From Parameters, Summer1998, pp. 129-65.
Richard G. Trefry, "World War II: The Shadows Lengthen," pp.129-36.
Lawrence G. Kelley, "From the Unknown Lenin to the Unknown Cold War: New Perspectives on Russian History," pp. 137-44.
Leonard J. Fullenkamp, "New Looks at the American Civil War," pp. 144-51.
Norvell B. DeAtkine, "The Middle East: Heading into the 21st Century," pp. 151-59.
Richard S. Friedman, "Open Source Intelligence," pp. 159-65.
Stephen Ambrose is a historian of impeccable credentials. His reputation will only be enhanced by his new book about the US Army during World War II, Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany; June 7, 1944 to May 7, 1945. I have no idea how many books have been written about one or another aspect of that war, but I am certain of one thing: Citizen Soldiers is among the best. Its author has created a glimpse of the reality of soldiering in Europe between D-Day and the surrender of Nazi Germany a little less than a year later. The publisher has done him and us a service by pricing the book under $30. Prospective buyers, whether historians, students, or aficionados of World War II, will find their money well spent.
Professor Ambrose is the author as well of Band of Brothers: E Company 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, From Normandy to Hitler's Eagles' Nest, which describes the odyssey of a parachute infantry company during the same 11 months. He also refers frequently in his new book to Harold Leinbaugh and John Campbell's The Men of Company K: The Autobiography of a World War II Rifle Company. But while Citizen Soldiers has much in common with these earlier accounts of the life of the infantryman in World War II, it differs from them in one significant respect. Ambrose has transcended the adventures and perspectives of individual infantry companies to explore the experience of combat throughout the theater, on the ground and in the air.
The thesis of Citizen Soldiers is that the war in Europe was fought and won by men (and comparatively few women) between the ages of 18 and 30. These were the lower-ranking officers and most of the enlisted soldiers who did the fighting on and over the continent. The small size of the prewar regular service ensured that very few of those who bore the burden of direct confrontation with the enemy were professional soldiers. Their story has to be told now; 1944's 20- to 25-year-olds are in their 70s. The sun has long since passed its zenith for them and their buddies.
If this book makes no new discoveries, it does reflect with a high degree of accuracy the life of the average US soldier in Europe from June 1944 to May 1945. Ambrose generalizes convincingly about what soldiers experienced, how they talked, and what they believed was going on around them. The observations are personal, which means that the particular event being described may in fact have been different if seen from another vantage point. In the eyes of the beholder, however, this is the way it was. The conversations ring true.
In 1936, Ambrose reminds us, FDR warned the generation that would eventually win the 20th Century's Great Crusade that it "had a rendezvous with destiny." Early in his new book Ambrose expands on that concept, one that a society can readily lose contact with in an era of peace:
In his 1997 book For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought In the Civil War, America's leading Civil War scholar, James M. McPherson compares the motivation of Billy Yank and Johnny Reb to that of the GIs. He argues that the Civil War soldiers fought for cause and country even more than they fought for comrades and that it was just the opposite for the GIs. Now it is certainly true that unit cohesion, teamwork, the development of a sense of family in the squad and platoon, are the qualities most World War II combat veterans point to when asked how they survived and won. That is the theme of almost all my writing about the military, from Lewis and Clark to George Armstrong Custer to Eisenhower to D-Day. It is the theme of this book.
But I think unit cohesion was as important to Billy Yank and Johnny Reb as to the GIs. Further, I think cause and country were as critical to the GIs as to the Civil War soldiers. The differences between them were not of feeling, but of expression. Civil War soldiers were accustomed to using words like duty, honor, cause, and country. The GIs didn't like to talk about country or flag and were embarrassed by patriotic bombast. They were all American boys, separated by eighty years only--but that separation included World War I. The Great War changed the language. It made patriotic words sound hollow, unacceptable, ridiculous, especially for the next set of young Americans sent to Europe to fight over the same battlefields their fathers had fought over. Nevertheless, as much as the Civil War soldiers, the GIs believed in their cause. They knew they were fighting for decency and democracy and they were proud of it and motivated by it. They just didn't want to talk or write about it. They speak with their own voices and in their own words.
They were, overwhelmingly, high school or college students when America got into the war. They were drafted or enlisted voluntarily in 1942, 1943, and 1944. They entered France beginning on June 6, 1944. From June 7 to September, they came in over Omaha and Utah Beaches; from September to the spring of 1945, they came in at Cherbourg and LeHavre. They came as liberators, not conquerors. Only a tiny percentage of them wanted to be there, but only a small percentage of these men failed to do their duty.
This author has it right. Professional soldiers know that unit cohesion is one of the most important factors in creating and sustaining an army. They are equally aware that cohesion is always built at the level of the infantry or engineer squad, the tank or artillery crew, or at the platoon level in any of the combat arms. The feeling may extend by association to company, battery, squadron, or troop level, and sometimes to battalion; few participants, however, have spent much time reminiscing about regiments or divisions. Check this by looking through the reunion announcements in any military-oriented newspapers or magazines.
The fundamental leadership challenge in combat, then, is how to replace losses at the squad, crew, and platoon level while maintaining individual and unit effectiveness. The cohesive elements that emerge during platoon and company training and preparation for combat are almost impossible to replicate once the units are committed to combat and losses occur. The survivors will have created unbreakable bonds, sometimes to the point of leaving replacements to fend for themselves.
But there is something more in this book that should pique the professional interest of active and reserve component soldiers. Ambrose has devoted a chapter ("Replacements and Reinforcements--Fall 1944") to analyzing the management of individual replacements within the Army, specifically within the European Theater of Operations. Two tables in the chapter display the casualties incurred by each Army division in Europe during World War II. In his analysis of the content of the tables, the author is severely critical of the Army as an institution, and of specific leaders as well, for what he condemns as failure to manage the replacement system more effectively than was the case.
Ambrose portrays the consequences of the personnel replacement problem at the level of the individual infantry soldier, his squad, his platoon, and his company. How the US Army at the highest levels developed manning requirements and personnel policies during World War II is worrisome. But at the tactical level, where daily decisions determined who lived and who died, the picture is devastating. In his recent portrayal of WWII, The World Within War: America's Combat Experience in World War II, Gerald Linderman described how one infantryman compared his lot with that of his contemporaries in the Army Air Force:
Fry went on, as would many infantrymen, to contrast the civilized smoothness of air effort with the onerousness of infantry life: foot soldiers seldom received hot food or fresh clothing; they slept on the ground; they were never spared awareness "of the imminence of enemy action and violent death." For them, "there would be no chance to relax, no opportunity to forget what had taken place." So once again, continuities in the two experiences of warmaking were unrecognized, and obvious contrasts worked to raise an envy and resentment intensifying the infantry soldier's sense of isolation from the other branches of the American military.
The problem of replacing combat losses or those rendered ineffective through accidents or illness can be examined from at least three perspectives: strategic decisions, operational consequences, and effects on the individual caught up in the depersonalized replacement flow. At the strategic level, the Army's original plan for the conduct of the war called for the creation of some 200 divisions. But by 1943 the country was at the bottom of the manpower barrel. Mobilization of industry and agriculture for the war effort, along with other requirements of the war economy, had drained the pool of male civilians capable of front-line soldiering. Consequently, late in 1943 General Marshall and General McNair concluded that the War Department's 200-division plan, which could have permitted replacements in combat by regiments, if not entire divisions, could not be carried out. Secretary Stimson, a proponent of the larger number of divisions, nevertheless accepted the recommendations of his senior military advisors. Henceforth, casualties and non-battle losses would be offset by replacing individual soldiers, not units that had trained together before entering combat. General Marshall subsequently decided to maintain the Army's ground combat strength at 90 divisions.
Every professional soldier should understand the background of this problem and the ramifications of Marshall's decision, for we have not yet overcome the obstacles that Marshall faced in this matter. Command Decisions, published by the US Army's Center of Military History, devotes an entire chapter to the process of replacing battle casualties or those lost through non-battle illness or injury. The first two paragraphs of the chapter describe concerns about the replacement system not unlike those identified by Ambrose:
Of all the calculated risks taken by General George C. Marshall in World War II none was bolder than the decision in midwar to maintain the U.S. Army's ground combat strength at ninety divisions. Students of warfare will long debate whether the decision was as wise as it was courageous, as foresighted as it was successful.
The decision to limit the Army, ratified in May 1944 on the eve of OVERLORD, was a compound of necessity and choice. A variety of influences played a part in it--national policy, allied strategy, air power, American technology, the balance between American war economy and manpower, logistical and operational requirements, the needs of allies and sister services, and General Marshall's faith in the fighting qualities of the American soldier. The decision came at the end of a long series of steps going back to the pre-Pearl Harbor days when American planners had first begun to be concerned about the problem of determining the size and shape of the Army needed for global and coalition warfare.
Among the many others who have elaborated on the strategic issues, two accounts stand out. In one of the books in his epic study of George C. Marshall, Forrest Pogue used an entire chapter to describe the manning problem at the strategic level. And Russell Weigley's History of the United States Army contains an excellent assessment of force management challenges at the strategic level during World War II.
As an example of the implications at the theater operational level, then-Major General Lucian K. Truscott, commanding the 3d Infantry Division in Italy in the fall of 1943, expressed his concerns at losses incurred in the division. His findings add an important dimension to Marshall's decision.
The 3rd Infantry Division entered combat in Italy on September 18, 1943 at slightly below T/O strength and at a high state of combat efficiency. The Division was relieved from action on November 17th after fifty-nine days of offensive action against German forces employing delaying and defensive tactics. During this period, the Division sustained 3,144 battle and 5,446 non battle casualties, a total of 8,590 men. In the same period the Division received 4,118 replacements and 2,213 assigned personnel returned to duty from hospitals. Thus, when relieved the division was still short some 2,200 officers and men. This mere statement of casualties provided no full indication of the reduction of combat effectiveness, which could only be done by a careful analysis of casualties by branch unit, and military classifications. So I started an examination which disclosed some rather startling facts.
Division infantry suffered battle casualties at a rate of seven times that of other elements. The trend of effective combat strength in the infantry regiments was downward from the first day of combat. The greatest losses were riflemen, automatic riflemen, squad leaders, machine gunners, platoon sergeants, and second lieutenants. The rate of loss among second lieutenants was twice that of first lieutenants, three times that of captains, one and a half times that of majors, and seven times that of lieutenant colonels. The high loss of second lieutenants (152 per cent in 59 days, 66 per cent by battle casualties) suggested the high standard of junior leadership, but it also suggested a lesser degree of training and experience as well as a greater risk. The rates of leader loss showed a gradual decline in combat efficiency, due to the reduction of experienced leaders and the lack of opportunity to train and indoctrinate replacements. The survey indicated that members of small combat units underwent the greater risk, exposure and hardship, and that infantry elements bore the brunt of battle. For instance, infantry combat casualties were seven times that of field artillery, non-battle losses only one-half that of field artillery. Ninety-three per cent of all losses were infantry. Eighty-six per cent of losses were in the infantry battalions. Thirty-five per cent of losses in battle casualties were riflemen; 12 per cent were squad leaders and the same figure applies to ammunition handlers. The direct relationships between battle and non-battle casualties indicated that the greater exposure and hardship incident to active operations caused increased rates of disease and non-battle injuries.
Citizen Soldiers itself provides graphic evidence of the implications of the individual replacement system at the bottom of the hierarchy. At one point the book describes the sources of a significant percentage of the infantry replacements that were needed after D-Day. Many came from a group who had been enrolled in the Army Specialized Training Program, which had promised college training after induction. When the shortage of infantry became critical in mid-1944, these soldiers were pulled out of college and assigned individually as infantry replacements in northwestern Europe. Many others had volunteered as aviation cadets, only to find in 1944 that the requirement for pilots had decreased; they too became infantry replacements. Anyone associated with soldiering can understand the trauma as these individuals made their separate ways through the replacement depots in the United States and Europe en route to foxholes as individual replacements in infantry squads.
Among other recent books that examine the World War II personnel replacement system and replacement training is Michael Doubler's Closing with the Enemy. His analysis of how soldiers in the fighting units adapted to the unanticipated challenges of combat (combat in the Normandy bocage stands out) makes many references to the problems of replacing combat losses. Doubler's analysis focuses on consequences at the tactical and operational levels of the war related to assimilating replacements into units in combat.
