurgent guerrillas killed in action with US forces. In these interactions, Shadid presents a portrait of insurgents who are motivated by militant Islam and not by loyalties to the old regime. He suggests that there are a number of reasons for this situation. One is that radical young clerics in the Sunni areas were quick to step forward and assume leadership in Sunni cities and villages after the fall of the Saddam regime. Since Sunni Islam is much less hierarchical than Shiite Islam, young radicals did not have to cope with the same barriers to leadership that younger clerics did elsewhere in the country. Another reason he cites is the proliferation of inexpensive CDs and DVDs featuring the sermons of radical clerics throughout the Arab World as well as the statements of Osama bin Laden and his supporters.
Many of Shadids observations are not new, but the points he makes have seldom been made so well and on the basis of so much personal experience. One Iraqi woman asked Shadid why elections matter when thugs had tried to abduct her daughters a few days ago. While a hideous form of oppression may now be removed from Iraq, that country is far from stable, and a great deal of effort will be needed to prevent the country from degenerating into something almost as bad as the reign of
Saddam Hussein. The gloomy title of Shadids bookNight Draws Near: Iraqs People in the Shadow of Americas Warsuggests how difficult the struggle to prevent this may be for everyone involved.
The Boy General: The Life and Careers of Francis Channing Barlow. By Richard F. Welch. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2005. 301 pages. $24.95 (paper). Reviewed by Major Clay Mountcastle, Assistant Professor of Military History, US Military Academy.
It sometimes seems that the stream of works published about unknown Civil War generals who participated in obscure battles will never cease. Each month, new books appear telling uneventful, often romanticized, tales of those who served a short time in the Union or Confederate Army and saw little action. It is therefore both refreshing and encouraging to come across a work devoted to a familiar name who participated in almost every significant campaign in the Eastern Theater during the war. It is even more significant when the persons story has not been previously told. With The Boy General, historian Richard F. Welch provides the (surprisingly) first true biography of Francis Channing Barlow, one of the Union Armys most aggressive, durable, and arrogant field commanders of the Civil War.
For Welch, an adjunct professor of history at C. W. Post College, Long Island University, the book is his first foray into Civil War history, and he handles it admirably. Combined with the edited volume of Barlows writings published in 2004, Welchs study ensures that readers will have plenty of information on Barlow for the foreseeable future.
Francis Channing Barlow, a lawyer by trade, was perhaps best known for his young appearance, which earned him the nickname Boy General. Those familiar with Gettysburg Battlefield National Park probably know Barlow from the small rise on the battlefield named in his honor. Raised in New York and educated at Harvard, Barlow had embarked on a promising career in law when the war began in 1861. Barlow joined the 12th New York Militia as a private, but rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel within a year. During the remainder of the war Barlow participated in several major campaigns, including McClellans campaign on the Virginia Peninsula, Antietam, Gettysburg, and Grants Overland Campaign in 1864. Promoted to Brigadier General following the Battle of Antietam, Barlow served as a division commander in some of the most famous engagements of the war, with perhaps his finest moment coming at Spotsylvania, where he spearheaded the Union attack against the staunch Confederate defense at the muleshoe. Along the way, Barlow survived a number of nearly fatal wounds from combat, only to see his beloved wife, Arabella, succumb to typhus in 1864. Although demoralized by the death of his wife and exhausted from years of fighting, Barlow soldiered on until the wars end, completing a career that began in the Shenandoah in 1861 and ended at Appomattox in 1865. Following the war, Barlow returned to his legal practice in New York. He eventually became the state Attorney General, where he clashed with robber barons and political opponents.
Throughout this book, Welch paints the picture of a pugnacious spirit with a passion for combat. He also stresses Barlows pompous nature and quick temper that combined to add an element of controversy, and detestability, to the generals character. As such, it is hard to determine if the author attempts to offer a positive or a negative portrayal of Barlow. He balances his accolades of battlefield success with some light criticism of Barlows arrogance or his disdain for German and Irish soldiers. In the end, however, Welch avoids offering a definitive view and allows the reader to make his or her own judgment about Barlow.
