America's Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam

America's Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam

America's Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam


“A well researched and well analyzed study of the nature of insurgencies and guerilla warfare” (Military Review).

The fighting skills and valor of the US military and its allies haven’t diminished over the past half-century—yet our wars have become more protracted and decisive results more elusive. With only two exceptions—Panama and the Gulf War under the first President Bush—our campaigns have taken on the character of endless slogs without positive results. This fascinating book takes a ground-up look at the problem to assess how our strategic objectives have become divorced from our true capability or imperatives.

The book presents a unique examination of the nature of insurgencies and the three major guerrilla wars the United States has fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam. It is both a theoretical work and one that applies the hard experience of the past five decades to address the issues of today. As such, it also provides a timely and meaningful discussion of America’s current geopolitical position.

It starts with the previously close-held casualty estimate for Iraq that The Dupuy Institute compiled in 2004 for the US Department of Defense. Going from the practical to the theoretical, it then discusses a construct for understanding insurgencies and the contexts in which they can be fought. It applies these principles to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam, assessing where the projection of US power can enhance our position and where it merely weakens it.

It presents an extensive analysis of insurgencies based upon a unique database of eighty-three post-WWII cases. The book explores what is important to combat and what is not important to resist in insurgencies. It builds a body of knowledge, based upon a half-century’s worth of real-world data, with analysis, not opinion. In these pages, Christopher A. Lawrence, the President of The Dupuy Institute, provides an invaluable guide to how the US can best project its vital power while avoiding the missteps of the recent past.

“Provides a unique quantitative historical analysis … Logically estimating the outcomes of future military operations, as the author writes, is what US citizens should expect and demand from their leaders who take this country to war. ” —Military Review


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