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Through the Year with Master D: Military Science

April 11, 2011 by Reader's Connection

As our journey through the Dewey Decimal System reaches the 300´s, we must pause. This breathtaking social sciences grouping includes true crime, education, military science, folklore, etiquette and transportation. And insurance. And anthropology. Aiming for the subject about which I knew the least (the competition was stiff) I went for military science.

The 000s. Generalities
The 100′s: Philosophy & Psychology Three Questions We Never Stop Asking
The 200′s: Religion What Was Lost: A Christian Journey through Miscarriage

The 300s. Social Sciences

The 400s. Language
The 500s. Natural Sciences & Mathematics
The 600s. Technology (Applied Sciences)
The 700s. The Arts
The 800s. Literature & Rhetoric
The 900s. History & Geography

  

355.00973 ROS

How Wars End : Why We Always Fight the Last Battle : A History of American Intervention from World War I to Afghanistan by Gideon Rose

How Wars EndTwo subtitles! It’s a subtitle sandwich! The final title, about American intervention, lets you know about the book’s scope. The author jumps from endgame to endgame through almost a century of American warring, and at first I thought I’d rather read a complete history of any one of the wars; but when I gave Mr. Rose a chance, I was fascinated.

He feels that American leaders have a habit of dividing the military and political aspects of war too sharply–the kind of world that should be left when the war is over has been of too little concern to the military leaders during wartime.

Another habit is drawing the wrong lessons from previous conflicts. The kind of fighting (and threatening) that helped us establish a permanent line between North and South Korea, for example, would surely do the same in Vietnam. Some wars come off worse than others, but no one gets an A+. If you don’t like the way Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger gathered all decision-making powers unto themselves during the Vietnam War, look back at the way Franklin Roosevelt, during  World War II, “preferred to conduct all important wartime diplomacy through personal summitry” and “sought to increase both structural and functional ambiguities within the executive branch in order to better preside over it.”

It helps if you know ahead of time that various wars took place, but Mr. Rose, the editor of Foreign Affairs, has provided an engaging read even for those who, like myself, are no military historians.

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