Perhaps the most thorough analysis ever written on the problem of training and sustaining soldiers and organizations is The Secret of Future Victories by retired US Army General Paul F. Gorman. This book provides more than enough material for the professional to understand the challenges that each generation seems destined to discover for itself when called upon to raise, equip, train, deploy, and sustain armies.
It is perfectly reasonable that the problems associated with replacing combat losses should appear different at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels within the Army. What none of these authors say, or even suggest, may be even more germane. In the 50-plus years since the end of World War II, we have managed to get no closer than we were in 1945 to solving the riddle of individual versus unit replacements during combat.
The Korean War introduced the one-year combat tour for individuals, which guaranteed turbulence. Between Korea and Vietnam the Army tried "Operation Gyroscope," during which an entire division was sent to Germany to test concepts for division replacement in the event the Cold War heated up. Its scope alone was enough to doom the project to failure. The challenge was made the more difficult by the short-term draftee Army in the decades between 1953 and the end of the draft. The project had no chance of succeeding.
The Vietnam War applied the concept of a one-year assignment in a combat theater at the unit level. Entire units were sent into combat for a year, but immediately on arrival in country were subjected to an "infusion program" that tore apart unit cohesion. The process of "infusion" entailed levying arriving units within weeks of their arrival in Vietnam for a percentage of their personnel so that the members of the newly arrived unit would not all become eligible to leave Vietnam at the same time. The percentage levied was replaced by personnel already in country from other units with varying dates of arrival in Vietnam. Not only was this process disruptive of cohesion and training, but there was no guarantee that the units involved had "volunteered" their best soldiers for the program.
In the aftermath of the Vietnam War and during the early years of the fledgling volunteer force, the Army decided to try again to find a solution to the problems of replacing combat losses. This time the concept called for sending brigade-sized units to the Army in Europe for a prescribed period. The intent was to develop methods for replacing entire brigades in combat were NATO to require rapid reinforcement. This effort managed to sustain itself long enough to conduct two brigade "rotations" to Germany. Lessons learned from the deployments of "Brigade 75" and "Brigade 76" can be summed up in the rule of three: In the peacetime Army it takes three units to create one deployable unit of the same size--one deployed, one present for duty at the home base (less personnel transferred to the deployed unit), and one recovering from the effects of its deployment. This rule has been validated in every operational deployment since 1989, most recently in the movement of US forces to Bosnia.
The Army Inspector General conducted a study in 1979-80 that sought a breakout solution to the problem of replacing units in combat. It led to "The New Manning System" in 1980-81, which proposed that company and battalion "cohorts" could be created when individuals enlisted in the Army and began basic training. Such units would serve together for several years; upon completion of the enlistments of their soldiers, the cadre would be recycled through the cohort process, sent to training or staff jobs, sent to school, or otherwise used to fill other units within the Army. The management of the cohort organizations proved unworkable, in some measure because the Army itself was never convinced of their benefit.
The rule of three has nothing to do with the Cold War, and everything to do with how our Army conducts its day-to-day business. The Haiti operation demonstrated as well the effects of peacetime deployments on the reserve components, and the other services have dealt with the consequences of peacetime deployments in ways unique to each. Today we seek whatever efficiencies we can find under the rule of three while coping with an operating tempo within many units that young soldiers and their families are finding increasingly unacceptable.
There is no doubt that the system by which individual replacements were managed by the US Army during World War II was hard on morale, in part because it was pervasively cruel to individual soldiers. Given the alternative--fewer combat divisions on line while the United States struggled to form new combat organizations in the face of manpower shortages--one has to ask whether casualties would have been much different had Marshall committed to a different goal, such as 110 Army combat divisions. Delayed fielding of the divisions could have prolonged the war, possibly leading to more opportunities to incur casualties. Conversely, the decision to feed individual infantry replacements into divisions on or near the front line might have forced the Nazis to continue to deal with two hostile fronts simultaneously. If the latter proposition is true, then perhaps the system worked just well enough to end the war when it did. While this conclusion may not be a source of comfort to those who suffered through the individual replacement process, leadership from Eisenhower to squad leaders in the years 1944-45 might have saved literally thousands of lives that would have been at risk had the war been prolonged.
Dr. Ambrose sums up in Citizen Soldiers the battle for the Remagen Bridge as follows:
Everything came together at Remagen. All that General Marshall had worked for and hoped for and built for in creating this citizen-army, happened. It was one of the great victories in the Army's history. The credit goes to the men--Timmermann, Delisio, Drabik, through to Hoge, Bradley, and Ike--and to the system the US Army had developed in Europe, which bound these men together into a team that featured initiative at the bottom and cold-blooded determination and competency at the top.
The practicing professional may find Ambrose's conclusion a familiar one. Grant and Sherman with their Union armies in 1864-65, Crook and Miles in the Indian Wars of the last half of the 19th century, Pershing and Summerall in World War I, Ridgway in Korea in 1951-52, and Schwarzkopf in the Gulf in 1990-1991 all in some measure were able to develop and sustain "initiative at the bottom and cold blooded determination and competency at the top" in leading US forces in combat.
If you really want to know what it was like to be a citizen soldier in Europe in 1944-45, Stephen Ambrose's new book provides a fine overview. It is a most worthy companion to Company Commander, The Men of Company K, and Band of Brothers, adding to those studies a theater dimension, on the ground and in the air, front to rear, from the foxhole to SHAPE.
World War II was the defining event in the lives of those who survived it. Even if they remained in the services and found themselves in Korea, Vietnam, or other hostile deployments, to have lived through World War II, particularly in the combat arms, was an adventure never to be forgotten. There is no doubt of the admiration that Dr. Ambrose has for those citizens soldiers who became the leaders of this country in the decades following the war. The purpose of this wonderful book is summed up well in these closing paragraphs:
In the fall semester of 1996 I was a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I taught a course on World War II to some 350 students. They were dumbstruck by descriptions of what it was like to be on the front lines. They were even more amazed by the responsibilities carried by junior officers and NCOs who were as young as they. Like all of us who have never been in combat, they wondered if they could have done it--and even more, they wondered how anyone could have done it.
There is a vast literature on the latter question. In general, in assessing the motivation of the GIs, there is agreement that patriotism or any other form of idealism had little if anything to do with it. The GIs fought because they had to. What held them together was not country and flag, but unit cohesion. It has been my experience, through four decades of interviewing ex-GIs, that such generalizations are true enough.
And yet there is something more. Although GIs were and are embarrassed to talk or write about the cause they fought for, in marked contrast to their great-grandfathers who fought in the Civil War, they were the children of democracy and they did more to help spread democracy around the world than any other generation in history.
At the core, the American citizen soldiers knew the difference between right and wrong, and they didn't want to live in a world in which wrong prevailed. So they fought, and won, and we all of us, living and yet to be born, must be forever profoundly grateful.
How perfectly appropriate and how deeply moving that tribute is. As the shadows lengthen, the sunset is glorious.
1. Stephen E. Ambrose, Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany; June 7, 1944 to May 7, 1945 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997).
2. Stephen E. Ambrose, Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992).
3. Harold P. Leinbaugh and John D. Campbell, The Men of Company K: The Autobiography of a World War II Rifle Company (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1985).
4. Gerald F. Linderman, The World Within War: America's Combat Experience in World War II (New York: The Free Press, 1997), p. 44, quoting James C. Fry, Combat Soldier (Washington: The National Press, 1968), p. 240.
5. Kent Roberts Greenfield, ed., Command Decisions (Washington: US Army, Center of Military History, 1987). See Chapter 15, "The 90-Division Gamble," pp. 365-81.
6. Forrest Pogue, George C. Marshall: Organizer of Victory (New York: Viking Press, 1973). See Chapter 25, "The Crisis In Manpower," pp. 354-64, 408-504.
7. Russell F. Weigley, History of the United States Army (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1984), pp. 436-40.
8. Lucian K. Truscott, Command Missions: A Personal Story (rpt.; Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1990). See Chapter 10, "Afterthought," pp. 544-45.
9. Much has been written about the manpower problems in Europe from the summer of 1944 to the end of the war. Beyond the scope of this review, but essential to an understanding of the problems, is Robert R. Palmer, Bell I. Wiley, and William R. Keast, The United States Army in World War II: The Army Ground Forces, The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat Troops (Washington: US Army, Center of Military History, 1991). See in particular "The Building and Training of Infantry Divisions," by Bell I. Wiley, pp. 433-93. Russell F. Weigley, Eisenhower's Lieutenants: The Campaigns of France and Germany, 1944-45 (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1981). Chapter 20, "Autumn Interlude," pp. 370-77, has a good summary of the problems encountered in manning the force.
10. Michael D. Doubler, Closing with the Enemy: How the GIs Fought the War In Europe 1944-1945 (Lawrence: Univ. of Kansas Press, 1994).
11. Paul F. Gorman, The Secret of Future Victories, A Military Classic Reprint (Fort Leavenworth, Kans.: US Army Command and General Staff College Press, 1994).
12. Charles B. MacDonald, Company Commander (rpt.; New York: Ballantine Books, 1961).
The Reviewer: Lieutenant General Richard G. Trefry (USA, Ret.) was inducted into the USAAF in June 1943, and soon became acquainted with the Army's individual replacement system. He was Inspector General of the Army from 1977 to 1983, and Military Assistant to the President in 1989-92.
Forty years of interpreting Moscow's policies to Washington, and vice versa, led Ambassador Charles E. Bohlen to conclude his 1973 memoirs Witness to History on a note of frustration: "I do not think we can look forward to a tranquil world so long as the Soviet Union operates in its present form. The only hope, and this is a fairly thin one, is that at some point [it] will begin to act like a country instead of a cause." Had Bohlen lived another two decades, he might have wondered at his musings. In 1989 the "Sinatra Doctrine"--I'll do it my way--replaced the Brezhnev Doctrine in Eastern Europe, effectively sounding the death knell of the Warsaw Pact; in 1991 the USSR jettisoned its own legitimizing ideology and promptly self-destructed, largely for that reason. It is fair to ask what role ideology played in the conduct of postwar Soviet foreign and security policy compared to other factors, like the daunting memory of devastation that gave birth to a "never again" mindset. Was ideology truly an independent force or just an elaborate pretext to justify national domination and self-defense? After all, that renowned pragmatist Stalin never abandoned the notion of world socialist revolution, but he did substitute the Red Army for both proletarian consciousness (Marx) and the mobilizational role of the Party (Lenin) in his effort to achieve it.
In 1970 an eminent historian asked why the Russians act like Russians. The issue is still relevant, though its current, politically incorrect formulation reads: To what extent will the Russian Federation act like the USSR in the years ahead? This concern has such far-reaching implications that Western politicians only whisper it, lest they set in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy. And while providing the answer lies beyond the scope of this review, the underlying theme--the interrelationship of ideology, security needs, personalities, and the now fading memory of wartime sacrifice--pervades the works that follow.
The historian noted above was Richard Pipes, Polish-born Harvard professor emeritus and Soviet expert in the first Reagan National Security Council. His latest work, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive, reflects the fruit of a scholarly joint venture with the recently (but only partially) opened Russian Center for the Preservation and Study of Documents of Recent History, known until 1991 as the Central Party Archive. Lenin served as the secular deity of the Soviet state, its unerring source of "scientific" knowledge and ideological inspiration for 70 years. Editorial writers and Party hacks, not to mention the conspiratorial Kremlin leadership, routinely cited his often contradictory writings in their own tedious tracts as the price of publication, political victory, and at times brute survival. He was the ascetic proletarian visionary, the organizational genius of revolution, the capitalists' implacable foe, and the humanistic idealist whose wisdom illuminated the path to the future. If the Soviet state blundered or committed murderous excesses, it was his deviationist successors who were to blame--particularly Stalin, that master of terror. At least, such was the myth.
