We’re giving a book away this week! One lucky reader will win a book of their choice, choosing from seven of our newest titles. From now until Sunday, July 21, we will spotlight one of the books up for grabs on our blog. Answer our questions in the comments or on social media, and you’ll be entered into the drawing! For more details on the giveaway, CLICK HERE.
Today’s feature title is Landpower in the Long War: Projecting Force After 9/11 edited by Jason W. Warren. After fourteen years of war in the Middle East with dubious results, a diminished national reputation, and a continuing drawdown of troops, the role of landpower in US grand strategy must evolve with changing geopolitical situations, moving beyond the limited operational definition offered by Army doctrine.
In the book’s forward, historian and retired Lieutenant General Daniel P. Bolger explores the significance of this study. Take a look.
Daniel P. Bolger
The numbers always went our way. That is for sure. We had more troops, more planes, more ships, more ammunition, and way more money. We killed more of them—a lot more. We dug more wells, built more schools, and paved more roads. We even ran elections, helped introduce constitutions, and taught human rights. Day after day, week after week, year after year, we piled up achievements crowded onto reams of PowerPoint slides. The statistics looked terrific. But you know what they say in the NFL. Statistics are for losers. What matters is the final score.
On that stark basis, our military has much to answer for. We backed into misbegotten, multi-year, American-led counterinsurgencies in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Our numbers might have looked good. But those gritty guerrillas outlasted us. We pulled the plug. Rump governments hang on in both unhappy countries, backed by small U.S. and allied contingents narrowly constrained in what little they can do. Our insurgent, terrorist adversaries are as numerous as ever. Some show up on our doorstep now and then, bent on payback. Ugh.
Where does American landpower go from here? While our well-trained soldiers chased cranky goatherds and poked through trash piles looking for booby traps, the Chinese and the Russians rearmed and kept chipping away at the expense of weak neighbors. Dangerous regional troublemakers—North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others—did as they wished. We cannot afford to spend too much time on recriminations. Our opponents are on the move.
So we need to figure out what we just did to ourselves, why we did it, and what to do about it. That is what this book is all about. In compiling the volume, and hosting the affiliated conference and research, the U.S. Army War College continues in the tradition that underscored American victory in two world wars, the Cold War, and many lesser confrontations. It would be easy to avoid the troubling developments and frustrating results since the horrific AQ attacks of 9/11. Some want to do just that.
Fortunately, for our fellow citizens, our U.S. Army is not built that way, and the Army War College has taken a leading role in this painful but necessary self-assessment. The authors in this lineup seek understanding. They ask the hard questions. They do not always have answers. Some problems cannot be solved by landpower. Those might just be the most important lessons of all.
As unsatisfying as the major ground campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq turned out to be, we must be careful not to confuse rightful disquiet over indecisive wars of attrition with a misguided hope that we can give up on landpower as a fundamental of America’s superpower. People live on land, not in the skies or seas. Economic sanctions, offshore blockades, and the smartest of smart bombs only do so much. At some point, you have to take and hold the key ground. That takes landpower. And we must get it right. This book shows us the way.
A lot of ink gets spilled about the newest and most exciting scholarship, but we’re curious about what got you interested in military history or theory in the first place. Let us know in the comments and we’ll enter you into our giveaway!
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more chances to win Landpower in the Long War: Projecting Force After 9/11 or one of our other six books up for grabs this week. Click here for full giveaway details.