On Strategy: Gulf War

Summers Harry G, Author Dell Publishing Company $4.99 (302p) ISBN 978-0-440-21194-5
Military strategist Summers ( On Strategy : A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War ), who made some 125 television appearances during the Gulf war, here argues persuasively that changes in U.S. military doctrine, undertaken after the Vietnam war, helped U.S. forces prevail in the Gulf. Summers looks at overall strategy, not daily tactics. In Vietnam, he notes, the U.S. failed to follow the lesson of the classic war theorist Karl von Clausewitz: a successful war depends on public support. In the Gulf, Summers argues, such support was generated by participation of the reserves and the announcement of clear war goals. Moreover, after Vietnam, the military gave up its Cold War doctrine of limited war, its branches learned to work together and commanders finally stressed the training of troops for battle rather than troop maintenance and management. However, Summers fails to examine the role of oil in U.S war aims or why U.S. forces allowed Saddam Hussein to remain in power. He approvingly cites the international and Middle East coalitions against Iraq without noting the considerable arm-twisting by the U.S. Such lack of skepticism is perhaps predictable in a book dedicated to Summers's friend and Leavenworth classmate Gen. Colin Powell. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
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