But Lenin had an embarrassing, even repulsive side that only the initiated knew: superintendent of the early Gulag, international subversive, mass terrorist, vindictive intimidator of the peasantry, merciless butcher of the clergy, tolerator of Red Army pogroms, ideological cynic, unprincipled pragmatist, approval authority for Allied intervention in Murmansk, paid German agent, revolutionary dreamer, and, yes, even unfaithful husband. Lenin kept the evidence of these activities locked in a secret archive, to which he routinely consigned compromising documentation. He ran the ultimate cover-up--one reason why the multiple editions of his Complete Collected Works can make no claim to completeness at all. Nor does this volume, but it represents a major leap forward.
The Unknown Lenin is vintage Pipes: A searing indictment of the Soviet state based on firsthand Russian sources. His research shows that Lenin, like Stalin, was even worse than is generally believed in the West: "a thoroughgoing misanthrope." An attempt by Pipes' Russian counterpart to distance himself from such judgments citing, inter alia, possible falsification only enhances the appeal of the volume by highlighting the importance that Russians continue to place on Lenin's life long after the state that he founded rejected his work. This is a book for the specialist; without Pipes' commentaries few could put its fragmentary information into proper perspective. With them even Lenin's vociferous champions in the State Duma will have difficulty preserving their icon's reputation. It may be pure chance, of course, that the appearance of The Unknown Lenin dovetailed with Boris Yeltsin's attempt to oust The Great Militant Atheist from his mausoleum on Red Square, move him to St. Petersburg, and inter him there with Orthodox rites, outdoing in irony even Khrushchev's unceremonious relocation of Stalin's remains in 1961. But Vladimir Il'ich would hardly be convinced.
The young Soviet Republic's fiery rhetoric, establishment of the Comintern, and support for world proletarian revolution (notably in Germany), together with punitive measures imposed on Berlin by the Treaty of Versailles, set the stage for 19 years of pragmatic, ideologically grotesque, largely secret political-military cooperation between the two untouchables of Europe. That cooperation is the subject of Pariahs, Partners, Predators: German-Soviet Relations, 1922-1941, the unsympathetic final work of the late Russian dissident historian and Harvard Research Fellow Aleksandr M. Nekrich (d. 1993). This book draws extensively on archival material to document arrangements of decided mutual benefit to the Weimar Republic, Hitler, and Stalin but of acute embarrassment to all three, and to Stalin's successors as well. Not surprisingly the Baltic countries, which lost their sovereignty through Hitler's recognition of the Soviet sphere of influence and continue to enjoy the undying enmity of the Russian Right for regarding the Red Army's campaigns as imperial conquest rather than selfless liberation, have shown particular ardor in unearthing the hidden details of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Russian public, from whom this chapter long remained hidden, has also seized on the topic, recognizing the need to rediscover its own history.
But other areas of collaboration will interest Western readers no less, including the details of prohibited German pilot training, tank testing and training (run for a time by Guderian), production of munitions and poison gas (all of which essentially ended before Hitler's accession to power), Moscow's huge and increasing deliveries of strategic materials to Germany until the very eve of Barbarossa, joint collusion against Poland, and the partners' ultimate mutual disappointment. From Moscow's perspective an unwanted corollary to the contacts was the starkly negative impression that the Red Army made on German officers, a view which the Great Terror only magnified by claiming the principal Soviet veterans of the arrangements. This impression stood in marked contrast to Russian judgments on the professionalism of the Reichswehr. Stalin, for his part, downplayed the danger of this grand game through ideological delusion and overestimation of his ability to manipulate: He believed that the USSR would emerge as the de facto winner from an impending internecine capitalist war, thus justifying appeasement, Moscow-style. It is little wonder, in this light, that Churchill reacted vehemently to 1941 Soviet demands for a second front--the very thing that Stalin had denied England via his connivance with Hitler: "We did not know . . . till Hitler attacked them whether the Russians would fight, or what side they would be on."
The Winter War--which the Soviet Union tellingly did not even consider part of World War II, much less a preventive campaign of territorial aggrandizement--represents another of the fruits of Russo-German entente, and historian Carl Van Dyke examines it in The Soviet Invasion of Finland, 1939-40. After Helsinki rejected Moscow's territorial ultimatums--the Finns understood Moscow's notion of "forward defense" all too well--Stalin attacked to shore up his northwestern flank: to protect Leningrad, secure the Murmansk railway, and acquire bases from which to control the Gulf of Finland as a bulwark against invasion. Blindly expecting a quick victory, he dismissed warnings by the Chief of the General Staff, B. M. Shaposhnikov, about the difficulties. Yet neither K. A. Meretskov, commander of the Leningrad Military District (later a victim of Stalinist repression) nor a star-studded, partially hand-picked cast (S. K. Timoshenko, G. M. Stern, V. I. Chuikov, P. A. Rotmistrov) could provide it. Nor could they avert a humiliating Pyrrhic victory that cost over 300,000 casualties, vividly demonstrated the Red Army's ineptitude, encouraged Hitler, and forced a major rethinking of Soviet military doctrine. Diplomatically the Winter War alienated the USSR and precipitated its expulsion from the League of Nations.
Van Dyke, as opposed to some others, believes that the setback had a silver lining: a wake-up call to overcome organizational paralysis and institute direly needed military reforms. His multifaceted account draws heavily on Russian sources, which he handles with admirable skill; it addresses not only the ground war but air attacks, actions at sea, amphibious operations, and diplomatic activities as well. The resulting synthesis provides an integrated picture of a complex event often cursorily treated in history texts. Remarkably for a professional academic, the author devotes substantial attention to troop morale, which was conditioned both by the notorious L. Z. Mekhlis's terror and by measures the Red Army took to sustain esprit in the face of severe weather, mounting casualties, panic, and dubious state motives. Van Dyke's lack of firsthand military experience occasionally shows through but can easily be overlooked. This is a fine piece of analysis.
Thunder on the Dnepr: Zhukov-Stalin and the Defeat of Hitler's Blitzkrieg by historian Bryan Fugate and retired Russian colonel Lev Dvoretsky, covers the initial period of what Moscow does consider the Great Patriotic War: from Barbarossa to the Battle for Moscow. A revisionist view, it advances the thesis that "Stalin and the Soviet High Command were not caught off guard by the German invasion but in fact had developed a skillful, innovative, and highly secret plan to oppose it." Key to the authors' contention is that not two, but three high-level war games were held in late 1940 and early 1941, the third of which rehearsed the real defensive plan belatedly developed by Zhukov and Timoshenko and approved by Stalin. This game, for which the authors offer only indirect evidence, excluded the commander of the first echelon, D. G. Pavlov, whose forces were written off as hopelessly exposed and whose subsequent execution was conducted to make strategic deception credible. The plan allegedly envisioned the conscious sacrifice of his units, strikes on the Wehrmacht's flanks beyond the Pripyat' Marshes, and a strategy designed to inflict attrition and buy time so as to mobilize forces in Siberia and deploy them near Moscow, where the final blow would be dealt to the Wehrmacht.
This highly speculative account contains elements of truth alongside occasional factual errors (G. I. Kulik and K. A. Meretskov were not shot along with Pavlov). Fugate provides sound insights into Wehrmacht internal intrigues, and his arguments on Soviet practices are not without merit; no one should underestimate Stalin's capacity for conspiracy or his contempt for his soldiers' lives. But this reviewer remains skeptical of the authors' proof. By their own admission they geared the narrative to the general reader--precisely the wrong approach. The unearthing of new material with such significant implications should lead the authors to write for the informed audience that can judge their work, not for the general reader who cannot. As it is, this underdocumented account, with only five pages of footnotes, leaves the reader wondering whether its judgments reflect uncommon perspicacity or fertile imagination.
If 1941 witnessed the nadir of Soviet fortunes in the war, by 1943 that situation had turned around, precipitating the Battle of the Kursk Salient, the most Promethean land battle ever fought. In anticipation of its 55th anniversary, a local veterans group appealed to the new regional governor A. V. Rutskoi to have their home town named the 13th Hero City of the former USSR. (Parameters readers will recall Rutskoi: the former Vice President of Russia, part-time insurrectionist, and beneficiary of a preemptive amnesty by the State Duma for leading the 1993 "Red October" mutiny.) They had good reason: Though Kursk did not result in the decimation of German forces, it undeniably represented a major milestone--the point at which the Red Army showed that it could, if required, defeat the Wehrmacht alone. It directly involved the elite of the then and future Red Army: G. K. Zhukov, A. M. Vasilevsky, K. K. Rokossovsky, N. F. Vatutin, I. S. Konev, R. Ya. Malinovsky, M. Ye. Katukov, P. A. Rotmistrov. In his monograph Kursk: Hitler's Gamble, 1943, historian Walter S. Dunn, Jr., perceptively dissects the battle. In doing so he dispels mythology (e.g., this was not a swirling thousand-tank engagement in the dust, but a series of smaller clashes largely in the mud), addresses causes and goals, contrasts the opposing national interpretations of its outcome, analyzes the reasons for German strategic defeat despite lower tank losses, and evaluates its significance. Ultimately Soviet tenacity, reserves, and production rates carried the day, he believes, while superior road mobility (ensured by US four-wheel-drive Lend Lease trucks) allowed the Red Army to "employ elastic defense, trading ground for German casualties." This well written, diverse, and orderly study provides excellent insights but, regrettably, lacks maps, without which the tactical flow cannot be followed.
The German attack at Kursk came as no surprise. Stavka had its own agent networks and collection means, of course, but also profited from US and British intelligence, including disguised versions of ULTRA and MAGIC decrypts. The story of the difficult, frustrating, little known, but moderately successful Allied intelligence cooperation program is told in Bradley F. Smith's Sharing Secrets with Stalin: How the Allies Traded Intelligence, 1941-1945; it is unfortunate that continuing Russian secretiveness about the topic makes his account necessarily incomplete. The massive scale of the war, one common enemy (initially the USSR would not act against Japan for fear of provoking its own second front), limited resources, and logarithmic growth in electronic intelligence and cryptology motivated the Allies to selectively make common cause. The British, who intercepted even US communications until Pearl Harbor, took the lead. In 1941 Churchill, subordinating his famous anticommunism and loathing for Berlin's strategic supplier during the Battle of Britain to the requirements of realpolitik, initiated the program with Moscow; the United States lagged behind but ultimately overtook the United Kingdom in importance. The exchanges grew by fits and starts, guided largely by reciprocity. They initially made good headway only in naval matters (reflecting Soviet respect for the Royal Navy and disdain for the British Army) but in time encompassed ground and air order of battle, technical intelligence, POW debriefings, and even limited cryptologic and covert service cooperation as well. Thanks especially to George Marshall and his protégé in Moscow, John Deane, the information flow accelerated toward war's end. Mutual collection coexisted uneasily with the exchanges, but the program demonstrated that where national interests coincided, both sides could profit from such arrangements.
Although it was not Smith's intent, his book could easily serve as a case study on the need for military officers with foreign area speciality training. Many Western personnel involved in the project simply floundered, while others actually sabotaged the effort. Soviet xenophobia, secrecy, reluctance to cooperate, addiction to reaction, stonewalling, counteraccusation, tit-for-tat, and the constant ministrations of the NKVD--all this was the objective reality of wartime Moscow. But the difficult task of ensuring effective interaction and dispassionate reporting was undermined by arrogance, personal and political hostility that distorted judgments, questionable personnel selections (often rabidly anti-Soviet sons of emigrees or, at the other extreme, officers ignorant of the country and language), the lack of formal training, and the enduring belief that real manliness was measured by the ability to match Russian alcohol consumption. Notable as well was a cavalier disregard for security, which Smith's references abundantly document. Nor could program oversight be commended: The Soviets often obtained gratis in Western capitals information held hostage to tough bargaining in Moscow. While not intelligence operatives, Russian Foreign Area Officers should read this unique and informative book with a view toward professional standards; it provides graphic examples of how not to do their job.
As Smith's work attests, the Cold War may not have been sought, but its coming was predictable. Three superlative recent studies exploit new Russian and East European sources to refine, amplify, and in some cases revise our understanding of the period nicknamed "the long peace": We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History, by John Lewis Gaddis of Yale, who coined that term; The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years, by Vojtech Mastny, formerly of Johns Hopkins; and Inside the Kremlin's Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev, by Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov, two young Russian veterans of the USA-Canada Institute in Moscow. Although these are independent efforts, the authors also collaborate on the remarkable Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, which was superbly directed by James G. Hershberg (now of George Washington University). The program facilitates examination of events that once brought the superpowers to the brink of catastrophe, such as Stalin's role in unleashing the Korean War, decisionmaking in the 1956 Polish and Hungarian crises, and Soviet nuclear command and control during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The project publishes the CWIHP Bulletin, an invaluable compendium of incisive analyses and translated excerpts from declassified government records.
