In his opening remarks, Smith provocatively states, "war no longer exists." Of course, he does not mean that mass organized violence has ended; rather, he refers to the end of large-scale industrialized warfare characterized by the use of massive tank columns supported by the application of intensive air power. Smith, who spent 40 years in the British army, including service in the first Gulf War, Bosnia, and Northern Ireland, maintains the development of nuclear weapons has essentially made such warfare obsolete. Current and especially future wars fought by Western powers are likely to be low-intensity conflicts, often waged against stateless opponents. Because it is not practical or even possible to win these struggles through the application of purely military force, Smith insists a revolution, or new paradigm, must occur in our conception of these struggles. As a start, we must understand the political context in which our adversaries act. Once identified, political objectives must always drive the military efforts, Smith insists, even at the expense of "sound" military strategy. Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"Smith has written one of the most important books on modern warfare in the last decade. We would be better off if the United States had a few more generals like him."
--Eliot A. Cohen, The Washington Post Book World
"An impressive and absorbing work of military analysis . . . If, in the end, he does not quite solve the riddle of how to win the small wars of our time, he brilliantly lays bare the newfound limits of Western military power. The more Iraq looks like Bosnia on the Tigris . . . the more prescient his book will seem."
--Niall Ferguson, The New York Times Book Review
"Rupert Smith's The Utility of Force
remains the seminal work on this subject. While others have added invaluable data . . . they fail to understand as Smith does that we live in a new era."
--Stephen Graubard, Financial Times