The books greatest strength lies in Welchs ability to remain focused on the key people, places, and events that shaped Barlows life without meandering off into the kind of insignificant side stories that plague so many Civil War biographies. Indeed, with a military and political career as busy as Barlows, Welch had little space for meandering. To his credit, Welch also keeps the romantic and florid prose to a minimum, which strengthens the readers confidence in the honesty of his assessment. There is no doubt that Welch achieves his goal of introducing one of the Civil Wars most experienced and involved officers to the historical community.
One wonders, however, if Welch is too complimentary of Barlows performance as a commander. If nothing else, he avoids real tactical analysis of Barlows questionable performances that sometimes resulted in failure, focusing instead strictly on evidence of Barlows bravery under fire. Bravery and aggressiveness, however, do not automatically translate to competence in battle. For instance, at both Seven Pines and Gettysburg, the Barlow aggressiveness (some might say recklessness) resulted in his placing his troops in vulnerable positions. At Gettysburg, this was crucial, as Barlows line quickly disintegrated under attack from Jubal Earlys Confederates. Also troubling is the amount of praise Welch gives to Barlows performance at Antietam, where he credits the young leader with single-handedly breaking the Confederate defense at the Sunken Road. In doing so, he cites Stephen Sears Landscape Turned Red as support for his claim, but an examination of Sears book reveals that a number of Union officerssuch as Major General Dick Richardson of the First Division, Second Corps, and Colonel Joseph Barnes of the 29th Massachusettswere credited with breaking the stalemate at Bloody Lane. This tendency to embellish Barlows tactical successes and understate his failures brings the authors assessment of his combat leadership into question. As a result, Welchs claim that Barlow was one of the most formidable combat leaders of the war goes unsubstantiated. It is interesting, and perhaps unfortunate, that Welch provides relatively short shrift to Barlows postwar pursuits as a legal and political figure. Clearly, Welchs predominant focus on Barlows wartime experiences is appropriate, but his later struggles in New Yorks political arena with the likes of the Republican Party and future Secretary of War Elihu Root make captivating reading and offer another realm of significance for Barlow.
Welch does not draw heavily on primary materials for his study, and the bibliography is thin overall. That which he does use, however, is used effectively, and his quotations are placed efficiently. Because Welch purposefully limits the background information of Civil War history, readers looking for detailed insights on Union strategy, operations, or tactics will need to look elsewhere. As a case study
in Union officership, however, The Boy General makes a valuable contribution to the historiography. It is an effective counterargument to the popular claim that all Union officers in the Eastern Theater were sheepishly committed to failure. If nothing else, Welch proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Francis Channing Barlow was committed to fightingand winning.
After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castros Regime and Cubas Next Leader. By Brian Latell. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 288 pages. $24.95. Reviewed by Louis J. Nigro, Jr., Senior Foreign Service Officer in the US Department of State and Professor of International Relations in the Department of National Security Studies, US Army War College.
When ordinary Cubans talk about their countrys future, they often start out by saying not When he dies . . . , but If he dies . . . . There is no shortage of biographies and biographical studies of Fidel Castro, ranging from the hagiographical to the vituperative. Brian Latells After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castros Regime and Cubas Next Leader is not just another entry in this genre. Latells study stands out for two reasons: It is the first to view Fidels life in close counterpoint to that of his chief collaborator, supporter, and disciple, his younger brother Raúl, and its author knows as much about Cuba as anyone not a member of the closed coterie of Castro cronies who form the apex of the regimes nomenklatura. Latell analyzed Cuban affairs for the Central Intelligence Agency for more than 30 years and was National Intelligence Officer for Latin America from 1990 to 1994.
The Cuban regimes official plan for the post-Fidel future is simple: Raúl succeeds to his brothers positions of power and the regime continues on the same political path as before. Latell agrees that this will happen, at least initially and as long as Fidel predeceases Raúl. But Latell poses the question of which Raúl will succeed to that power. For Latell theorizes that there are in fact two Raúl Castros. One has murdered in cold blood at his brothers orders, not only clear enemies, but also Raúls close associate and friend, General Arnaldo Ochoa. The other is proud of his roots, stayed close to his parents in Banes, and plays the role of paterfamilias to the extended Castro clan, all things Fidel eschews. Where Fidel is cerebral, idealistic, charismatic, solipsistic, and obsessed with international affairs, Raúl is emotional, pragmatic, organizational, collegial, and interested in making Cuba work.
