"Fighting the War on Terror"

Just before I left for Ampleforth on Monday, a packet from Amazon dropped through the letter box. it was the new book by my friend Jim Corum "Fighting the War on Terror. A counterinsurgency strategy." I came to know Jim at Oxford in the late 1970s when he was there studying medieval history. He had been commissioned in the Intel Corps in 1976. On returning to the States, he went back into the military. His was on active service in Iraq in 2004. I last saw him when he was in England as a visiting fellow at All Souls College doing the research for this book. He is an associate professor a the US Army Command and General Staff College in the Department of Joint and Multinational Operations at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and used to teach at the Air University, giving the course on "Terrorism and Small Wars."

Jim is a very engaging writer, making military doctrine accessible to the general reader. He has a great admiration for the British operation against the insurgents in Malaya and draws much from the lessons learnt there. This book also has chapters on the reform of the "dysfunctional culture" of the Intelligence services and on the use of the media in the battle for hearts and minds.

The book is timely given the problems that have arisen in the aftermath of the Iraq war and the failure to follow the doctrine of Clausewitz that "war has to be treated as part of some other whole; the name of which is policy." Sir Michael Howard has written a foreword for the book, outlining various lessons that the US should have learnt from the past. He says:
"It might have been expected that the United States would have learned all these lessons a generation ago in Vietnam, but apparently it did not. Now that it is having to start all over again, this book is a very good place to begin."

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