At the risk of overstatement, Gaddis's We Now Know is a quintessentially "American" work, not in the sense of being "red, white, and blue"--indeed, some of his judgments cut deeply--but because of his perspectives. Borrowing a concept from Geir Lundestad, he elaborates on the idea that the United States established an "empire by invitation," while the USSR imposed an empire by force. He takes issue with elder statesman George F. Kennan over the supposed advantages of totalitarian states in foreign policy formulation, provides both unconventional insights (US fixation on nuclear weapons prolonged the Cold War) and support for standard ones (the Cold War was unavoidable as long as Stalin was at the helm). Gaddis also offers reassuring--if unlikely--praise for Generals Lucius Clay and Douglas MacArthur, whom he views as almost accidentally enlightened military potentates whose basic instincts and audacity did more than Washington's policies to forge democracy and stability in occupied Germany and Japan. Astonishingly, while drawing on foreign scholarship, Gaddis uses exclusively English-language sources. Yet he produces a comprehensive, balanced volume densely packed with trenchant insights and laced with memorable, revealing quotations. From the earthy Khrushchev: "Berlin is the testicles of the West. When I want the West to scream, I squeeze!" His final chapter succinctly summarizes the major findings of the new Cold War research.
I found 95 percent of this book to be extraordinarily cogent; the remainder, unfortunately, bears the imprint of a disaffected generation, manifested in metaphoric overkill (six references to Dr. Strangelove), rhetorical outrage (US involvement in Vietnam was "feckless stupidity"), and ridicule of nuclear deterrence and the judgment and morality of those compelled to manage it. Substantively I also question the assertion, "In no sense did Khrushchev . . . think the Soviet Union could survive a nuclear war," which is difficult to reconcile with approval by his Politburo of the nuclear war-fighting, war-winning doctrine definitively articulated in the first two editions of Sokolovsky's Military Strategy (1962-63). But notwithstanding the distractions, this landmark work is destined to become a classic on the era, and deservedly so.
In The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity, the Czech-born Mastny focuses on Stalin and his interaction with Europe, drawing on references in six languages. A "Soviet-certified enemy of socialism and detente dressed in scholarly garb" (for Russia's Road to the Cold War), this author commands authority and is certain to provoke renewed Russian nationalist ire for such uncompromising formulations as: "The Soviet Union under Stalin was not a normal state but one run by a criminal syndicate at the service of a bloody tyrant hungry for power and ready to abuse it whenever he could do so without paying too high a price." His research often confirms established Western positions: Stalin's insatiable sense of insecurity bred the Cold War, yet kept it within bounds; the Marshall Plan and NATO determined its outcome by 1949; US resistance to Soviet designs worked; and the Soviet threat contributed to the creation of stability and prosperity unprecedented in the history of Western Europe. But Mastny also offers surprising new findings: Stalin's preferred solution to the German Question was not indefinite partition and occupation, but unification based on institutions in the Soviet Zone; Stalin largely dismissed the utility of US nuclear superiority for policy purposes; Moscow was least dangerous when it was most hostile; US covert and psychological operations, often betrayed, rattled Moscow even in failure; internal concerns greatly influenced Soviet external behavior, despite totalitarian control; and the penetration of Western governments paid perverse dividends by providing Stalin needed reassurance. Arguably his most contentious proposition is that concerted Western pressure at Stalin's death, when uncertainty abounded and Eastern Europe was restive, might have ended the Cold War 40 years earlier. Reading Mastny's masterful volume, like Gaddis's, is a must for those who grapple with this period.
Russian affairs expert Robert Levgold has called Zubok and Pleshakov's Inside the Kremlin's Cold War "the most significant addition to the literature on foreign policy . . . since the end of the Cold War." Such praise is excessive, but this fine book presents a revealing interpretation of the struggle through Russian eyes. Central to the authors' thought is the concept of the "revolutionary-imperial paradigm," a hybrid of Russian messianism and Marxist ideology which drove Soviet expansionism; Stalin was its chief practitioner. To their credit the authors recognize that personalities count; chapters devoted to Stalin and his lieutenants Molotov, Zhdanov, Beria, Malenkov, and Khrushchev address the manner and degree to which their policies conformed to the paradigm. Zubok and Pleshakov offer pointed, profoundly Russian insights, some of which will startle Western readers with their simplicity and cynicism: Generational change and the traumatic legacy of World War II decisively influenced the Cold War, which ended shortly after the death of the last Soviet leader who had personally defended the country; "Ideology was neither the servant nor the master of Soviet foreign policy, but . . . the core of the regime's self-legitimacy, a terrifying delusion they could never shake off"; and "Intellectual brilliance is optional for a politician, but a calculating mind, strong will, and cunning are essential." Most important, they believe that their revolutionary-imperial paradigm has died and will not rise again. The caliber of this work and the authors' willingness to confront their recent history so directly provide optimism for future Russian analyses of the Cold War.
A wealth of fundamental information has emerged from the Eastern archives since 1991. Accurate judgments on the motivation for postwar Russian foreign and security policies as well as on sensitive topics from earlier periods can no longer be made without reference to these essential resources.
Bohlen, Charles E. Witness to History, 1929-1969. New York: W. W. Norton, 1973.
Dunn, Walter S., Jr. Kursk: Hitler's Gamble, 1943. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1997.
Fugate, Bryan I., and Lev Dvoretsky. Thunder on the Dnepr: Zhukov-Stalin and the Defeat of Hitler's Blitzkrieg. Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1997.
Gaddis, John Lewis. We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997.
________. The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1987.
Hershberg, James G., ed. Cold War International History Project Bulletin. Washington: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, issued occasionally.
Lundestad, Geir. "Empire by Invitation? The United States and Western Europe, 1945-1952." Journal of Peace Research, 23 (September 1986).
Mastny, Vojtech. The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1996.
________. Russia's Road to the Cold War. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1979.
Nekrich, Aleksandr M. Pariahs, Partners, Predators: German-Soviet Relations, 1922-1941. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1997.
Pipes, Richard, ed. The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 1996.
________. "Why the Russians Act Like Russians." Air Force Magazine, June 1970.
Sokolovsky, Vasiliy D., MSU. Soviet Military Strategy. Trans., ed., and with commentary by Harriet Fast Scott. 3d ed. New York: Crane, Russak, 1968.
Smith, Bradley F. Sharing Secrets with Stalin: How the Allies Traded Intelligence, 1941-1945. Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas, 1996.
Van Dyke, Carl. The Soviet Invasion of Finland, 1939-40. Portland, Ore.: Frank Cass, 1997.
Zubok, Vladislav, and Constantine Pleshakov. Inside the Kremlin's Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1996.
The Reviewer: Colonel Lawrence G. Kelley (USMC Ret.) is a former A-4 pilot and Russian Foreign Area Officer (FAO) with extensive experience in the former Soviet Union and German Democratic Republic. He served in FAO billets in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Navy Staff, the US Military Liaison Mission to CINC Group of Soviet Forces Germany, two tours with the On-Site Inspection Agency (OSIA), and elsewhere. He also interpreted for multiple US and former Soviet general officers during official deliberations. Colonel Kelley directed 1100 and personally conducted 60 arms control missions under the INF Treaty, CFE Treaty, and the Vienna Document on Confidence and Security Building Measures. Before his retirement he served for more than four years as the Deputy Commander and Director of Operations for OSIA-Europe.
Books about the Civil War continue to be popular and the market for the them actually seems to be expanding. As this is written Cold Mountain, a novel by Charles Frazier which uses the Civil War as a backdrop for its story, sits atop The New York Times fiction bestseller list. Walk into any bookstore and you may find a Civil War book section occupying more space than that devoted to all other categories of history combined.
Interest in the War Between the States has had its ups and downs over the last 130-plus years. It is easy to forget that the current wave of popularity began around 1960 with the centennial commemoration activities. Just a few years earlier the war was out of style.
Three periods of popularity for Civil War books predated the current phenomenon. Even before the shooting war had ended, the war of words had begun, unleashing a torrent of books. For the next 50 years personal accounts of the war remained popular as participants sought to secure their places in history. World War I demystified and deglorified the war as another generation of Americans learned about war firsthand. Sales of Civil War books slowed significantly, replaced by books on the recent war. Then, in the 1930s, Douglas Southall Freeman almost single-handedly revived interest with his multi-volume biography of Robert E. Lee and his follow-up trilogy, Lee's Lieutenants. Serious scholars began to write about the war unencumbered by the passions and agendas that had contaminated and slanted much of the earlier writing. This renaissance was short-lived, however, and after World War II, the most recent war came to dominate the literature. Many thought the period had been relegated to the dustbin of history.
The approach of the centennial and the talents of a handful of gifted storytellers combined to breath new life into the history of the war. Bruce Catton, a journalist by profession, wrote a series of highly readable as well as historically accurate books, with publication timed to coincide with the centennial commemorations. Books like Glory Road and Stillness at Appomatox introduced a whole new generation of Americans to events between 1860 and 1865, and in short order a new wave of popularity had begun. Not even the war in Vietnam or the celebrations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the victory in World War II dampened enthusiasm for books about the Civil War. But interest in the Civil War began to ebb as the World War II generation aged; the younger generation seemed to lose interest in books, with television, the computer, and other diversions coming to dominate. Ironically, it was television that breathed new life back into the Civil War phenomenon.
Ken Burns' acclaimed series on the Civil War reintroduced the topic in a highly accessible medium. Burns made the war come alive by weaving together pictures, thousands of period photographs of the war preserved in the archives, and narration that relied heavily on first-person accounts of the scenes being depicted. No longer an event of the distant past, the Civil War was once again familiar and a subject of interest to a wider audience than the professional historians who for decades had been writing for one another with little regard for the general public. It is pointless to speculate how long the current wave of interest in the war will endure; suffice it to say that Civil War studies have been revived. For the moment, readers have a rich selection of books from which to choose. Among the current selections available are things old and new, and new telling of old stories. Most of it is guaranteed to be entertaining.
Those interested in a general history of the war presented in a highly readable and visually entertaining package will find The American Heritage New History of the Civil War to their liking. Originally published in time for the Civil War centennial, and here revised and expanded under the able direction of editor James McPherson, the Heritage's new history is lavishly illustrated with drawings, paintings, and photographs to accompany Bruce Catton's entertaining and informative narrative. McPherson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the war Battle Cry of Freedom, and contributing editor Andre Trudeau have retained Catton's history of the war and added hundreds of new photographs, sketches, color paintings, and cartoons, many of which are published here for the first time. New explanatory captions and sidebars, which provide more text than Catton's original narrative, make this history a different, and by comparison, more complete work than the original. Few works on the war can compare to this one as an introduction and overview of the war in all its complexity; politics and social issues, civilians and soldiers, campaigns and skirmishes all appear in the reissued book as art and history.
Students of the Civil War will appreciate The American Civil War: A Handbook of Literature and Research, edited by Steven Woodworth. Forty-seven Civil War scholars have pooled their efforts to produce a superb bibliographical resource on the events leading to the war, its conduct, and its aftermath. Beginning with a review of general works and secondary sources, the text is divided into 11 parts and 47 chapters, each focused on some aspect of the war. Part VIII, for example, which covers the conduct of the war, examines leadership in the Union and Confederate Army and Navy, ordnance, supplies, intelligence activities, medical activities, enlisted soldiers, prison camps, and prisoners of war. There is also a section on the nature of the war, that is, its distinction as history's first modern or total war. At the beginning of each chapter the author provides a short bibliographic essay reviewing selected works on the topic and including a brief synopsis of each work. The chapter on intelligence divides the subject into general works on intelligence activities; spies, espionage, and covert operations; intelligence activities in Europe; military intelligence; sources of intelligence; intelligence and command. The chapter ends with a general bibliography of more than 70 entries on a broad selection of material including books, manuscripts, articles, and special collections. Woodworth has edited what is destined to become a classic reference work on the war. He has also ensured himself a lifetime of work. Revised editions will be necessary from time to time to keep pace with a never-ending stream of books and articles. Four recent books serve to illustrate this point.
