Some academics can see clearly what military generals and Pentagon civilian planners apparently cannot—that the nature of warfare has changed drastically in the past few decades. Shultz and Dew, of the Tufts University International Security Studies Program, grasp that combat involving nongovernment forces calls for innovative tactics by the U.S. military. Failing to understand the changed nature of warfare can lead to deadly consequences, the authors write, as the Iraq insurgency shows. This scholarly book is grounded in warfare theory, but is easily accessible for generalist readers. Looking at post-1990 conflicts in Somalia, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq, "in which the armies of modern nation-states fought armed groups, often with great difficulty, in traditional societal settings," Shultz and Dew propose new taxonomies, describe the reasons nongovernment combatants wage war, and the nontraditional approaches those combatants use. Government strategists hoping to defeat these nonstate warriors must learn about the cultures and traditions of those groups rather than relying solely on how much firepower they possess, the authors argue. Helpfully moving beyond theory, they suggest ways that Pentagon policy makers and field commanders can mine historical, anthropological and cultural studies to understand shadowy enemies. (Aug.)
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If you are interested in either irregular warfare or counterinsurgency, you should add this book to your reading list.
Like it or not, the wars of tomorrow will be fought by small units of fighters who will operate unconventionally. Shultz and Dew have written a first-rate primer about these warriors of contemporary combat. Most importantly, they tell all who careincluding, one hopes, the decision makers in the Pentagon and White Housea great deal about how to fight in places like Afghanistan and Iraq before things go wrong. Is anyone listening?
(Seymour M. Hersh, author of Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib
Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias authoritatively traces the evolution of conflict in the twenty-first century and incisively analyzes the formidable national security challenges confronting both established nation-states and the international system. The concluding section's discussion of lessons learned for policymakers, military planners, and intelligence analysts makes the book an especially valuable contribution to the literature.
(Bruce Hoffman, author of Inside Terrorism
and senior fellow, Combating Terrorism Center, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY)
This scholarly book is grounded in warfare theory, but is easily accessible for generalist readers.
Wise and cogent.
(Robert Kaplan Wall Street Journal
This is one in a handful of truly important books... It is fresh, innovative and immensely informative.
(Michael J. Bonafield Star Tribune
[Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias] should be on every Pentagon reading list.
(Austin Bay Human Events Online
[They] have done more than write a book on America's new enemies. The two authors have done a public service.
(Rowan Scarborough The Washington Times
A succinct and well-presented history of the birth and growth of the extremist Muslim fundamentalist political movement.
(Col. Will Holahan Officer
Thoroughly researched and highly readable.... Examines how non-state armies fight, identifies the patterns and trends of their combat, and recommends how conventional militaries can defeat these irregular... organizations.
(LtCol Charles L. Armstrong Marine Corps Gazette
Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias is a useful introduction to the topic of traditional warriors and modern warfare.
(Walter Ladwig Military Review
[This book] provides valuable insight on what must be considered to set conditions for the commitment of military forces in future conflicts.
(Proceedings Magazine, US Naval Institute
An excellent primer on the nature of warfare and our likely enemies in the twenty-first century.
This is undoubtedly the single best book written on what has become a true global war on terror.
(Leo J. Daugherty, III, Ph.D. Journal of Slavic Military Studies
[An] excellent study.
(Depaak Lal The International History
Highly recommended for all senior policymakers, military planners, and soldiers on the ground who will have to confront traditional warriors face to face.
(Canadian Military Journal
The book offers an excellent model