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In Waging Modern War, General Wesley K. Clark recounts his experience leading NATO's forces to a hard-fought and ultimately successful victory in Kosovo in 1999. As the American military machine has swung into action in the months following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it has become clear that the lessons of Kosovo are directly applicable to the war against terrorism and the nations that sponsor it. The problems posed, and overcome, in the war in Kosovo-how to fight an air war against ...
In Waging Modern War, General Wesley K. Clark recounts his experience leading NATO's forces to a hard-fought and ultimately successful victory in Kosovo in 1999. As the American military machine has swung into action in the months following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it has become clear that the lessons of Kosovo are directly applicable to the war against terrorism and the nations that sponsor it. The problems posed, and overcome, in the war in Kosovo-how to fight an air war against unconventional forces in rough terrain and how to coordinate U.S. objectives with those of other nations-are the problems that America increasingly faces in the today's world. As the Los Angeles Times noted in late September of 2001, this book's "lessons are highly relevant now . We need to think about exactly what steps will lessen, rather than increase, the terrorist threat. And we also need innovative commanders willing to improvise to meet a new kind of threat, more determined political leadership, a more flexible outlook in the Pentagon . Gen. Clark has performed another service by highlighting these problems at a crucial moment in American history."
Waging Modern War is history, memoir, guidebook, and forecast, essential reading for those who want to know how modern war is fought, and won.
I looked over at the picture on the wall of our first Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. I looked down at my desk, the same desk he had used to sign the activation orders of our command almost fifty years ago. I was the first of his successors to have to lead NATO to war, and I wasn't going to lose.
As a first year cadet at West Point, in 1962, I was required to memorize General Douglas MacArthur's words, and recite them again and again. "From the Far East I send you one single thought, one sole idea, written in red on every beachhead from Australia to Tokyo: there is no substitute for victory!" I never forgot it.
In most of the twentieth century, wars were fought for territory. The survival of nations--or at least their systems of government--was at stake. It was national warfare, relying on the mobilization of populations, vast conscript armies, and national controls over the economy and the flow of public information. Military men were trained to fight to win.
This was the form of warfare that Napoleon had taught us, nation-state against nation-state. Cohorts of young men were organized and drafted; large, bureaucratic organizations were created; state ministries were created just to be able to handle the railroad planning required in case of mobilization for war. And then, the enemy was to be brought to climactic battle, a battle of annihilation.
Twentieth-century war seldom matched its Napoleonic ideal in terms of decisiveness. But the mobilization of the nation-state, the conscription, the large organizations, the extreme destructiveness of the weaponry, the focus on battle and the enemy force, the prodigious losses of men and material, and the dreadful burdens to the civilian populations were certainly features of war as we knew it.
NATO itself was itself the product of such a war. The Allies in World War II called for the unconditional surrender of Germany, Italy, and Japan, making that war a fight to the finish. Civilian populations were targeted by all sides, and millions died. In a war that saw the first and only use of the atomic bomb, almost no weapon was spared. And when it was over, and Europe and the United States sensed the threat of Joseph Stalin and the Red Army, NATO was established to protect against another such terrible conflict.
Operation Allied Force wasn't to be that kind of war. NATO and its member nations weren't under attack. This war wasn't about national survival, or the survival of our democratic systems of government. We didn't mobilize our populations or do anything in particular to affect the control of information. The conscripts remaining among the NATO nations never came close to getting to the fight, because there were national laws in most cases prohibiting their service outside their own countries. And the economies of the West weren't taken over by governments or turned to war production. Civilian populations and facilities were not targeted for destruction.
This was a different kind of war--a modern war. It was limited, carefully constrained in geography, scope, weaponry, and effects. Every measure of escalation was excruciatingly weighed by NATO. Diplomatic efforts continued during the conflict, even with the adversary itself. Measures of confidence-building and other conflict-prevention initiatives derived from the Cold War were brought into play. The highest possible technology was in use, but only in carefully restrained ways. There was extraordinary concern for military losses, on all sides. Even damage to property was carefully considered. And "victory" was carefully defined.
|Cast of Characters|
|List of Abbreviations|
|Preface to the Paperback Edition|
|Pt. I||Into the Balkans|
|1||The Cold War Is Over||3|
|3||To Dayton and Back||46|
|Pt. II||The Road to War|
|4||Wearing Two Hats||77|
|5||Carrots and Sticks||107|
|6||Diplomacy Backed by Threat||131|
|7||The Three-Ring Circus||162|
|Pt. III||The Air Campaign|
|9||Apaches and Targets||221|
|10||The Strategic Battlefield||243|
|11||The Ground Option||268|
|12||Resistance and Persistence||293|
|14||Diplomacy Backed by Force||345|
|16||The Good Fight||404|
Posted June 13, 2006
I'm sorry I can't give it less than a star, because, theoretically, even 1 star means it's something. I guess you can use the paper for something. This book is one of those political readings with a bias beyond anything remotely normal. The author tried to present this war in the way it was portrayed on CNN headlines news every day. It has numerous discrepancies and this book is probably considered garbage by anyone who has some basic knowledge about the Balkans, the mentality of the people there, their relations, the political and economic situation at that time.
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US General Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, 1997-2000, espouses the Powell Doctrine, of swift escalation to decisive force, as opposed to 'extended campaigns that could leave democratic governments being vulnerable to their own public opinion'. That is, US doctrine aims to prevent the public having any say over the actions of NATO's 'democratic' governments. Clark writes, "In 1993, the US government proposed the so-called 'lift and strike' policy, in which the U.N. arms embargo against the former Yugoslavia would be lifted, theoretically enabling the Bosnian Muslim forces to gain the means to defend themselves, and the NATO nations would threaten to strike the Bosnian Serb forces if they continued to attack the Muslims. But to the Europeans, this looked like a recipe for the expansion of the fighting, not its termination. The principle of allowing the Bosnian Muslims in Sarajevo to acquire the arms to defend themselves was directly in conflict with the principles of remaining neutral, containing the conflict, and ameliorating its humanitarian impact." Similarly today, arming the Libyan rebels is 'a recipe for the expansion of the fighting, not its termination' and it is 'directly in conflict with the principles of remaining neutral, containing the conflict, and ameliorating its humanitarian impact'. And just as NATO powers overrode these principles then, so NATO is overriding them today. Clark wrote in the 2001 edition, "In the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan ." (p. 130.) This revealing comment does not appear in the 2002 reprint edition. Clark, after all, always obeys orders, either to suppress the truth, or to break international law by leading NATO's illegal attack on Yugoslavia.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 6, 2006
General Clark LED the war, and is now a local hero after having saved ethnic Muslims from genocide. Not understanding the culture? Are you kiddin? It's an amazing feat that not one US soldier died under Clark's command, and now streets and children carry the name Clark and Wesley. This book describes how this man proved that force can be combined with diplomacy to end a war, something our current administration should take into consideration.
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