Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combatby Wesley K. Clark, Wesley Clark
Ugly, shocking, frightening, war came to Europe once more in March 1999.
The world watched in dismay as
The Supreme Allied Commander who directed and won NATO's war in Kosovo offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at how the war was actually fought, and explains the conflict's surprising implications for how war will be waged in the decades to come.
Ugly, shocking, frightening, war came to Europe once more in March 1999.
The world watched in dismay as Yugoslavia's military machine attacked its own citizens in the province of Kosovo. Pictures of refugees fleeing and stories of murder and rape flashed to the top of the news. But this time, the United States and its allies intervened. Using an innovative, high-technology air operation, NATO brought modern military power to bear against Serb forces in the field and the machinery of repression that backed them up. It was modern warlimited in scope, measured in effect, extraordinarily complex in execution.
The American commander who oversaw this massive military effort and managed the often incompatible demands of NATO's nineteen governments was General Wesley K. Clark. In Waging Modern War, Clark recounts not only the events that led to armed conflict, but also the context within which he made the key strategic decisions. He also describes, for the first time, the personal conflict he felt as he walked the tightrope of high diplomacy and military strategy and navigated the crushing restraints of domestic politics. Laying out the new realities of war-fighting and war-planning, Clark reveals how the American military infrastructure will have to adapt if it is to meet new threats. This is the story of war today, and as it will be fought tomorrow.
Author Biography: General Wesley K. Clark, U.S.A. (Ret.), was Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, from 1997 to 2000. He served previously as director of strategic plans and policy for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon from 1994 to 1996 and was the lead military negotiator for the Bosnian Peace Accords at Dayton in 1995.
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As Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, I was responsible for the conduct of the military operations against Yugoslavia, as well as for the 30,000 troops on the ground in NATO's other operation in the nearby country of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And there was no doubt in my mind that I was responsible.
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.
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General Wesley Clark's insightful, and often entertaining, work on multi-national warfare in this modern age is a must read for any informed citizen. Not only does he provide excellent insights on the logistics and plannings of an action such as the NATO war over Kosovo, he also articulates the problems that occur when the U.S. has one of its commanders in a dual role as part of the American command structure, and as head of a multi-national command structure. No facet of the tightrope that future NATO commanders, or those in similar situations, will have to walk is left undiscussed. General Clark's account of problems as immediate as dealing with the international press, as delicate as choosing targets, and as difficult as being confronted with the refusal of an allied commander to carry out an order, is deftly presented. Still, while the section dealing with the NATO involvement with Kosovo provides excitement, the concluding chapter and its concerns about future multi-national conflicts is prescient. This work should be part of the reading list at the War College of every branch of the armed services. For civilians interested in the problems the modern military faces, this work provides insights into what demands this Country should make of its military and elected leaders as new conflicts develop, and new calls for action are heard.
This book provides rare first hand information about military and political mechanisms behined the war in Kosovo. There is a small section on Bosnian war, but it is rather a prelude to Clark's relationships with the key players in the region. This book is personal, honest and informative. I am sure that Clark's ex-bosses think that he is sometimes too honest. What this book lacks is a finish. Clark touches many topics: war strategy, politics, complex settings of the region, but he does not put final touch on any of these.
This book is absolutely amazing. General Clark has clearly explained what it felt like to lead NATO's first major combat action, the difficult choices he had to face every day, and the conflicts he faced as both the head NATO commander and American commander in the area. This book allows you inside the tough decisions and gives you an even clearer understanding of Operation Allied Force. While the media has slightly warped the public's view on such military actions, this book allows you to understand the basis of each decision to use force. It also gives you a clearer picture of what we were fighting for. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to understand the new challenges facing the United States military and its higher commanders, and the aspects of modern warfare.
The moments and the elements that are mentioned in the book are very interesting. It brings you close to the elements of the modern war. It brings you closer than ever to the battle field. Brings a clear and TRUE picture of the speculations during the war agains Yugosllavia. Brings elements that was never shown to the oppinion. One of the best books I've read, maybe the best one. Best book of this kind money can buy.