One of the perennial questions about Fidel Castro is that of his Marxist-Leninist credentialswhen did he become a communist? Latells reading of Fidels life convinces him that the chief motivation for Fidels entire political program is anti-Americanism, not Marxism-Leninism. Fidels political career has been an attempt to fulfill the promise he made in June 1958 in a letter to his secretary: Ive sworn that the Americans are going to pay dearly for what they are doing. When this war is over, a much wider and bigger war will begin for me, the war I am going to wage against them. I realize that that is going to be my true destiny. His ideological orientationhe started his political career on the right and moved steadily leftwardhas mattered far less than his anti-American obsession.
More important than concealing whatever interest he had in Marxism-Leninism was Fidels strategic decision to conceal his anti-Americanism after Batistas 1952 coup opened up the Cuban political arena to the kind of direct action he preferred to democratic politicking. Needing both support from Cubas middle classes and tolerance from the United States, he stopped criticizing the United States, distanced himself from communists and radicals, reached out to broader anti-Batista forces, and muted his rhetoric on internationalism to avoid US displeasure. In fact, Latell theorizes that it was Fidel who pushed Raúl into the Marxist-Leninist camp in order to maintain contact with Cuban communists and other radicals while he followed his policy of dissimulation. Raúl blossomed as a Marxist-Leninist and member of the communist movement, the first time he was successful in anything, and it was he and Ernesto (Che) Guevara who pressured a cautious Fidel into quickening consolidation of dictatorial rule, aligning Cuba with the USSR, and breaking with the United States.
Latell shows how Fidel Castros consolidation of power after the fall of Batista pursued a triple agendaconfrontation with the United States, international intervention to spark revolutions elsewhere, and social upheaval to transform Cuban society. Latell describes how Fidels decision to align with the Soviet bloc served his strategic, personal, and political ends. Strategically, he needed Soviet protection from American retaliation; personally, he needed to exercise absolute power for the rest of his life; politically, he needed the skills of Cuban Communist Party veterans to transform Cuban society.
The author is realistic regarding the possibility of rapprochement between the United States and Cuba as long as Fidel Castro draws breath. His review of the many attempts by Washington to find a way to ease tensions and improve relations under Presidents from Eisenhower to Clinton shows that the attempts were frustrated by Castros commitment to internationalize his revolution and the anti-American policies that commitment entailed. The elder Castros fidelity to the principle of la primacía de la política exterior (the primacy of foreign policy) may not be shared, however, by his younger brother and heir.
Latell predicts that in order to preserve the regime, Raúl will break with his brothers political legacy to seek a rapprochement with the United States, offering better relations and stability in return for the end of economic sanctions. Latell believes that Raúl understands just how bad Cubas economic, social, and demographic situation is. The Cuban military is the countrys only coherent and functional institution, and a key element in Raúls strategy will be to reach out to the US military. Latell thinks that this process has already begun, citing the technical consultations between US and Cuban military commanders across the Guantánamo fenceline, Havanas cordial hosting of retired senior US officers, and a recent book called The Secrets of the Generals, which portrays Cubas military chiefs as nonpolitical and free of Fidels signature anti-Americanism. Domestically, Raúl will choose the Chinese option, retaining power by liberalizing the economy to give Cubans more economic freedom and prosperity while maintaining tight political control. Latell notes that the speed of this liberalization must be carefully calibrated to function effectively as a safety valve but not provoke an explosion of some kind of people power.
Latells elegantly argued and well-informed study is necessary, but not sufficient, for a full understanding of Fidel Castros life and political trajectory as well as the likely course Cuba will take after his demise. Rich as it is in insight and analysis, it cannot stand alone. It should be supplemented by biographies like those by Robert Quirk and Tad Szulc and by solid studies of Cubas post-Fidel future like Mark Falcoffs Cuba: The Morning AfterConfronting the Castro Legacy and Edward Gonzales and Kevin F. McCarthys Cuba After Castro: Legacies, Challenges and Impediments. Brian Latells book, however, is an excellent place to start reading about Cuba in the future tense.
