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  Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat
TitleWaging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat
Last ModifiedArmyDem - August 15, 2003 05:08pm
DescriptionU.S. Army General Clark describes this account of his tenure as commander of the 1999 Kosovo operation as a personal memoir. But the book, Clark's first, uses a narrative of the campaign as the springboard for a provocative analysis of contemporary war. Clark, in contrast to other American military leaders, places protecting human rights among U.S. vital interests. By the time diplomatic and political options have been exhausted and armed force is employed, he notes, the stakes have become too high for defeat or withdrawal to be acceptable. The military effort is thus impelled by political factors (and political failures), which in turn renders difficult the application of traditional "principles of war" that focus on quick, decisive victory. Military options are further restricted, Clark notes, by dynamics within both the general public and the armed forces that make unacceptable both taking casualties and inflicting them in any number. Clark correspondingly regards air campaigns, along the lines developed in Kosovo but with improved technology, better intelligence and a more sophisticated public-relations element, as the most generally acceptable future form of large-scale military action. Ground operations, he declares, are currently too slow, too costly, too indecisive and too unpredictable to be a first choice in the complicated political and diplomatic matrices of modern warmaking. Instead, Clark favors developing a more mobile, more deployable U.S. army, and urges considering Europe's relatively successful experience in constabulary-type missions. In the same context, Clark disparages the prospects of unilateral action, instead arguing for the overriding importance of maintaining integrated, allied military operations. Clark's affirmation of the continued importance of NATO is, however, balanced by his demonstration that, as supreme allied commander, Europe, he still retained ample authority to protect U.S. interests. Complex and controversial, this work merits wide public discussion for its analysis of a superpower's role in a regional conflict the sort the U.S. will most likely continue to face in the coming decade.

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