Although these recent books address the Civil War as a historical event, each contains a number of insights on contemporary issues such as revolutions in military affairs, generalship, and the business of soldiering. First among these is an old book reissued: A collection of essays on the American Civil War by the noted English military historian G. F. R. Henderson offers a number of insights on a variety of subjects, most notably the revolution in military affairs. One brief example suffices. In an essay on the Fredericksburg campaign, Henderson notes that Americans in general were deficient in their employment of cavalry. Although a particular fan of J. E. B. Stuart and the Southern cavalry, Henderson lamented that Union and Confederate cavalry alike was usually improperly employed, generally poorly led, and thus not as effective as it could have been in the hands of better trained, more capable (read European) leadership. In an essay written a few years later, he returned to the criticism of how cavalry was employed, though this time in a more tenuous tone, as if he was beginning to sense that something going on with tactics and technology was changing the way cavalry should be employed, but his thinking on the question was not sharply focused. Still later, in the essay on Grant's 1864 campaign, he returned to the subject as if questions about the role of the mounted arm in warfare continued to bother him.
European armies in the early days of World War I went to war believing that cavalry was the arm of decision and that under the right conditions it could press an attack, pursue, and contribute to decisive victory. In his early studies of the American Civil War, Henderson unknowingly sensed the changes that would signal the end of the horse cavalry, but he understood neither what he was seeing nor its implications. Indeed, few if any of his contemporaries did, and therein lies one of the more useful insights to be found in these essays. The reader is left to ask, what changes in technology and tactics, slowly evolving today, will in the future produce a revolution in warfare?
Despite its dismal experiences in World War I, horse cavalry existed until the eve of World War II; such was the power of its many defenders who insisted that its time had not passed. What battlefield system today, or cherished belief about the nature of war, is the modern analog? Thoughtful readers will have readily conjured up an interesting list of candidates, and therein lies one of the great strengths of Henderson's essays. Prepared nearly 30 years after the Civil War, they retain the capacity to challenge our contemporary experiences and encourages us to think objectively about the future.
Henderson found much to admire in the qualities of American soldiers. Explanations for his sentiments are to be found in two excellent new books, For Cause and Comrades by James M. McPherson and The Union Soldier in Combat by Earl J. Hess. McPherson's latest book on the war asks why the Union and Confederate soldiers fought. The short answer--for cause and comrades--at first seems too trite, given the nature of 19th-century warfare. But that was by and large the case, and McPherson ultimately so persuades the reader with the power and eloquence of his argument, lavishly supported by the words of the men who fought and in many cases died in the war. McPherson was moved to write the book in response to countless questions that invariably arose at some point or another as he walked old battlefields with students or friends. Anyone who has led tours or staff rides on Civil War battlefields would be familiar with the question, and equally aware of the unsatisfactory nature of many attempts to answer it. In reality, despite its complexity, the outcome of McPherson's inquiry is simple. Soldiers fought as they were taught. In the mid-19th century, linear warfare, frontal attacks, and the press of infantry against the foe were the essential elements of land warfare. It was a bloody affair. Discipline and drill of the period were meant to bridge the gulf between courage and fear; they remain as important now as they were then, notwithstanding changes in tactics and technology.
McPherson looks beyond discipline and drill, however, to probe the deeper motivations that moved men to enlist and fight in the war after the enthusiasm and initial bloom of patriotism had faded. Drawing upon thousands of diaries and letters, McPherson builds the case that Northern soldiers fought to preserve the Union, while Southern soldiers fought for their way of life, which they believed would be forever lost if the Yankees prevailed. The correspondence makes clear that at least early in the war, the junior officers and men in both armies had a sense of the larger strategic questions of the war. Union soldiers were less abolitionists than ardent in their beliefs that the Union must be preserved. Equally true, the average Confederate soldier was less interested in defending the institution of slavery than he was in fighting to secure Southern independence. Once they were swept along by the patriotic motivations and into the ranks of the armies, North and South, how they fought was dictated by the technology and tactics of the time.
Modern soldiers recoil at the thought of frontal attacks against entrenched foes and ask why alternatives did not evolve. Fire and maneuver had to await the invention of a light portable machine gun that would enable a small number of men to generate a large volume of fire. World War I began and continued for a number of years with generals employing precisely the same tactics used by American soldiers at the end of the Civil War. Although the machine gun and later the tank modified tactics to a degree, much remained unchanged. In short, once the decision was made to fight, frontal attacks with all their gore and glory were really the only means available to make war at the tactical level. Interestingly, the passion for war in the breasts of many Civil War soldiers declined with the passage of time, in harmony with the increasing necessity to conscript in order to fill the ranks of the opposing armies. Yet even as the ardor cooled, the nature of war at the tactical level remained unchanged. Union frontal attacks of 1864 and 1865 matched in daring and danger Confederate assaults at places such as Franklin, Tennessee, and Fort Stedman, near Petersburg. As the war passed its third year, the excitement and patriotic enthusiasm of the early years gave way to chastened, yet no less determined, sentiments in the hearts of both Northern and Southern soldiers. In the end, McPherson concludes, soldiers fought for their cause, and for the comrades with whom they shared the dangers.
With a better understanding of why they fought, professional soldiers and students of the Civil War would do well to read Earl Hess's The Union Soldier in Combat, appropriately subtitled, "Enduring the Ordeal of Combat." Using first-person accounts from soldiers who had, in the vernacular of the day, "seen the elephant," Hess describes combat and battle through the eyes of those who had experienced it firsthand. What was it like to stand in the ranks under close-order volleys of musket fire, or canister at ten yards? Frightening to be sure, but all the more so when, as one observer noted, the smoke of countless numbers of muskets wrapped the field in a shroud of smoke so thick that seeing even a few feet to one's front was impossible. In many respects, Hess's book is a continuation of what John Keegan began in The Face of Battle. Readers who have experienced the chaos of combat will find in these passages much that resonates with familiarity. For example, in the sections "Getting Used To Battle" and "Living With Fear," the author notes that war is a young man's business. The qualities of youth, stamina, and ignorance helped soldiers adapt to the deadly business of fighting, while repeated exposure to battle taught them that survival was not only possible, but likely in even the most intense engagements.
As does McPherson, Hess notes the complexity underpinning the motivations that compelled men to fight, "The mass of Union soldiers who survived their initiation into combat began a long journey . . . as innocents at war, naive about the role of the warrior, enthusiastic about the prospect of glory, and impatient to experience the ultimate test of the soldier. As they gained exposure to battle, they lost the naiveté, enthusiasm, and impatience but did not necessarily lose their devotion to the cause." Other books, notably Bell Wiley's Johnny Reb and Billy Yank, touched on many of the same subjects; it is in the descriptions of battle that Hess strikes a true chord. In a chapter dealing with the psychology of the battle line he talks about the confidence soldiers found in the "touch the elbow" closeness of the linear formations so disparaged by modern soldiers. Yet it was the physical proximity of comrades sharing the danger that gave courage, singly to individuals, and to the group as a whole.
John W. DeForest, 12th Connecticut, summed it up: "The fragment of my old company, in its last bloody fight with a gallant enemy, made charge after charge under a corporal. `You don't go into such a hole because you like it,' explained the trooper, describing a dash through a cannon-swept valley, `you go in because you are ashamed to go back on the boys.'" S. L. A. Marshall reported similar sentiments in his study of World War II soldiers, Men Against Fire, and legions of psychologists have told us much the same thing in countless books and articles. Hess's conclusions are no less valid or useful for having been discovered once again, and young men today curious about combat will find much in this short book worth their time and reflection. Older men who aspire to lead soldiers in combat may discover in James I. Robertson's new biography of Stonewall Jackson a perfect complement to Henderson's campaign study and Hess's and McPherson's books on soldering.
This book about generalship, a subject of untiring interest to students of the profession of arms, rounds out this latest set of books on the war. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson has long been considered one of America's most capable combat leaders. Few would even think to question the veracity of this assertion, so great is the luster of his reputation. Yet, accomplished and skilled though Jackson may have been, modern students of generalship will find some discomfort with his character in this latest biography. Among biographies written on Jackson, G. F. R. Henderson's is probably the best known. Henderson was dazzled by Jackson's accomplishments and accepted the assistance of close friends and confidants of Jackson as he wrote the book. His "helpers" invariably sought to portray the general in the most favorable light. Henderson's book approaches hagiography. Frank Vandiver's Mighty Stonewall certainly ranks among the best of the most recent efforts to plumb the depths of Jackson's character and personality.
Robertson's study of Jackson, Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, and the Legend, establishes a new standard in this search for understanding. When Jackson, barely 39 years old, died of wounds after the battle of Chancellorsville, he was already arguably the most famous general in the Confederacy, though Robert E. Lee eventually earned that distinction. Struck down at the height of his fame, Jackson justly earned his enduring reputation as a skilled and daring combat leader. After all these years, it is still true that Jackson is among the most often cited examples of the best military leaders the nation has produced. Nearly every soldier and would-be general knows well Jackson's exploits; the prodigious marching of his "foot cavalry," his brilliant 1862 Valley Campaign, and his flank march at Chancellorsville, the key to Lee's greatest victory. How many times has one seen upon the wall of one leader or another who fancies himself a trainer the memorable Jackson quote, uttered to an aide as the army endured one of many grueling forced marches: "Colonel, I yield to no man in my sympathy for the gallant men under my command; but I am obliged to sweat them tonight, that I may save their blood tomorrow." The myths surrounding Jackson are as numerous as his supporters and detractors, but what was the man really like?
He was, as Robertson so meticulously notes, a religious man, a pious man, who believed he was doing God's work when he made war against the Yankees. He was a Virginian who saw Virginia as the key to the success of the Confederacy's quest for independence and he was a man, to quote Israeli general Moshe Dayan, who believed the road to victory ran through the enemy's camp. Jackson was a fearless fighter who was transformed by battle. Normally quiet, shy, retiring, and awkward in manners and speech, Jackson became a Joshua when the trumpets sounded and the cannons boomed. Yet in many ways Jackson remains an enigma. Just how good a general was he?
His disdain for logistics nearly drove his quartermaster crazy. An accomplished artillerist who knew this arm perhaps better than anyone, he at times failed to fully exploit his artillery or to position it where it could support his attacks. His battle plans were often sketchy at best, and when combined with his legendary passion for secrecy, the result was a recipe for confusion and chaos. Worse yet, his interpersonal relations with subordinate generals were awful. It is among these men, those charged with following the general's orders, that detractors are to be found.
Perhaps it was all a matter of misunderstandings. Because Jackson governed his own life with an absolute discipline, it is not surprising that he would demand unquestioning obedience and strict adherence to orders by subordinates. Mere mortals that they were, often their conduct fell short of the mark, with unfortunate consequences. At one time or another, nearly every one of his principal subordinates was under arrest pending court-martial charges for failure to obey Jackson's orders, even when the orders were fragmentary or unclear. Richard Garnett, for example, earned Jackson's wrath for failing to hold an untenable position at Kernstown in 1862, even though Jackson's battle plan was flawed and Garnett was under extraordinary pressure from attacking Union forces. Without knowing Jackson's intent, Garnett ordered a withdrawal to save his force even as Jackson was ordering up reinforcements. And how ironical it was that A. P. Hill, whose forced march saved Lee's army at Antietam, was at the time under arrest and awaiting courts-martial for a perceived infraction of Jackson's orders during the march into Maryland.
Robertson treats his subject with an even hand. Jackson's strengths and weaknesses are laid bare for the reader to judge. The accounts of battles are particularly well written and even the most complicated events are clearly narrated. Robertson's retelling of the events of the Valley Campaign and the Seven Days Battles is masterful. As the story unfolds, one has the sense of sitting behind Jackson and watching as the general works his magic. It is difficult to believe that the Lee-Jackson relationship spanned hardly 11 months, so great are their accomplishments. Little wonder generations of students on the war have contemplated alternative outcomes of the war had Jackson lived. Together, the two were an enormously powerful and effective force, for Lee's genius matched and sustained Jackson's daring. Would Jackson's strengths have eventually been overwhelmed by his shortcomings? No less an expert on the matter than Douglas Southall Freeman opined that Jackson, by virtue of his character and temperament, was unsuited for army command. Jackson inspired confidence in the soldiers he led, though he drove them hard and used them hard in battle. One wonders if his officers, who knew him better, would not have drifted away in search of different leadership.