Utah Beach: The Amphibious Landing and Airborne Operations on D-Day, June 6, 1944. By Joseph Balkoski. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2005. 380 pages. $26.95. Reviewed by Colonel James R. Oman, Chairman, Department of Command, Leadership, and Management, US Army War College.
Joseph Balkoski has produced a superb book that examines another aspect of Operation Overlordthat of Utah Beachviewed through the lens of both the seaborne and airborne components that were inextricably interwoven. Balkoski is a well-known World War II historian and author who is currently the Command Historian for the Maryland National Guard. His previous works and unparalleled research give him a depth of knowledge and an understanding of the invasion that is rarely found. These credentials make Balkoski uniquely qualified to author this highly acclaimed work. This, his third book, follows quickly on the heels of his other recent releasesOmaha Beach (Stackpole, 2004) and the third edition of Beyond the Beachhead (Stackpole, 2005).
Many articles and books have been written to date that ostensibly investigate nearly every aspect of the Normandy invasion. A quick Google search on the Internet for Omaha Beach and Utah Beach generates a listing of about 970,000 and 259,000 entries, respectively. Although unscientific and frequently changing, such numbers illustrate both the magnitude of information available and what also seems to be an Omaha Beach bias that the author points out in his book. From a cultural and American perspective, attention continues to focus on the more famous other US invasion beachOmahathan on the lesser known Utah. Balkoski cites several reasons for Omaha Beach receiving the lions share of the historical interest and conversely the historical neglect of the events surrounding Utah Beach: the monumental scope and complexity of the operation; the stiff resistance and the horrific casualties that occurred in such a short amount of timenearly causing subsequent landings to be diverted to other beaches; and last, but certainly not least, the Omaha and shadow of catastrophe . . . the landing on Utah had gone more smoothly than rehearsal comments penned by the senior US ground commander, General Omar Bradley, in his 1951 autobiography.
Balkoski systematically examines each of these themes and rebuts each in turn. He provides a convincing, thoughtfully crafted narrative buttressed by facts
and statistics that unequivocally recasts how one views both Utah Beach and the associated airborne operations. Throughout the book, the author does much to portray the magnitude of the operations on Utah and the surrounding drop and landing zones, capturing the many sacrifices that were made and dispelling the many misconceptions associated with Utah Beach.
Tackling the issues of scope and complexity early in the book, the author describes the strategic setting in early 1944. His overview of the D-Day plans and General Bernard Montgomerys role in the expansion of the operation into the Cotentin Peninsula is a masterful description and provides the beginning of the story. Montgomerys expansion proposal included both Utah Beach and the drop and landing zones that would be needed to support the US 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions. Viewing the expansion into the Cotentin Peninsula in its totality rather than as a separate component leaves no doubt as to the dramatically increased level of complexity and scope that was certainly on a par with, if not greater than, that of Omaha Beach. Balkoski further develops the picture of the enormity of the Cotentin Peninsula operation by including chapters and anecdotes examining the roles played by the US Navy and the Army Air Force. Each of those services was instrumental in providing both transport and suppressive fires.
The authors viewing of the D-Day operation through the lens of the Cotentin Peninsula campaign and in comparison to Omaha Beach refutes the oftquoted comment by General Bradley that Utah Beach was a piece of cake. As the author points out, When one views the joint seaborne and airborne invasion of the Cotentin Peninsula on June 6, 1944, in its entirety and sums up the losses noted by after-action reports of the participating units, a total of about 3,450 American soldiers, sailors, and airmen became casualties during that invasions execution. When compared to the estimated 4,700 casualties that occurred on D-Day at Omaha Beach, it becomes readily apparent that Utah Beach and the surrounding area on the Cotentin Peninsula were certainly not as cost-free as is often portrayed.
Several features make this book exceptional and separate it from the many other works that are available on D-Day. First is Balkoskis methodology, which significantly increases the accuracy of the book. Unlike other authors, Balkoski relies heavily on original sources such as unit narratives, after-action reports, personal accounts, and unit histories generated by participants and US Army historians shortly after the invasionin many cases only days afterward. By interweaving such details with inspiring prose, the author has penned a hard-hitting, factually accurate portrayal of events as they occurred rather than as they are remembered.
The second feature that attests to the quality of the book is the detailed appendices and notes. The nine appendices and note sections provide an added richness for the informed reader.
