When Reason Fails: Portraits of Armies at War: America, Britain, Israel, and the Future

Overview

A nation's fighting forces are often believed to embody a country's qualities of determination, resourcefulness, and courage. This study examines the influences of these qualities from the viewpoint of the American Army in Vietnam, the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the Israeli Army throughout its struggle in the Middle East. It is a provocative look at corporate military character—operations, personalities, organizations, administrative policies, training, social factors, technology, strategy, and ...

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When Reason Fails: Portraits of Armies at War: America, Britain, Israel, and the Future

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Overview

A nation's fighting forces are often believed to embody a country's qualities of determination, resourcefulness, and courage. This study examines the influences of these qualities from the viewpoint of the American Army in Vietnam, the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the Israeli Army throughout its struggle in the Middle East. It is a provocative look at corporate military character—operations, personalities, organizations, administrative policies, training, social factors, technology, strategy, and tactics—all elements that are woven tightly together to explain why national armies perform in the manner that they do. Goodspeed uses these historical case studies as the basis of his analysis, then explores the social, technical, and organizational issues that future armies will likely face. He assesses the future of modern warfare in technical terms in the context of mass, mobility, firepower, and communications.

The Duke of Wellington once scoffed, Tell the history of a battle? One might as well describe the history of a ball. This book takes the Iron Duke's advice to heart and seeks to explain modern military victory and defeat in terms of corporate military character, a complex and fragile mosaic, one in which national temperament is only a minor feature. In so doing, it takes on a subject long veiled in myth and invention. The social, political, and technical blueprints for the conduct of wars in the 21st century are already well established. Goodspeed illustrates these patterns by showing how armies have coped in the most influential campaigns of modern times and in this light assesses the key factors driving change for future wars.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

MICHAEL GOODSPEED is an independent researcher who served twenty-one years in command and staff appointments in the regular army in Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Dedication
Introduction
Ch. 1 The American Army in Vietnam 1
The American Phase of the Vietnam War 3
Strategic Factors 4
Geographic Factors 7
The Communist Soldier 8
The American Soldier 11
The Nature of Military Service in Vietnam 12
The Reserves and National Will 12
The NCO Corps 13
The Officer Corps 14
Drugs 20
A War With No Front Line 21
The Media 23
Firepower 24
Tactics 27
Big Battles 34
The American Army and Its Vietnamese Allies 36
Ch. 2 The British Army in Northern Ireland 43
Background to the Troubles 43
The Characters of the Combatants 62
Ch. 3 The Israeli Army in the Middle East 89
People, Geography and Background 89
The Origins of Conflict 94
The First War and the Emergence of the Israeli Army 99
Traditional Israeli Strategic Considerations 103
The War in 1956 106
The Six-Day War 109
Israeli Morale 112
Israeli Equipment 113
The Arab Armies in 1967 114
Israeli Attitudes to the IDF and the Arabs 1967-1973 114
Israeli Leadership 117
Israeli Discipline 118
The Israeli Reserve System 118
Women in the Israeli Army 119
The IDF's Personnel System 119
The October War 121
Israeli Intelligence 125
The Invasion of Lebanon 130
The Intifadah 137
Ch. 4 The Future of Armies 143
Leadership - The Human Dimension 145
Notes 195
Select Bibliography 203
Index 211
About the Author 219
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