Andrew Wardlaw, 14th Carolina, summed up Jackson's exploits for many with the observation, "I must admit that it is much pleasanter to read about Stonewall and his exploits than to serve under him and perform those exploits." The reader will find the book a pleasure, even while grappling with the complexities of Jackson's genius.
When will the tide recede? When will interest in the war be supplanted by some new conflict? As long as it can be mined for insights on the profession of arms, insights on subjects of enduring interest such as generalship and the human dimension of warfare, the Civil War will have a following and its books will sell. The end of Civil War history is not in sight.
Catton, Bruce. The American Heritage New History of the Civil War. New York: Viking Press: 1996.
Hess, Earl J. The Union Soldier In Battle: Enduring the Ordeal of Combat. Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas, 1997.
Luvaas, Jay, ed. The Civil War: In the Writings of Colonel G. F. R. Henderson. Rpt.; New York: Da Capo Press, 1996.
McPherson, James. For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997.
Robertson, James I., Jr. Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend. New York: Macmillan, 1997.
Woodworth, Steven E., ed. The American Civil War: A Handbook of Literature and Research. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996.
The Reviewer: Colonel Leonard J. Fullenkamp is Director of Military History in the Department of National Security Studies at the US Army War College. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton, holds an M.A. degree in history from Rice University, and is a graduate of the Army War College. Colonel Fullenkamp served two tours of duty in Vietnam, taught history at the US Military Academy in 1980-83, and commanded the 2d battalion, 320th Field Artillery, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He is coeditor of the Army War College's Guide to the Battle of Shiloh (Lawrence: Univ. of Kansas Press, 1996).
Assessments of the Middle East during the past year produce a number of salient impressions:
. The United States has lost a great deal of respect and clout in the Middle East, not only among the inhabitants of the area but also among "outside" states with important regional interests, particularly the Europeans.
. The so called "dual containment policy" to fence in the rogue states of Iran and Iraq is in tatters but lingers on as US policy because no one seems to have more workable ideas. Iraq continues to grab the headlines but Iran is fast becoming a powerhouse in the region, pragmatic but unrepentant for past policies, viewing the United States more with indifference than malevolence. The passion of the Islamic revolution has mutated into a typical Middle Eastern bureaucracy, institutionalizing religious elites in power with Islamization being superseded by Iranization.
. Culture continues to be the usually overlooked but most important factor of the political-military environment of the Middle East. The cold reality of the cultural divide has displaced the Pollyannish optimism which has attended the Arab-Israeli issue since the Gulf War. Stalemate is due less to the intransigence of Bibi or the duplicity of Yasir than to the deep cultural and religious chasm which previously had been bridged by photo-ops for regional and domestic US consumption.
. The Middle East is approaching another era of increased internal strife as old leaders pass from the scene, but it is increasingly less likely to originate with the once feared Islamic resurgence. The latter has largely degenerated into anarchic terrorist movements or has been co-opted by savvy ruling circles.
The focus of US policy in the Middle East is the Persian Gulf, and it is there that the erosion of US influence has become most obvious. Nothing could be more illustrative of that change than the differences between the ill-fated Doha economic conference and the nearly simultaneous meeting of the Organization of Islamic Countries in Teheran. The United States had put considerable effort into the Doha conference, which among other things was supposed to bring Israel into the Middle East community of cooperative states. Despite great American pressure and a last-minute tour of Gulf states by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to garner support for the conference, it was a bust. Only four Arab states attended, which paled in comparison to the well-attended Teheran conference. The outcome added another measure of confidence and respect to the Islamic Republic.
The lack of support given Washington in the January-February 1998 contest with Iraq should be a clear sign of what to expect in the future. Some of the reasons for the loss of US influence are discussed in Allies Divided: Transatlantic Policies for the Greater Middle East. François Heisbourg, one of the contributors to the 1997 collection edited by Robert D. Blackwell and Michael Sturmer, is prescient and clear in his exposition of the widening gap between US and European interests and policies in the Gulf. He describes the European perspective as follows:
. The weak US response to the Iraqi incursion into Kurdistan in 1996, and the current US sensitivity to casualties makes a Desert Storm redux improbable, and air attacks are ineffective in achieving the desired effect on Iraqi behavior.
. American attempts to forge a grand united strategy to deal with the Middle East are "doomed to failure."
. The best the United States can achieve strategically is coordination on specific endeavors.
. The United States faces a dilemma: To remove US forces from the Gulf, as some advocate, would signal disengagement and ultimately lead to chaos, yet keeping them in countries with some of the most traditionalist Islamic societies will inevitably lead to the same problems the British faced in South Yemen in the late 1960s. In other words, the US presence will act as a magnet for trouble rather than as a stabilizing force.
In the same book, Robert Satloff places much of the divergence in US- European policies at the French doorstep. Some of France's "independent" regional policy is based on hard-headed assessment of its Middle East interests, producing a pro-Arab and anti-Israeli policy, not unlike De Gaulle's. But contrariness, not a new French attribute, is also involved here. Satloff points out that French leaders do not see France as a second-rate power and maintain their view that the French knowledge of the Middle East is superior to that of any other Western country.
In a recent article in Foreign Policy, Fawaz A. Gerges makes the point that the Clinton Administration inherited from the Bush Administration a promising political landscape in the Middle East, but has essentially squandered US regional political capital. Gerges sees anti-American sentiment as on the rise, the peace process in "tatters," and efforts to isolate Iran and Iraq as having "backfired miserably." He attributes these conditions to the Administration's emphasis on domestic concerns, ill-defined ad hoc policy formulation, and excessive subservience to domestic constituents, particularly the Jewish lobby. Colonel Augustus Richard Norton in an article in the January 1998 issue of Current History makes somewhat the same points but emphasizes to a greater degree the Israeli factor, stating that "most serious observers in the United States agree that no American administration has been as partial to Israel as Clinton's."
Milton Viorst, in a book review in the January 1998 issue of Middle East Policy, takes a contrary view in assigning responsibility for the problems in the Gulf, one which is popular with the far left: equating Bush with Saddam Hussein and speculating that "many experts have wondered whether Bush deliberately set a trap for Saddam." Positing that Bush "left the war half done," Viorst sees a Gulf region with "far more instability than the region has had since the raj." Apparently Viorst would have advocated the occupation of Iraq. Moreover, by most accounts one of the few modern periods of stability in the Gulf was in fact under the raj.
Bush-bashing, however, is not confined to the left; others believe that President Bush was too accommodating in his pre-war attitude toward Iraq. Brigadier Aharon Levran, a retired Israeli officer, takes the Bush Administration to task for ignoring "cautionary voices raised in Israel and Congress." Readers may not know, however, that Israel was in fact conducting consultations with Iraq through intermediaries before the war. As for Congress, a delegation of US senators visited Baghdad shortly before the occupation of Kuwait and found Saddam Hussein agreeable to their low opinion of the press. Levran does make some cogent points, however, in his assessment of the effect of the war on Israeli security. The lack of Israeli response to the Iraqi missile attacks eroded the Israeli deterrent posture, and the purely passive measures of defense against chemical attack signaled "acceptance of the possibility of [the use of] this horrible, proscribed weaponry against a non-combatant population." He advocates a return to the policy of preventive war if required, and is leery of continued reliance on the United States for military support. This work inadvertently reminds us why the rules regarding nuclear weapon production cannot be applied with perfect consistency to the Middle East. As long as Israel has a nuclear monopoly in the region and the will to use it, an all-out war is less likely than if there were nuclear parity. Equal application of nuclear proscriptions would be reminiscent of pre-World War II policy toward the Italian-Ethiopian issue--an embargo of arms on both sides--which insured Ethiopia's destruction and ultimately contributed to a world war.
The much maligned "dual containment" strategy, a 1993 construct of Martin Indyk supposedly designed to contain the "rogue states" of Iran and Iraq, continues to be pummeled by most scholars. None of its critics, however, has been able to offer a more coherent policy, expounding instead generalities such as "dialogue," "modify," and "relook." Europeans see US policy toward Iran as one of demonizing the Islamic state as the result both of the 1979 hostage crisis and "the role of the Jewish lobby in America, or, more broadly, America's special relationship with Israel." This was the consensus of a group of Gulf experts who assembled in the United Kingdom in September 1997 to discuss European-US friction in the Gulf. This conference of highly regarded experts reached three main conclusions about regional policies: the United States relies on economic sanctions which Europe sees as counterproductive; US policymakers perceive a threat to Gulf stability from Iran and Iraq, while Europe does not; and there is a definite trend within Iran of moving away from Islamism and returning to Iranian nationalism, albeit with a Shia Islamic component.
A useful collection of writings on the Gulf is found in The Persian Gulf at the Millennium, a 1997 anthology edited by Gary Sick. One of the contributors, F. Gregory Gause, writing on the importance of political economy to security, makes some particularly effective points. Gause explains that in the attainment of certain objectives, the rulers of the Arab Gulf states make other goals less likely to be achieved, producing pressures for more radical change in the future. He supports this paradox with an analysis of several major contradictions in the regional political- military landscape. First, great wealth had allowed these states to support a fiscal approach to security espousing both guns and butter, which is no longer feasible. Huge expenditures for mostly American arms in the past 25 years have not brought security and have come under criticism by a more informed local public. While the massive purchases of expensive combat systems have increased conventional interoperability with the United States, the weapons have done nothing to increase security against indirect political-military threats. Second, the demographics of the Sheikdoms will not allow large standing armies. Third, citizens of these societies are accustomed to receiving benefits from the government without incurring any sense of responsibility or obligation, including service in the military. Consequently, large numbers of non-Gulf citizens employed in the military services of the various states are expected to defend a state in which they have no stake.
Gause's final points concern the incompatibility of economic reform and political reform, in that privatization will end government subsidies to a population nurtured in a welfare state. This will force hard political decisions which will be difficult, if not impossible, to make. The editor of the collection observes that the "slow motion" crisis being experienced by the Gulf nations had lulled observers into complacency. He concludes that unresolved issues, including dominance of foreign labor, falling revenues, lack of popular participation, and lack of accountability on the part of the rulers, ultimately will bring to a head tensions between economic and political reform.
A significant aspect of the equation in the Gulf is whither Iran. It would be difficult not to find a great deal to admire in its resurgence as a major regional actor. The new President of Iran, Mohammed Khatemi, is a man of acute intellectual abilities. His speeches are characterized by a depth and breadth of thought alien to the American political scene. Not surprisingly his election--which was seen by some as a victory of pragmatists over religious zealots--has produced a number of recommendations for a reevaluation of current US policy toward Iran. Richard Murphy, former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, makes a case for reassessment in a Middle East Institute conference report, as does Richard Haas, former head of the Near East section of the National Security Council, in a Foreign Affairs article. However, Haas places more emphasis on improved European-US coordination than does Murphy. Haas describes US sanctions as basically a failure and simply a resort to "feel good" domestic politics, observing that "foreign policy is not therapy." Jahangir Amuzegar in the Middle East Journal reinforces this view, concluding that the sanctions are prolonging the life of the clerics' regime. Most writers on Iranian affairs presently view sanctions and other aspects of US policy as either ineffective or counterproductive.
Others, such as Eliyahu Kanovsky in his monograph Iran's Economic Morass: Mismanagement and Decline Under the Islamic Republic and Patrick Clawson in several Washington Institute seminar proceedings, seem convinced that current policy is about right. They claim that the overwhelming election victory of Khatemi was a reflection of popular discontent with the cultural and economic situation in Iran, which was due in part to US sanctions. The problem with the latter assessment is that while there does seem to be a liberalization on the domestic front, changes on the diplomatic front seem little more than cosmetic. Ahmed Hashim and Anthony Cordesman, in their book Iran: Dilemmas of Dual Containment, view American policy as too rigid, one based on hope rather than reality. They prefer a policy of constructive engagement that allows some political and diplomatic latitude while maintaining a policy of military containment. The attitude of the current Iranian leaders toward improving relations with the United States is cloaked in ambiguity, even (possibly feigned) indifference. Our European allies and the Russians, however, see huge strategic and economic opportunities in the region so long as the US maintains its current policy toward Iran. Perhaps the assumption in current US policy that should be challenged most vigorously is this: Developing states, particularly Iran, somehow need the United States and in the end will conform to our litmus tests, including our national policy of promoting democracy.