Finally, the book provides additional depth with its extremely detailed maps and high-quality black and white photographs. The placement of the maps and photographs adds visual enhancement to the text and contributes significantly to the readers overall understanding.
Joseph Balkoskis insightful, skillful, and in-depth examination of the operations and activities that occurred on both Omaha and Utah beaches along with the
role played by the 29th Infantry Division at Normandy has significantly increased the body of knowledge and understanding associated with these events. With two of the five landing beaches thus chronicled, this reviewer is hopeful that Utah Beach: The Amphibious Landing and Airborne Operations on D-Day, June 6, 1944 represents only the continuation of the authors study of the D-Day operations.
Blood in the Argonne: The Lost Battalion of World War I. By Alan D. Gaff. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005. 384 pages. $32.95. Reviewed by Dr. Douglas V. Johnson II (LTC, USA Ret.), Research Professor, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College.
This reviewer had the pleasure of previously reviewing this book in draft and was immediately intrigued by the breadth and depth of research into the personal stories that form its essence. At that time I wrote, It is a rare author who can tell a story of blood, savagery, and death without becoming engrossed in the gore, or who is quickly repelled by it all and becomes distant. I rather doubt many will be able to read this without being themselves worn and numbed. The transition from that murderous time of isolation to an undramatic rescue is so deftly done that the reader too will find him/herself on the other side of it all almost before noticing. That is one of the distinguishing marks of this workits lack of heroics and hollywoodisms. Instead, it is told as I suspect [Charles] Whittlesey [commander of the 308th Infantry Battalionthe Lost Battalion] himself might have told it, save for his own rolein a matter-of-fact detailing of what was important and who did what, if all too often of how they died.
With the published work now in hand, I can reaffirm my opinion and add a strong approval of the ancillary aspects of an excellent collection of photographs, sketches, and the marvelous interweaving of World War I American soldiers war poetry, some of which, though well-enough known, has for reasons of propriety seldom been seen in print. One or two pertinent sources evidently were not examined, including the 77th Division Summary of Operations in the World War and a 1987 draft study by the Center of Military History, Fighting Encircled: A Study in U.S. Army Leadership. While the former is an authoritative but rather sterile document, the latter might have provided some comparative insights that could be useful to todays leaders. However, these are minor detractors.
The story that surrounds this tale is told equally well, if in a not particularly sympathetic vein. The fact that General Alexander is portrayed as a very hard, driving man is probably accurate, but that is what General Pershing required of his division commanders. Given todays focus on coordinated, even interdependent actions, the predominance of continuous infantry frontal assaults can only be seen as appalling, but at this point the reader needs to take a deep breath and examine the range of possibilities. It is a given that artillery support for much of the Meuse-Argonne campaign was inadequate, and in this particular fight the inability to locate friend or foe, much less the ability to observe the effects of artillery, and the inability to communicate between those firing the guns and the infantry simply made a bad situation worse. The inability
of the flank units to achieve their missions, including French to the north and Americans to the south, not only led to the initial isolation, but crippled relief efforts. Here, this reviewer must add that although the German performance throughout the battle is not the subject of analysis, it is evident they performed with remarkable effectiveness. What really bothered this reader was the lack of any action by the division commander to do anything more imaginative than demand continuous forward progress. At least some of Alexanders subordinate generals went forward enough to fully understand what truth looked like.
Gaff describes the relief of the Lost Battalion undramatically and then recounts how the demands of war provided the functioning survivors precious little recovery time. The author then proceeds to describe the postwar treatment of the soldiers and officers with a calm recitation that must somehow resemble Jonathan Edwards delivery of his fabled sermon Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God, a sermon reportedly read without emotion, but having electric impact on his listeners. It is difficult to read the Living Legends chapter of this book without being alternately enraged and driven to deep philosophical reflection. For the soldiers who did not slip into some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), refuge must have been found in a cynical recitation of that classic of all postwar poems, Tommy. Whittlesey managed to fight his inner demons for several years and then, one night after boarding a cruise ship to Havana, stepped overboard to join the dead of the Lost Battalion.
