Academic journal article Military Review

THE LONG WAR: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy since World War II

Academic journal article Military Review

THE LONG WAR: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy since World War II

Article excerpt

THE LONG WAR: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World War II, Andrew J. Bacevich, ed., Columbia University Press, NY, 2007, $75.00.

Books sometimes promise more than they deliver. Despite the contemporary hook in its title, The Long War is not about the global War on Terror, nor is it really about the Cold War. Consisting of a collection of essays, some by significant scholars, it mainly reprises old ideas and posits conventional partisan disagreements with Bush administration polices in Iraq and in the War on Terror.

The estimable Andrew Bacevich, compiled the essays in Long War but their quality is extremely uneven. The first, by Arnold A. Offner, purports to assess the Bush administration policy espoused in the 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS) in light of American foreign policy since the founding of the republic. Instead, it roughly characterizes more than 200 years of history, and then attacks the 2002 NSS over three pages that owe more to the op-ed section of the New York Times than to reasoned historical assessment. The very next essay, entitled "The American Way of War," by James Kurth, simply fails to prove its case that the American way of war has gone through four major transformations since World War II. …

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