Fareed Zakaria has written an article on illiberal democracies that should be required reading for anyone convinced of the efficacy of US regional policy. Rule by the people does not automatically translate into a liberal society, he asserts, because "majoritarianism" may consist of nothing more than the tyranny of a popularly elected government. Without the traditions of Western civilization that emphasize individual liberties and the rule of law, such pseudo-democracies may do little more than institutionalize mob rule. Iran is by definition a democracy, on a much greater level than Egypt--contrast the election of Khatemi to the 99.9 percent election results for Mubarak. But Iran is not a constitutional liberal society. Limited political freedom is more than offset by religious and social coercion. As Stephen Fairbanks argues in an article in the Winter 1998 issue of Middle East Journal, Iran is inhibited from becoming a liberal political society by a religious elitist establishment that views a liberal democracy as fatal to its hold on power. Zakaria adds that an individual's rights must be maintained against the state, church, and society. In the end, it would seem, the exercise of Robert's Rules of Order at grass-roots level is of greater value than the hordes of Western political scientists preaching to the elites of former authoritarian nations.
The important issue of the cultural divide between East and West continues to exercise scholars and confound those who minimize its importance. Evidence mounts, usually in the words and deeds of the Middle Eastern elite themselves, that the clash of civilizations is in fact an everyday reality in the region. This East-West conflict is more than a simple case of cultural misunderstanding or, as many Middle Eastern scholars hold, the American support for the state of Israel. On the contrary, as Bernard Lewis writes, the animus is a result of peoples who understand each other all too well.
In a related effort, John Jandora has produced a ground-breaking book, Militarism in Arab Society, a follow-on to his 1991 historical study, The March from Medina. In the new book, Jandora examines the historical evolution of eastern Arab military traditions and culture. Little has been written on this subject, for Western military strategists have routinely assessed Arab military establishments from Western perspectives--an approach dramatically shown to be dangerous in Ernest May's classic 1984 study, Knowing One's Enemies.
Jandora's Militarism in Arab Society refutes the conventional wisdom that the Arab conquest of the civilized world was a result of religious fervor overcoming inherent military inferiority. He posits instead that Arab leadership learned quickly and well, which allowed Arab armies to overcome their Byzantine and Persian foes. In his new book, Jandora analyzes cultural and historical evolution within the Arab world from the military perspective. His application of historical lessons to the contemporary world is the most valuable part of the book.
Jandora is correct when he describes the frustration of US military training teams working with Arab counterparts. The Americans, assuming the efficacy of technology transfer, take for granted its universality: "Analysts and observers, lacking firsthand experience, assumed technology transfer had taken place. One example of overestimation was their ascription of `combined arms capability' to certain Arab armies."
My experience over 30 years has affirmed his observation. Moreover, seasoned military Middle East hands know that logistics and maintenance systems are culturally dependent. This means that operator maintenance, tool set allocations, maintenance echelons, and so forth rarely conform to US doctrine, and if imposed from the top down they simply do not work. That outcome is not a function of intelligence, diligence, or desire; rather, as Jandora writes, we "teach modern practices but do not inculcate the thought processes that underlie them." He also advances the provocative idea that Arab armies have functioned better under European officers than under their own.
Following the Gulf War and its humiliation of the Iraqis, the tendency, despite cautions, will be to underestimate Iraqi forces. The Israelis made a similar and almost fatal error in 1973 in assessing Egyptian capabilities. A study of the Iraqi Tawakalna Division by Stephen Bourque in the Autumn 1997 issue of Middle East Journal revealed that given their equipment and leadership deficiencies, the division fought well and even courageously.
Astute observers of the perennial Arab-Israeli issue are finding answers within the cultural realm for the seemingly inexplicable reversal of the Palestinian- Israeli peace negotiations. An atmosphere apparently conducive to a permanent settlement was the basis for a number of upbeat analyses following the Gulf War; however, the ascension of Netanyahu to leadership in Israel and increasing dissatisfaction among his own people with Arafat's leadership have made pessimism predominant. An in-depth study by a number of analysts in March 1997 issue of The Journal of Strategic Studies acknowledges that, "The Middle East peace process, in its present form, is unlikely to yield a settlement and most probably will end in violence." The study concludes that the lack of progress in the negotiations will actually accelerate violence.
Duplicity and Netanyahu's intransigence are the usual suspects in this sad story. Daniel Pipes rightly observes, however, that the existence of Israel has never been accepted by the Arab people. That situation is a consequence of a history which one distinguished American ambassador to several Arab nations terms "baggage which weighs them down." The Arab world sometimes seems so immersed in mythology and historical concoctions, often supplied by demagogues, that fact and fiction can become inseparable. The "proud past" of the Arab world, so elegized by Arab and Western historians, while indeed a glorious history, has become an albatross for Arabs who seek answers in a history more hagiographic than analytical. Fouad Ajami calls it the "lethal past, . . . a historiography that lays every blame at the doorstep of the West." Many observers on the issue of Palestine agree that strife is not caused by specific details of who gets what; much more fundamentally, it is the absence of Arab acceptance of the Zionist concept of a Jewish state that continues to impede progress. As long as Israel is a "crusader state" or "a foreign body lodged in the heart of the Arab world," talks about boundaries, water, and sacred sites are of little consequence.
From the Israeli perspective, a number of sociological studies have identified the immense gap between the two peoples, one that few Israelis bother to bridge. Their ignorance of Arab culture and society seems almost self-destructive when one considers that in some areas in Jerusalem Arabs and Jews live on top of one another, and that 15 percent of the population of Israel is Arab.
In his 1997 book The Holy War Idea in Western and Islamic Traditions, James Turner Johnson compares war in the religious thought of Western and Islamic civilizations. He agrees with the civilization concept of Samuel Huntington, concluding that while the West rejects war for religious motives, Muslims retain the concept of war for religious reasons as an important part of their theology. Moreover, the idea of a defensive war, termed a Jihad, could be sanctioned to regain land lost hundreds of years ago. References to the reconquest of Spain are a case in point. The 200 years it took the Muslims to expel the crusaders from Palestine is an oft-used example in Arab literature when addressing the Israeli issue.
Succession is an increasingly important issue as the current rulers age. In terms of government stability, the Middle East has been relatively quiet for a decade, but the political environment suggests that succession could cause the kind of internal strife not seen there since the early 1970s. Europeans and Americans have grown comfortable with the present leaders and are somewhat apprehensive about the next generation. As Michael Collins Dunn observes in Middle East Policy, some of the present Middle Eastern leaders have known eight US Presidents. The authoritarian rule practiced by Assad, Hussein, Hassan, and the sheiks of the Gulf is based upon certain socio-political underpinnings: the religious and ethnic community, the strength of the family unit, and a pervasive security system. As the traditional family and cultural norms of these societies erode, the Middle East may once again undergo a rapid succession of coups and rebellions. How this will affect US interests is anyone's guess; at a minimum we should focus on our access to oil and on the energy Shangri-la in which we live.
Finally, Geoffrey Kemp and Robert E. Harkavy's Strategic Geography and the Changing Middle East, a ponderous but valuable book, describes and evaluates the geopolitical factors of the Middle East better than any work of the past few years. The book--a bit overwhelming in detail--examines strategic factors in the context of the concepts of A. T. Mahan, Halford Mackinder, and others who seem to have been forgotten by modern writers. The emergence of central Asia, its energy potential, and its ties to south Asia should cause renewed interest in the "world island" concept of geostrategic thought.
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Bar, Daniel. "Development of Social Categories and Stereotypes in Early Childhood: The Case of the Arab Concept Formation, Stereotype and Attitudes by Jewish Children in Israel." International Journal of Intercultural Studies, 20 (Summer-Fall 1996).
Blackwell, Robert D., and Michael Sturmer, eds. Allies Divided: Transatlantic Policies for the Greater Middle East. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1997.
Bourque, Stephen. "Correcting Myths About the Persian Gulf War: The Last Stand of the Tawakalna." Middle East Journal, 51 (Autumn 1997).
Clawson, Patrick. "Khatemis Dialogue with America not with Washington." Policy Watch, No. 293, 8 January 1998. Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Clawson, Patrick, and Charles Freeman. "Dual Containment--Revive It or Replace It." Policy Watch, No. 290, 18 December 1997. Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Special Policy Forum Report.
Cordesman, Anthony H., and Ahmed S. Hashim. Iran: Dilemmas of Dual Containment. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997.
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Kanovsky, Eliyahu. Iran's Economic Morass: Mismanagement and Decline Under the Islamic Republic. Washington: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1997.
Kemp, Geoffrey, and Robert E. Harkavy. Strategic Geography and the Changing Middle East. Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 1997.
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The Reviewer: Colonel Norvell B. DeAtkine, USA Ret., is director of Middle East studies at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He also is an adjunct professor of Middle East studies and terrorism at Methodist College in Fayetteville. A 1959 graduate of the US Military Academy, he earned a master's degree in Middle East studies at the American University in Beirut and is a graduate of the US Army War College.
Ninety percent of intelligence comes from open sources. The other ten percent, the clandestine work, is just the more dramatic. The real intelligence hero is Sherlock Holmes, not James Bond. -- Lieutenant General Sam Wilson, USA Ret. former Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
Former Ambassador to Algeria L. Craig Johnstone (presently State Department Director of Resources, Plans and Policy) recently told a Washington conference that during his assignment in Algeria, he bought and installed a satellite dish enabling him to watch CNN so he could have access to global news. He recalled:
The first week I had it running was the week of the Arab League summit in Algiers and, for whatever reason, the Department was interested in finding out whether Yasser Arafat would attend the summit. No one knew, and the day of the summit Washington was getting more frantic. We in the Embassy were banned from the summit site so there was no way we could find out whether or not Yasser Arafat would show. Finally, at about noon I was home for lunch and watching CNN when the office of the Secretary of State called. The staffer on the other end asked if there was anything at all he could tell the Secretary about Arafat's participation. And just then, on CNN I saw a live picture of Yasser Arafat arriving at the conference. "He is definitely at the conference," I reported. The staffer was ecstatic and went off to tell the Secretary. The next day I received a congratulatory phone call from the NEA bureau for pulling the rabbit out of the hat. How did you find out, they asked? The secret was mine. But I knew then and there that the business of diplomacy had changed, and that the role of embassies, how we do business in the world, also had to change.
Ambassador Johnstone's story provides an example of the value of information from open sources. Allen W. Dulles, when he was Director of Central Intelligence, acknowledged to a congressional committee, "more than 80 percent of intelligence is obtained from open sources." Whether the amount of intelligence coming from open sources is 90 percent, 80 percent, or some other figure, experienced intelligence professionals agree that most information processed into finished intelligence may be available from open sources. This essay explores the significance of a trend toward increased recognition of the role of open source information and discusses what this may mean for intelligence consumers at every level.
The use of information from open sources (OSINT) for intelligence production is not a new phenomenon. Intelligence services in most nations have always made use of OSINT obtained by working with scholars in academia, debriefing business travelers and tourists, and examining foreign press and broadcast media. Intelligence prepared from sources available to the general public draws from books, periodicals, and other print publications such as catalogues, brochures, pamphlets, and advertisements. Also included are radio and television broadcasts and a more recent technological innovation, the Internet. Collectively, these are frequently referred to as open media resources.
Intelligence--information and analysis that is not available to the public--is prepared for use by policymakers and military leaders inside the government. Intelligence is categorized customarily according to the source from which it is obtained. Today, five sources are recognized:
While most discussions of open source intelligence seem to concentrate on intelligence collection, it is important to view intelligence trends in conjunction with developments in its traditional components. These components are:
. Costs. With decreasing national security budgets, government leaders are having to examine their infrastructure. As military forces become more dependent on off-the-shelf commercial technology, intelligence organizations appear headed toward greater reliance on open source intelligence.
