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The Changing Face of War: Lessons of Combat, from the Marne to Iraq

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2007

    The must-read book about War for 2007

    This book helps us clear our minds of misconceptions and baseless optimism so can we begin the long process of adapting to a world in which a new form of war has obsoleted our current armed forces and ended the military dominance of the western developed nations. A new face of war, indeed. Van Creveld describes our problem in a mild voice. 'As of the opening years of the 21st century, the mightiest, richest, best-equipped, best-trained armed forces that ever existed are in full decline and are, indeed, looking into an abyss. Examples of their failures abound.' ... 'Against this kind of threat, either tanks, nor warships, nor aircraft, nor the giant ¿eye in the sky¿ the Pentagon was planning to enable the last marine private in his or her foxhole to participate in ¿network-centric¿ warfare,¿ or other esoteric forms of warfare its experts kept dreaming up, are of any use at all.' ... 'What can hardly be in dispute, though, is the fact that, from 1945 on, almost all attempts to deal with insurgencies have ended in failure. ¿ as of the late 1990s, there were growing signs that ¿ guerrilla warfare and terrorism, becoming international, were turning into an export commodity.' The author shows how the current state of warfare as the result of long-term trends. He is well qualified to do so, as the author of seventeen books which cover the range of the military arts -- including logistics, command, technology, gender, and history. Only after putting current events in a larger context does he move to analysis of how we and our foes fight, and why. An analysis of 20th century wars comprises the largest part of the book. It ends on an optimistic note, showing how events in Iraq suggest that our current fighting doctrines need drastic revision. He also provides a few tips. Not solutions, but pointers in the direction from which remedies might be found. In only 270 pages The Changing Face of War provides a concise summary of van Creveld¿s vast body of work on military theory and practice ¿ and the best description to date of a serious danger we face. It is an easy read due to the clarity of his vision and the grace of his writing. This book is a must-read for two kinds of people: 1. Professionals in the military arts or military history, or those with an amateur interest in these. 2. Anyone interested in the survival of our civilization, as military inferiority is seldom associated with longevity of societies.

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