Academic journal article Military Review

Endless War

Academic journal article Military Review

Endless War

Article excerpt

ENDLESS WAR, Ralph Peters, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA, 2010, 273 pages, $27.95.

Ralph Peters writes books as fast as other mortals write newspaper articles. This is not surprising when we realize that his nonfiction books are generally anthologies of articles, most of which had already been published in popular magazines or newspapers. This is not to say that his work lacks interest. On the contrary, because he has taken on the role as the curmudgeon of the foreign policy and military establishments, you are sure to find some stimulating and politically incorrect ideas, mostly directed against the "liberal" wing of the government and the press, but sometimes at what he almost always perceives as a tradition-bound and inflexible military bureaucracy.

As always, Peters' sympathies are clear. He takes the side of the Soldier or Marine in the foxhole who attempts to carry out orders as best he or she can despite indecisive leaders and contradicting policies while encumbered by restrictive rules of engagement, foreign alliances, and legal entanglements. This current crop of readings lacks substance, and each reading is on average only two or three pages long, long enough to state an opinion but not enough to provide a reasoned argument based on clear facts.

Perhaps the most provocative offerings are "Wishful Thinking and Indecisive Wars," "Learning to Lose," and the "Geezer Brigade," respectively on the problems posed by a lack of understanding of the realities of warfare and especially of Islamist terrorism; a somewhat confused rant against military education, which nonetheless calls for linguistic expertise in the operational force; and an interesting appeal for the creative use of retired military personnel - not contractors - to augment the active force. …

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