This reviewer has nothing but praise for this work and hopes that it will be received as well as Charles Whittlesey was upon his return to America. For those who have not seen it yet, the made-for-TV special on the Lost Battalion is one of the best of such efforts and tracks nicely with this very good book.
American Admiralship: The Moral Imperatives of Naval Command. By Edgar F. Puryear, Jr. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2005. 605 pages. $36.95. Reviewed by Captain Steven W. Nerheim, USN Ret., former Senior Navy Representative, US Army War College.
American Admiralship is a treasure trove of quotable quotes, but it left me wishing for tighter editing and better fact-checking. This reviewer cant find fault with the authors rationale or his categorization of the requisite skills for successful naval leadership, but we abolished flogging in the US Navy in the 1840s and Edgar Puryear manages to beat several points to death along the way. There also are just enough errors of fact in the book to be off-putting to even an amateur historian. Its difficult to categorize this book, as the style is neither salty enough to be a proper sea-story nor crisp enough to pass for a management primer.
In Book One, Chapter Three, of On War, Carl von Clausewitz defined military genius as the harmonious combination of several elements. These elements included courage, strength, powers of intellect, coup doeil, determination, presence of mind, strength of will, character, and a sense of locality, and Clausewitz covered
this ground in fewer than 14 pages in the edition on my bookshelf. Dr. Puryear also alludes to multiple elements drawn from 40 years of research, personal interviews with over 125 officers of four-star rank, and discussions or correspondence with more than a thousand flag and general officers, and gives us over 600 pages in attempting to define the role of character in successful leadership. Puryears identified virtues for flag officers include putting service before self, desire and strength of character to achieve a position where tough decisions are required, a sixth sense, an aversion to yes-men, the maturity of perception and judgment that accrues from lifelong professional reading, mentorship of juniors, delegation of authority, and a character reflecting the fixing of problems rather than blame. These are clearly virtues appropriate to senior rank.
The author focuses, appropriately enough, on World War II heroes Leahy, King, Nimitz, and Halsey, the postwar Chiefs of Naval Operations (CNO) Arleigh A. Burke, Thomas Moorer, Elmo Zumwalt, James Holloway III, Thomas Hayward, James Watkins, Carlisle A. H. Trost, Frank Kelso, and Jay Johnson, and a select few others who held significant positions and shaped our Navy without becoming CNO. The insights of these distinguished leaders, as distilled from extensive interviews and correspondence, will provide our future naval leaders with a rich vein of leadership lessons. But there are missing stories and unheard voices in this work, and a disappointing absence of critical analysis which might have made these histories more revealing. Admiral Mike Boorda receives but three passing mentions, and Admirals Denfield, Sherman, Fechteler, Carney, and Anderson receive scant coverage. Also marked Absent on Sailing are such potentially instructive cases as Tailhook, the A-12 procurement scandal, and the Naval Academys various management problemsany of which might form the core of a textbook discussion of leadership. It is good to focus on the positive, but there is a limit to what one might learn from it.
Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground. By Robert D. Kaplan. New York: Random House, 2005. 382 pages. $27.95. Reviewed by Lieutenant Colonel Robert M. Cassidy, Battalion Commander, 3d US Army/CFLCC, Special Troops Battalion.
Early in this book, the author writes: Small light and lethal units of soldiers and marines, skilled in guerrilla warfare and attuned to the environment in the way of the nineteenth century Apache, could accomplish more than dinosaur, industrial age infantry divisions. For years Robert Kaplan has been prolific in producing superb work, including Balkan Ghosts, Warrior Politics, and a prescient 1994 Atlantic Monthly article entitled The Coming Anarchy. Kaplan is an elegant writer and an intrepid journalist who has spent about a quarter of a century traveling in the nether regions of the world, writing about internecine wars and collapsed states. The authors experience in such areasareas with appellations as various as the periphery, the South, the arc of chaos, and the zone of instabilityeminently qualify him for his current role as an embedded journalist writing about the US militarys efforts to counter a global insurgency. In subject and scope, this book is simi-
lar to Dana Priests The Mission, in that it examines the Combatant Commands roles in preserving Americas imperium.
