Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Arik, Apr 24, 2008.
The heart of the site is the forum area, including:
The book sounds like a heavy read, but has some interesting points:
Top hole book and - as suggested - extremely apposite to the IDF, not only in their operations in Lebanon but also in the Occupied Territories (as well as Iraq/Afghanistan etc etc)
As Smith himself argues, 'war amongst the poeple' is nothing new - it is simply that a century or so where industrialised warfare was, if not necessarily the norm, at least hugely significant, is now over and we are returning to a more traditional understanding of the value - and limitations - of force.
A fact filled book that is painful beyond belief to read. He does not offer any great insight on doing things differently. A much better read on the same subject is "The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century", written in a style that makes it a pleasure to read and daring to offer some honest insights and possible solutions.
[edited to correct things]
I got the impression that he'd spent his last few months in uniform wandering the international convention circuit, taking notes to write up as a best-seller. The first half of the book in which he reviewed previous paradigms was not really anything new, and the most significant phrase in the thing was, 'war-amongst-the-people'.
An okay read but nothing ground breaking, I would have said.
Certainly DCDC's take on the whole thing when it was first published, was that the 'interesting times' which we currently inhabit are likely to be a hiatus in the on-going paradigm of industrial war, as conflict over resources, demographics and power politics once again lead us towards large scale conventional warfighting. Sumarised HERE with those for a hour or two to kill, and an overwhelming urge to become survivalists...
Haven't spent an hour, however from 5 mins skimming the following quote does not wholly back-up this assertion:
Edited to add - competition over limited resources is hardly the newest theme in the history of human conflict. Whether one nation state will choose to either attempt to entirely destroy, or at very least violently subjugate on a semi-permanent basis, another nation state in pursuit of dwindling resources (but increased globalisation) is not argued.
It does the way I read it, though I must admit that that was 18 months or so ago. Certainly it was the jist of the way it was presented by DG DCDC at the tail end of '06. It's easier once you reverse the order of the two paragraphs which you've quoted, so that they're in chronological order: increasingly 'interesting times' out to the 25 or 30 year point, followed by a return to an inter-state war paradigm beyond that point, as a result of demographic pressures on increasingly over-demanded global resources.
On the other hand, I can quite see Lewis Page, for one, arguing that a Rear Admiral and four or five half colonels sharing an office, have a vested interest in maintaining the Clauswitzian war-fighting oriented culture of the British military complex...
Call me a cynic, but I thought the 'accident' occured because 'the journos' were actually Chinese Intelligence officers who got bombed for passing info they were gathering to their Serb hosts. China knows, America knows and China knows America knows (now). Its just one of those little things. Like the Madaliene Albright (sp) bombing the RUF in Sierra Leone - they didn't. But a plane did take off with bombs. And it returned without them. And there were big explosions in Free Town..
Or is that not an open secret?
I found it an excellent read and indeed quoted it several times in my MSc dissertation. It is very well written and readable, bearing in mind books like this are normally dry as sandpaper.
Last year I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours chatting with the general about his book and other wider matters, while he was at my office waiting.
Separate names with a comma.