Academic journal article Military Review

To End A War

Academic journal article Military Review

To End A War

Article excerpt

TO END A WAR, Richard Holbrooke, The Modern Library, New York, 1999, 410 pages, $27.95.

Richard Holbrooke's memoir, To End a War, is the story of the haggling that eventually produced the Dayton Accords. Support to peace operations is an essential task for the Army and one that will be a part of the spectrum of Army missions for years and probably decades.

Operations to sustain and move refugees at the end of the Gulf War and operations in Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo are typical of those that followed the Cold War. Understanding how these missions develop at the national level is critical.

Holbrooke's book is his surprisingly honest perspective on the development of the Dayton Accords, despite the fact that he comes through as arrogant, acerbic, opinionated and not particularly fair. But Holbrooke does not claim objectivity. Since he was the architect of the Dayton Accords, his view is the one that counts and is indispensable to understanding how the peace we currently have in Bosnia evolved.

Just as every author has a point of view, so do reviewers. I led a brigade into Bosnia in December 1995 and therefore cannot pretend to be objective. My viewpoint stems from the conviction that it is soldiers' business to execute-not to determine-policy. Thus this review comes from a low-level executor of the policy Holbrooke developed.

Actual events at the peace conference make fascinating reading. Shuttling between belligerents, Holbrooke worked hard to find a solution that would assure Muslim survival and dissolve the Bosnian Serb republic. …

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