The New American Way of War: Military Culture and the Political Utility of Force

1st Edition

Ben Buley

Routledge
Published May 19, 2014
Reference
ISBN 9780415759755 - CAT# Y163181
Series: LSE International Studies Series

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Summary

This book explores the cultural history and future prospects of the so-called ‘new American way of war’. In recent decades, American military culture has become increasingly dominated by a vision of ‘immaculate destruction’, which reached its apogee with the fall of Baghdad in 2003. Operation Iraqi Freedom was hailed as the triumphant validation of this new American way of war. For its most enthusiastic supporters, it also encapsulated a broader political vision. By achieving complete technical mastery of the battlefield, the US would render warfare surgical, humane, and predictable, and become a precisely calibrated instrument of national policy.

American strategy has often been characterised as lacking in concern for the non-military consequences of actions. However, the chaotic aftermath of the Iraq War revealed the timeless truth that military success and political victory are not the same. In reality, the American way of war has frequently emerged as the contradictory expression of competing visions of war struggling for dominance since the early Cold War period. By tracing the origins and evolution of these competing views on the political utility of force, this book will set the currently popular image of a new American way of war in its broader historical, cultural and political context, and provide an assessment of its future prospects.

This book will be of great interest to students of strategic studies, military theory, US foreign policy and international politics. It will be highly relevant for military practitioners interested in the fundamental concepts which continue to drive American strategic thinking in the contemporary battlegrounds of the War on Terror.

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