This hastily assembled after-action report illustrates the pitfalls of writing military history before the dust has settled. A big one is that, lacking the necessary time to discern the forest from the trees, the author's narrative remains a clutter of disconnected events, organized into somewhat arbitrary three or four day increments covering mostly the period up to the fall of Baghdad. Boyne (Weapons of Desert Storm; On Clash of Titans)is a retired Air Force colonel, and his bird's-eye-view account sometimes relegates the Army to the task of flushing the Iraqi defenders into the open to be detected and annihilated by""Olympian"" air power. The resulting turkey-shoot, he feels, vindicates the American military's futuristic""Revolution in Military Affairs"" doctrine, combining omniscient satellite and aerial surveillance systems, precision-guided bombs and missiles, and elite special forces, the whole organized by all-encompassing computer and communications networks. In Boyne's estimate, what went right was the high-tech, computerized hardware; what went wrong was mostly the occasional shortage of it (especially modernized helicopters, tankers and transport planes); and the war's unsung heroes are Pentagon procurement officials, whose decades-long struggle to defend big-ticket weapons systems like the B-1 bomber and the AWACS radar plane against media nay-sayers and Congressional cost-cutters he recounts at length. Embedded in the jumble of acronyms and military jargon is a wealth of data, including a 65-page appendix listing the technical specifications of every plane, ship and tank in the war. But Boyne's starry-eyed vision of what gold-plated weaponry can achieve seems a premature lesson to draw from a conflict that's far from over.
Reviewed on: 11/01/2003 Release date: 11/01/2003 Genre: Nonfiction