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Worst Enemy: The Reluctant Transformation of the American Military Hardcover – April 4, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee, Publisher (April 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566637503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566637503
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #995,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

As we extricate ourselves from Iraq, the U.S. military, and particularly our ground combat forces, must be restored, and they must be restructured and reformed for the 21st century's new challenges. No better manual exists for how and why this should be done than John Arquilla's well-reasoned, thoughtful, and enlightened analysis. America's leaders, in and out of uniform, must pay heed if our security is to be guaranteed. (Gary Hart)

This is a warning, by someone who knows, that we, the people, must find ways to help our military do what it seems incapable of doing—revolutionize its approach to dealing with terrorism and other international threats. But Arquilla, unlike many who seek revolutionary change, makes his case with style and sly wit—often leaving us laughing through our tears. (Seymour Hersh)

John Arquilla's book is magnificent. It presents the clearest, most coherent and most convincing argument for radical change in our military that I have ever seen. He shows that a reconstituted U.S. military, networked together and moving at light speed, can work far more effectively with less than a quarter of its present strength, and can dispense entirely with that 'emblem of hierarchy,' the Pentagon. (Bevin Alexander)

John Arquilla's work is a mind bomb—it explodes the archaic assumptions that continue to hamper the US military's performance in the 21st Century. We either listen to John or pay the price. (John Robb)

His book is a compelling one, and a worthwhile read in particular for those of us with rare access to the perspective of military leaders and strategists. (Gemma Cooper-Novack Feminist Review Blog)

Worst Enemy offers not just the usual critical insights into what has gone wrong, but offers solutions to remedy problems in American defense policies, and comes from a professor of defense analysis. As such, it's an excellent survey… (Midwest Book Review)

[Arquilla] offers an insider's account of the bureaucratic turf wars over military transformation and discusses the challenges in trying to push innovation amongst America's hidebound military. (Book News, Inc.)

The author writes clearly and explains himself as he goes along, for the benefit of readers lacking a military background. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

About the Author

John Arquilla is professor of defense analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. A Ph.D. graduate of Stanford and a former policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, he has also written The Reagan Imprint, From Troy to Entebbe, In Athena's Camp, and Networks and Netwars. He lives in Monterey.

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Harrold on April 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Arquilla's Worst Enemy is a disappointment, especially since the book is written by a former DOD official who now instructs at the Naval Postgraduate School, where the military sends some of its brightest young field-grade officers. My sense in reading the book was that Mr. Arquilla had a deadline to meet and ended up cranking out a hurried product. The result is a book that tries to cover too much ground and uses weak arguments to make its points. That's a shame, too, because some of the issues Mr. Arquilla discusses need to be debated.
In one chapter, Mr. Arquilla criticizes the Air Force for its almost religious attachment to the doctrine of strategic bombing. A legitimate issue to discuss. But then he goes on to prove his point by saying that Allied air power failed to dislodge Saddam Hussein from rule during Desert Storm, and so that proves that strategic bombing was a failure. In fact, Saddam Hussein remained because President Bush Sr. knew the coalition would fall apart if we tried to remove Saddam from power. So we chose instead a strategy of containing Saddam. The failure to remove Saddam was a lot more complicated than just the relative success or failure of strategic bombing.
In another chapter, Mr. Arquilla discusses sexual assualt in the military. Again, this is a topic that should be discussed and debated. But again, he uses poor examples. He says Army Specialist Lynndie England (later court-martialed and convicted of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib) was "impregnated" by a male soldier. True, but she became pregnant as a result of consensual sex. So how does this even speak to sexual assault? In the same chapter, Mr. Arquilla says the military needs to prosecute sexual assualt.
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
For several years now the U.S. has been making staggering expenditures on its military might - but has shown few actual signs of learning new ways of subduing terrorism and its networks. WORST ENEMY: THE RELUCTANT TRANSFORMATION OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY offers not just the usual critical insights into what has gone wrong, but offers solutions to remedy problems in American defense policies, and comes from a professor of defense analysis. As such, it's an excellent survey for any military library or any college-level collection strong in military analysis and discussion.
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19 of 39 people found the following review helpful By lordhoot on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
From reading this book, our worst enemy appears to be the author who advocate shortsighted remedies for our nation's military and take a wrong lessons from past to create his current solutions. In this book, the author take us to tasks on all that is wrong with our military, its sizes, its spending habits and its strategies and tactics. He based greatly on what is going on today to say that we don't need carrier groups, that our army can be 100,000 and that is enough or the Marines Corps should be reduced to 30,000 from today's strength of 193,000. He claims that warfare fought today do not required such massive military forces and money (once again it all about the money) could be spend else where.

What the author and his book totally failed to realized is that our military is a reflection of our economic, political and military strength. Or it could reflect those weaknesses as well. Determining our military policies based on what kind of enemy we are fighting today will leave us totally vulnerable to any future enemies we may have to fight. Our next enemy might be North Korea or even China, both got military forces that can take massive hits from us and counter with their own. The author would have the military back in pre-Pearl Harbor mode by his solutions and once more, money appears to be the cause of his mantra. Defense expenditure is the price of being a great power in our world but this author would have us believed that we don't have to pay the piper for our standing in this world.

Take our carrier forces for example which the author regards as useless, wasteful and highly vulnerable.
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