. Sources. Cost-driven decisions dictate that a significant quantity of intelligence requirements can be filled by a properly designed comprehensive monitoring of open sources, either by the intelligence establishment itself or by private organizations. A particular advantage of open source intelligence is that the product can be maintained at a low level of classification required for these sources and methods. This outcome allows relatively wide dissemination and distribution when compared with material from other sources. This characteristic of open source intelligence is particularly important in coalition operations.
. Methods. It has been demonstrated many times that good intelligence production relies on all-source assessment. Traditional intelligence structures and methods have been optimized for designated core or central missions, and today many of these remain structured to meet Cold War requirements and scenarios. Current and likely future contingencies seem less likely to involve major hard military net assessments and diplomatic intelligence than was the case between 1945 and 1991. Current and future contingencies probably will continue a trend toward soft analyses of complex socioeconomic, technological, and political problems, and of issues that will include such items as international organized crime, information warfare, peacekeeping operations, and activities associated with special operations and low-intensity conflict.
. Targets. Intelligence targets of greatest concern to US leaders have changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the accompanying geopolitical upheavals (such as political deterioration in the Balkans), and changes in Western perceptions of global security interests (e.g., the significance of the Middle East). Intelligence agencies must now focus their activities on a far broader range of targets and potential targets than was common in the Cold War era. Today, intelligence professionals have to be concerned with terrorism, major international crime, and arms proliferation, including programs in some areas to produce weapons of mass destruction. They have to be prepared for possible military intervention on short notice in overseas conflicts or for humanitarian relief. Some of these targets require constant scrutiny in substantial depth; for others, broad general surveillance will suffice--provided a reserve or surge capability is maintained.
Although many aspects of intelligence work are changing, for the near term the preponderance of them will probably remain familiar. Today's emerging main problem is how to deal with new and indistinct boundaries among and between intelligence organizations and functions, and increasing ambiguity in roles and missions. Any intelligence officer who has ever worked at a senior level knows that senior policymakers and government officials abhor ambiguity; they want timely, accurate intelligence. As Peter Schwartz, a recognized futurist, founding member of the Global Business Network, and author of The Art of the Long View, told his audience at the Colloquium on the 21st Century, "We will see not only changing rules of the game, but new games. There is an emerging competitive information marketplace in which non-state intelligence will be `cheap, fast, and out of control.'"
Enthusiastic proponents of open source intelligence argue that the information revolution is transforming the bulk of any nation's intelligence requirements and reducing the need to rely upon traditional human and technical means and methods. But Robin W. Winks, distinguished Yale University historian who served in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and in its successor, the Central Intelligence Agency, concluded, "Research and analysis are at the core of intelligence . . . . [Most] `facts' are without meaning; someone must analyze even the most easily obtained data."
The emerging debate between investing in technology and developing competent analysts concerns itself basically with the value and role of open source intelligence. To understand some of the forces that are shaping the debate, we need to weigh the relative benefits of primary and secondary sources, two discrete subsidiary classes of open source material. Primary sources, generally taken to include print and electronic media, have always provided information of value to the intelligence community in current intelligence, indications, and warning as well as background information used by analysts in their work. What the so-called information revolution has done is to increase the ability of users to gain access and to manipulate the information, and although most intelligence managers do not believe that the number of primary sources has expanded greatly, the number of secondary sources has increased exponentially. To compound the analyst's problem, the objectivity and reliability of many secondary sources are often questionable. We will need more experience before we can accept expansion of secondary sources as a benefit to the management of national security.
The largest general open source collection in the world is the Library of Congress. To replace the original library, which was destroyed during the War of 1812, Congress in 1815 purchased the private library of former President Thomas Jefferson, greatly increasing the collection's size and scope. The Library of Congress now includes works in more than 450 languages and comprises more than 28 million books, periodicals, and pamphlets as well as manuscripts, maps, newspapers, music scores, microfilms, motion pictures, photographs, recordings, prints, and drawings. The library's services also include research and reference facilities, which coordinate with or amplify local and regional library resources.
There are also several thousand databases available from commercial organizations; LEXIS/NEXIS, Dialog, Reuters, and The New York Times come to mind. Any discussion of contemporary open sources must now include the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW). The World Wide Web (developed in 1989) is a collection of files, called Web sites or Web pages, identified by uniform resource locators (URLs). Computer programs called browsers retrieve these files.
The term "Internet" describes the interconnection of computer networks, particularly the global interconnection of government, education, and business computer networks, available to the public. In early 1996, the Internet connected more than 25 million computers in more than 180 countries. The Internet provides an immense quantity and variety of open source information and must be increasingly looked upon as a source for intelligence purposes.
The Internet and the World Wide Web exemplify technology that is not yet mature. One hallmark of immature technology is an underlying anarchy and a potential for disinformation. In October 1938, when radio broadcasting was emerging as a reliable source of information, producer-director Orson Welles, in his weekly radio show Mercury Theater, presented a dramatization of an 1898 H. G. Wells story, War of the Worlds. The broadcast, which purported to be an account of an invasion of earth from outer space, created a panic in which thousands of individuals took to the streets, convinced that Martians had really invaded Earth. Orson Welles later admitted that he had never expected the radio audience to take the story so literally, and that he had learned a lesson in the effectiveness and reach of the new medium in which content was struggling to catch up to technology.
Recent examples with the Internet and its spin-offs suggest that e-mail abuses, careless gossip reported as fact, and the repeated information anarchy of cyberspace have become progressively chaotic. This does not mean that the Internet and the Web cannot be considered seriously for intelligence work, but it does mean that intelligence officers must exercise a vigilant and disciplined approach to any data or information they acquire from on-line sources.
In December 1997, senior officials from Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Britain, Russia, and the United States (the Group of Eight industrialized nations) gathered in Washington to explore the transnational nature of computerized crime, with specific attention to opportunities for criminals to exploit the Internet's legal vacuum. Among the facts presented to the officials were these:
The principal significance of these facts for the intelligence officer is that Internet sources are subject to manipulation and deception. Consequently, counterintelligence and security processing will henceforth have to include cyberspace during analysis.
Perhaps the greatest value to military organizations in this array of adjustments following the end of the Cold War and the proliferation of technologies is freedom from confinement to a fixed geographic site for ready access to basic unclassified references. Modern communications will free deployed military from the need to transport large quantities of reference material (classified and unclassified) during operations. Military forces in the field can now tap into an immense quantity of information resources in near real-time. Four relevant types are:
Since the quantities of information available are great and much of the information is often irrelevant, staffs of deployed units may find it difficult to use the information productively. Deployed organizations may well have to establish forward and rear intelligence activities. The threat of information warfare will have to be taken into account in planning and executing split-echelon operations.
Providing unclassified information to the general public as well as to officials is the objective of democratic governments in their declarations of open and immediate reporting. Even the tabloid press has never advocated a freedom that would deliberately compromise national security or put the lives of service members at risk, yet there can be unintended consequences from such expanded openness. The British government learned this during the 1982 Falklands campaign when a BBC reporter inadvertently revealed operational plans for what proved to be a costly assault at Goose Green by the Parachute Regiment: the enemy was listening. During Operation Desert Storm, the US government and its coalition partners would encounter other problems. While CNN was reporting directly from the theater of operations, government control of mass communications was in effect in Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, as it was in Iraq. The sites of SCUD attacks on Israel were quickly cordoned off by the authorities; media representatives were granted access only after a response had been determined by the Israeli government. The state-owned Iraqi media not only repeatedly told its citizens they were winning the struggle, but it manipulated reporting of the use of the Patriot missile against the SCUD, ensuring that CNN and others reported only what the Iraqi government wished. Coalition anti-SCUD measures soon were placed under direct control of Washington.
Intelligence consumers, government officials, and policymakers have not been complaining about a shortage of information; they are suffering from a saturation. The flood of mass-produced data now available and the ensuing overload means that collection is no longer the principal problem. The greater challenge facing intelligence organizations is analysis, consolidation, and timely dispatch of data and results to the individuals who need it. Effectiveness in this process will depend upon allocation of human resources among those responsible for analysis and others responsible for its transmission. An information management executive will consider any increase in volume as proof that information is being managed better, even more efficiently. But the information manager is not in the business of analysis, so he or she is not interested in how well or poorly the information is interpreted, or even if it contains disinformation or inaccuracy. One cannot equate increased throughput to improved situation awareness within a theater of operations.
Nevertheless, the quantitative arguments of information managers recently have become more effective than those of the intelligence community with respect to open source policy. The last time a similar contention occurred, the proponents of technical intelligence argued that they had the key to ultimate wisdom. As the late Ray Cline, one-time Deputy Director of Intelligence at CIA and later Director of the Department of State's Intelligence and Research Bureau observed,
The technical miracle has greatly reduced the burden on the secret agent. Lives need not now be risked in gathering facts that can easily be seen by the eye of the camera. . . . Instead the agent concentrates on gathering ideas, plans, and intentions, all carried in the minds of men and to be discovered only from their talk or their written records. Nobody has yet taken a photograph of what goes on inside people's heads. Espionage is now the guided search for the missing links of information that other sources do not reveal. It is still an indispensable element in an increasingly complicated business.
Claims of open source enthusiasts need to be examined in context. Those making extravagant claims sometimes have little vested interest in the role and value of open source materials, or even the knowledge or experience to make reliable judgments about the broader issue of multidisciplined all-source analysis by skilled intelligence analysts.
The communications revolution is presenting intelligence organizations with a new challenge far beyond that of mass production. Like other enterprises, intelligence now faces competition from directions believed to have been impossible only a few years ago. As has been true with commerce and industry, intelligence will have to remodel its organization, form new associations, tailor or customize its products, and question its fundamental missions. So long as there are nations led by aggressive totalitarian rulers inclined toward terrorism, or there are fanatics equipped with lethal weapons, democracies will continue to need effective secret services.
1. Reported by David Reed, "Aspiring to Spying," The Washington Times, 14 November 1997, Regional News, p. 1.
2. Remarks at opening session of the Conference Series on International Affairs in the 21st Century, US State Department, Washington, D.C., 18 November 1997.
3. US military operations in Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia are examples of requirements of a different nature.
4. It is important to keep in mind an old intelligence maxim: "You can't surge HUMINT!"
5. Address, Washington, D.C., 21 October 1997.
6. Robin W. Winks, Cloak & Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961 (2d ed.; New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 1996), p. 62.
7. One source estimates the current total to be more than 8000 such databases.
8. The Internet was initially developed in 1973 and linked computer networks at universities and laboratories in the United States. This was done for the US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The project was designed to allow various researchers to communicate directly in connection with their work. It was also developed with the idea in mind that it could provide a nuclear survivable communications system.
9. Current estimates suggest that around 30 million individuals and more than 40,000 networks are connected, numbers which appear to be increasing rapidly. The quantity of data on the Internet is huge. One estimate is total content between two and three terabytes. (A terabyte is a million megabytes.) A typical public library of some 300,000 books has about three terabytes of data. Rajiv Chandrasekaran, "In California, Creating a Web of the Past," The Washington Post, 22 September 1996, p. H1. An essay by James Kievit and Steven Metz, "The Internet Strategist: An Assessment of On-line Resources," Parameters, 26 (Summer 1996), 130-45, available on the Internet, is an excellent introduction and guide.
10. Ray Cline, "Introduction," in The Intelligence War (London: Salamander Press, 1984), p. 8. Emphasis added.
The Reviewer: Colonel Richard S. Friedman (USA Ret.) served in the European, African, and Middle Eastern theaters in World War II as an intelligence NCO in the Office of Strategic Services. After the war, he was commissioned from Army ROTC at the University of Virginia, where he received a law degree. He subsequently served in a variety of intelligence and special forces positions, including an assignment as the senior US intelligence officer at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Since retiring from the Army, he has worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as a senior analyst, assistant national intelligence officer, and staff operations officer. Colonel Friedman was the lead author of Advanced Technology Warfare (1986) and contributed chapters to The Intelligence War (1984) and U.S. War Machine (1987). As with all Parameters articles and reviews, the views expressed herein are those of the author; they do not represent Department of Army policy or that of the Central Intelligence Agency or any other agency of the US government.