American military policy - new books


Book Reviewer
In yesterday's Guardian is this excellent essay by Pankaj Mishra, looking at the recent crop of books investigating US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 'asking whether a new president will change the crazy logic of American militarism'.

Here are the books he picks out from the new crop:
Dexter Filkins - The Forever War: dispatches from the War on Terror (Bodley Head) Dexter is an American journalist.

Raphael Patai - The Arab Mind (published 1973) This book is one the Neo-cons think is gospel - and opines that the only thing the denizens of the Middle East undertstand is force. 'With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects...we can convince these people we are here to help them'. It gives anthropology a bad name...

Bob Woodward - The War Within: A secret Whitehouse history 2006 - 2008 (Simon and Schuster)

Ricardo Sanchez - Wiser in Battle (Harper Collins) the memoir of the US Lieutenant General. This contains this fantastically temperate speech (!) from George Bush, showing how Vietnam was playing on his mind.

[align=center]'Kick ass! ... We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can't send that message. It's an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal ... There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!'[/align]

I just hope I never see that on a T shirt... to continue with the books..

Ahmed Rashid Descent into Chaos (Allan Lane)
Thomas Ricks Fiasco (Penguin)
Tariq Ali The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power (Simon and Schuster)

Mashra compares Filkin's The Forever War to Neil Sheehans A Bright Shining Lie. I agree with him this is the best book on Vietnam I've read (and I've read a fair few..) and worth getting for background to the way the current President's advisors are handling things.

Lawrence Freedman A Choice of Enemies - America confronts the Middle East (Weidenfield and Nicholson) - US foreign policy decisions from 1979.

Jimmy Carter's diaries are worth a read as well.

There you go. Some light reading for the long cold winter nights - or long hot sandy days, depending.
Written very candidly by a former US Colonel who lost a son in Iraq you might like to add to that list The Limits of Power; The end of American exceptionalism by Andrew J. Bacevich. It's a three pronged attack on American extravagance, politics & military strategy.

Mr Happy

the problem with american military books is that it appears the impossible to publish something without actually having a political slant.

Similar threads

Latest Threads