This first book of a planned two-volume series examines the role of the US special operations forces and the Marines in prosecuting national strategic aims across the Combatant Commands areas of responsibility. In a conversation while returning yet again from Iraq in the fall of 2005, Kaplan explained to me that his next volume would focus on the regular Army and the Navy. This current book will be useful reading for US military officers and defense experts because it offers keen insights on those methods that enhance our effectiveness and those military cultural traits that impede our capacity to fight the global war or terrorism.
Excluding the prologue and epilogue, the book has eight chapters, four of which examine operations in the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operations. While the entire book is relevant, this review will highlight extracts from two chapters that cover operations in the Philippines and the Horn of Africa, because those chapters reveal the value of the book and illuminate unsung warriors operating in important yet little-known areas. The chapter on the Philippines is very informative, offering a condensed history of the Philippines, a short review of some key facts from the Philippine Insurrection, and an explanation of the Abu Sayyaf Group and its activities in the archipelago. Kaplan offers this cogent inference from his observation of special operations forces in the Philippines: An approach that merged humanitarianism with intelligence gathering, in order to achieve low-cost partial victories, was what imperialism demanded in the early twenty-first century. This portion of the book offers an excellent example of a successfully prosecuted, economical counterinsurgency, employing small numbers of Special Forces, coupled with indigenous forces, to establish security, to build clinics, and to pacify the population.
Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) is the quintessence of a 21st-century paradigm of how to win against the global insurgents. This chapter is short but illuminating, and it is where Kaplan best captures a key theme of his book little groups of warriors conducting dispersed security and humanitarian operations with local forces in traditional areas of terrorist sanctuaries can pay huge dividends in this war. Kaplan writes, This subfiefdom of CENTCOM was five times larger than Iraq and Afghanistan combined, yet the American footprint had remained relatively small. This chapter provides an excellent and succinct description of the history, the demographics, and the challenges that the loosely governed and ungoverned states of the Horn embody. Here Kaplan provides a case study that offers examples of what right looks like even when operating on a shoestring. He describes the genesis and composition of CJTF-HOA as well as its aims and methods, providing an inclusive snapshot of successful theater security cooperation initiatives, civil affairs, interagency cooperation, intelligence gathering, and even whacking terrorists. The new paradigm is all about dispersed, adaptive teams operating on the fringes with success.
This book is both discerning and candid about what the US military has been doing to prosecute the war against al Qaeda and associated groups since the fall of 2001. Distilled to its essential conclusions, or recurring observations, the book offers both prescriptive and proscriptive recommendations. First, smaller is better
when it comes to operating in the arc of chaos: well-trained little groups of warriors with linguistic skills and cultural knowledge, operating where needed, leveraging indigenous ties and forces, seem to be most effective. Kaplan also reiterates a corollary to the above: we are still prisoners of cumbersome and multilayered Cold War and big-war legacy headquarters that are too large, overly rigid, and not innovative. Imperial Grunts, then, fundamentally and wholeheartedly endorses the CJTF-HOA paradigm of an austere headquarters and economical force. Second, conversely and cogently, Kaplan repeatedly criticizes the notion of enormous Kellogg, Brown, and Root-enabled instant American imperial cities, with their concomitant large tails, ice cream bars, and all the profligacy of 21st-century Americana. His main criticism of this approach is that behemoth forward operating bases, with large numbers of soldiers who never travel outside the wire, represent an exorbitant and imprudent tail-to-tooth emphasis; and they reinforce a culturally embedded and pernicious approach that overemphasizes force protection and comfort to the detriment of accomplishing the mission.
There really are only two things to criticize about this book in terms of its readability for a military-savvy audience. First, it seems that because the author is somewhat in awe and enamored of things military, at times he devotes too many words to explaining terms or equipment that will be familiar to most readers. Second, there are some minor doctrinal and typographical errors, although these really do not detract too much from the overall quality of the book. An example is the use of the incorrect term Stability and Security Operations in place of the correct doctrinal term Stability and Support Operations. One final observation is that, although there are some readers who might take issue with the appropriateness of Kaplans use of the imperial legions and Injun Country metaphors, this reviewer found them colorful and found the associated comments to be germane to what the military is doing today. Thus, this book is recommended reading for defense experts, military practitioners, and security academics because it is insightful, enjoyable, and relevant.
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Reviewed 22 May 2006. Please send comments or corrections to email@example.com