- Series: Columbia Classics (Paperback)
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press; Revised edition (January 26, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231136676
- ISBN-13: 978-0231136679
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Every War Must End (Columbia Classics (Paperback)) Revised Edition
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The reissuing of Iklé's classic is to be welcomed...because it demonstrates how with clear prose, broad knowledge, and a sharp focus, a little book can address a big question. (Foreign Affairs)
About the Author
Fred Charles Ikle is distinguished scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was undersecretary of defense for policy in the Reagan administration. He is the author of How Nations Negotiate and lives in Washington, D. C.
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Ikle was Undersecretary of Defense for the Reagan administration. He is one of the original neocons. This book had an enormous influence on how Bush I and Powell decided to end our first Gulf War. He revised this book in 1991 and revised it again and wrote a new intro in 2005.
My point is that this man is no cut and run liberal (and I should admit that, right now, I am leaning toward just that position). However, what makes Ikle stand out from his demented neocon brethren is that he is willing to face up to ALL of the possibilities, the difficulties and the ambiguities that are inherent in any foreign policy, let alone a war. He mentions many of the wars and theatres of those wars in the twentiety century and points out how many times politicians and generals went wrong because they would not 1. clearly set out the goals they were trying to accomplish in a war and 2. constantly reevaluate those goals in light of the developing situation.
Ikle outlines a few of the difficulties that are obstacles to such a course. Rather prophetically, he talks about how difficult it is to get good intelligence to base your policies on. Sources from within the country of your opponent may mislead you for their own purposes. Agencies within your own government are posturing with the intelligence to protect their influence. Does any of this sound familiar?
In one of my favorite chapters of this book, Ikle talks about a tendency that occurs when things start to get difficult in a war. Those who are supporters of the war will start posturing as patriots and referring to the opponents of the war as traitors (or, in the parlance of the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, as "surrender monkeys"). Again does this sound at all familiar?
Here is another one for ya. Ilke argues that it is essential to know why exactly you are fighting. Otherwise, you will never really know when you have won. It is very clear that the whole WMD was just what Rumsfeld or Cheney (I have forgotten which- neither one of them has said anything about the war that is worth remembering in a positive sense) said it was-the one justification they "could all agree on." The role of America as the Great Democratizer has faded into memory. Now we are left with The MisDecider telling us that it is all about leaving Iraq with "a viable government" What does that mean? How is that different from what they had under Sadam?
Here is my main point. Here is what makes me so angry. Powell, Rumsfeld, and Cheney all read this book back before the first Gulf War. Nothing has changed in the world to make the recommendations of this book any less vital. These men and women were supposed to be the most experienced foreign and military people the Republicans had produced (which should blow all claims to the Republicans being the party of security out of the water). They ignored these lessons because they choose to and went ahead and made what may be the most serious strategic error since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union.
I am hopeful that the Dems now have more power but only slightly so. We need to have a serious discussion now. Not posturing. It may be that we should simply leave at this point because the decline of Iraq into chaos is inevitable. But as someone who is an internationalist, I think we need to look long and hard at the results of doing that before we simply do so. We owe it to the people of Iraq and the surrounding area to do whatever we can to minimize their suffering, to restore a working infrastructure and government to their country and to restore peace to their daily lives. Facing up and discussing the issues as suggested by Ilke is our duty as a democratic polity. There are no easy answers here except for the obvious fact that we cannot rely on Bush and his minions to do what needs to be done.
Give this book a read. It is not gracefully written but it is short and direct. You may find it one of the strangest ironies of our time that one of the most telling critiques of the administration comes from someone who is their ally. The main difference between Ikle and people like Bush is that Ikle takes the world more seriously than his ideology.
World War II was fought until the Unconditional Surrender of the Germans and Japanese. Something that thinkers still debate as having made them fight all that harder.
VietNam was fought with no clear end in sight, and "another VietNam" entered our language.
The first Gulf War was ended when Colin Powell and Bush II debated how to end the war. They stopped before they had to go in and see what the Sunni's, Shiite's and Kurds made of the power vacuum left by the removal of Saddam would have created. Bush II is learning about this now.
This is the second revised edition of this book, originally published in 1971 and then updated in 1991 and now 2005 to reflect happenings in new wars.
Still some of the old wars had interesting insights that I didn't know before, such as how Finland, originally on Germany's side against Russia, made a peace with Russia and kicked the Germans out before they became a Russian province. Great Book.
The book was first written in 1971, and most of the examples are from the two world wars. The work is still extremely relevant, and at 130 pages it's well worth the time.
Highly recommended as a first book to read on ending war.