Cover image for Winning modern wars : Iraq, terrorism, and the American empire
Winning modern wars : Iraq, terrorism, and the American empire
Clark, Wesley K.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Public Affairs, [2003]

Physical Description:
218 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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DS79.76 .C58 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DS79.76 .C58 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DS79.76 .C58 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DS79.76 .C58 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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General Wesley K. Clark's Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat, a Washington Post bestseller, examined his experience directing the NATO-led war in Kosovo. As Clark saw it, the Kosovo war - limited in scope, measured in effect, extraordinarily complex in execution, waged with an uneven coalition, with instantaneous media coverage, and with a duration measured in days and not years, would serve as a model for contemporary war. He has been proven right.

Author Notes

General Wesley K. Clark, U.S.A. (Ret.), was Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, from 1997 to 2000. General Clark ran for President in 2003-2004

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

The title will hardly rouse readers, and the book will be read with the assumption that Clark knew he was running for president as he penned it. (In fact, it's a follow-up of sorts to Clark's earlier tome, Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat, 2002). Whatever his motives this time, Clark delivers a straightforward account of the war in Iraq and then offers his opinions on the mistakes that were made in its aftermath. The first half of the book will appeal most to military buffs as Clark goes over the events leading up to Operation Iraqi Freedom (Clark, a four-star general, oversaw the no-fly zone in Iraq for a period), including the Gulf War, and details the battlefield strategies that brought the U.S. an easy victory. During this discussion, Clark seems to have on his CNN commentator's cap, writing in a neutral tone that has a you-are-there appeal. It is later, when Clark discusses the postwar period, that he sounds, if not passionate, then at least more involved, as he details the weaknesses of the U.S. case against Iraq and explains how the military operation undermined the overall war on terrorism. Most of what Clark writes about the aftermath of the war has already been noted by various critics; this has particular interest because of who is saying it. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

While this work's origins do not seem to lie in its author's presidential ambitions, its publication is clearly timed to reinforce General Clark's newly announced candidacy. The effect is a work with a split personality. Its first half is a narrative and analysis of the military campaign that overthrew Saddam Hussein's government in three weeks during the spring of 2003. Clark, a highly visible commentator during the operation, describes the U.S. ability to synchronize firepower and maneuvers as decisive in crushing an Iraqi army whose fighting power had been significantly overestimated. He is appropriately enthusiastic about the competence displayed at all levels, from the senior headquarters down to companies and platoons. He recognizes a level of flexibility and a readiness to take risks that are unusual, if not unique, in U.S. military operations, even though both seem to make him uncomfortable. The plan, Clark argues, took unnecessary risks by skimping on the forces committed. More seriouslyAand here the work shifts focus and becomes a campaign statementAthe Bush administration, he says, was so focused on winning the military war that it made inadequate preparations for occupation and reconstruction. Clark argues that the administration has refused to seek legitimacy from the U.N. and NATO, or to build on the international sympathy manifested immediately after 9/11. The strategic result, Clark says, has been a loss of focus on what he calls the "real war" against terrorism, a neglect of domestic security and a concentration on preemptively challenging purportedly hostile states. The practical consequences, he believes, include a series of wasted opportunities in Afghanistan, a possible quagmire in Iraq and the increasing isolation of a U.S. that uses war as a first option instead of a last resort. Clark concludes by calling for a return to international cooperation combined with greater emphasis on a sound economy. (Oct. 14) Forecast: As a political statement, this book is appropriately timed, but expect rebuttals of substance. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Certainly, few people will dispute America's vital leadership role in the victory during World War II and the Cold War. Now, after more than a decade without a peer rival, the United States finds itself bogged down in Iraq, with victory costing billions of dollars and a constant stream of human casualties. In this work of military and political analysis, General Clark, formerly supreme allied commander in Europe and currently a Presidential candidate, challenges the administration's fundamental strategy for going to war with Iraq. He argues that flawed pre- and postwar planning diverted vital American resources from the war on terror. In his arguments, General Clark fundamentally outlines how America, and especially its leaders, lost credibility. (For an excellent discussion of credibility and leadership, interested readers should seek out James Kouzes and Barry Posner's Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It.) Clark concludes with his vision for the future but provides little detail or framework on how he proposes we get there. Winning Modern Wars should-and probably will-be widely read during this most anticipated election year. Well written, to the point, and easy to read, Clark's effort is highly recommended for all libraries.-Lt. Col. Charles M. Minyard (ret.), U.S. Army, Blountstown, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This book is a remarkable achievement. Clark completed it within months of the conclusion of the battlefield campaign period of the ongoing war in Iraq. His discussion of the period just prior to the outbreak of hostilities and the military campaign itself is meticulous, comprehensive, and largely critical. In addition, he offers an especially insightful and impressive analysis of the postmilitary campaign period in which the US attempts to deal with continued insurgencies and the daunting tasks of rebuilding are chronicled and criticized. General Clark's perspective as a military leader adds substance to his analysis of military strategy. However, he stretches well beyond military considerations and explores with a very able grasp the interaction of political, diplomatic, and social components that he asserts are at the heart of engaging successfully in modern wars. Clark is convincing in his claim that this book was not intended as a partisan attack on the Bush administration to bolster his presidential ambitions. He argues instead that his uneasiness with the actions of the Bush administration was the motivation for him to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels. P. Watanabe University of Massachusetts at Boston

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Editionp. VII
Introductionp. XI
1 Gulf War, Round Twop. 1
2 Rolling Northp. 31
3 Decisive Operationsp. 61
4 The Real War: Terrorismp. 103
5 Flawed Arguments, Flawed Strategyp. 137
6 Beyond Empire: A New Americap. 161
Appendixp. 201
Notesp. 205
Acknowledgmentsp. 207
Indexp. 209