Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Fail.

AuthorHelicher, Karl
PositionBook review

Work Title: Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Fail

Work Author(s): Jeffrey Record

Potomac Books

192 pages, Hardcover $24.95


ISBN: 9781597970907

Reviewer: Karl Helicher

Should the American foreign policy establishment be surprised to find the nation bogged down in a stubborn war in Iraq, despite the United States' overwhelming military superiority? No, says Record, who in this pull-no-punches account tells why victory against Iraqi insurgents is doubtful. The author teaches strategy at the U.S. Air Force's Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama, and has written six books, including Dark Victory: America's Second War Against Iraq and Making War, Thinking History: Munich, Vietnam, and Presidential Uses of Force from Korea to Kosovo. Record was an adviser in Vietnam and earned his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. He also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to senators Sam Nunn and Lloyd Bentsen.

Record presents a cogent investigation of how small insurgencies can defeat major powers when they demonstrate a stronger political will to win, pursue effective strategies appropriate to non-conventional wars, and receive financial and/or military assistance from other countries. America's defeat of the British in the Revolutionary War because France provided both types of support substantiates this. Additionally, American troops fought a successful guerilla war to which the British did not respond effectively.

Unfortunately, Presidents Johnson and Nixon, the military, and the Departments of State and Defense forgot the Revolutionary War lessons during the Vietnam War. Here the communists, bolstered by...

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