Saturday, April 14, 2007

All Wars Must End

I was sufficiently interested in Ikle's book, Every War Must End, that I picked up a copy at the library. It's a short work, about 130 pages long. The book was initially published in 1971, revised editions were put out for the Gulf War in 1991 and Gulf War II in 2005.

I was surprised how lenient the author was in discussing Gulf War II in the new preface. Powell consciously followed Ikle's work in managing the first Gulf War, and neocons consciously ignored it(and Powell) in managing the second. On the first page where I expect to see Bush and Rumsfeld being dragged over coals, there is instead a discussion of the difficulty of applying lessons learned in previous wars.

I think you get a sense of where the author's head is by comparing the first lines of the revised prefaces.
1991: "Wars transform the future."
2005: "History is a cruel tutor."

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