Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 - Page 96

Knutson only briefly examines the critical role of the intelligence process, which drives everything from identifying future capabilities of potential adversaries, to the targeting of adversarial structures, to the post-strike assessment. Knutsen’s deferment to the private end of the bureaucratic battleground in the work’s conclusion, which underlies any weapons acquisition project, reveals a “pro-business” leaning. The migratory nature of managerial military personnel, piecemeal congressional budgeting, and excessive oversight “creep,” such as the Nunn–McCurdy Provision, certainly slow acquisition. However, those examples of development projects troubled by private fraud, waste, and abuse are conveniently absent from Knutsen’s concluding remarks. Knutsen’s work provides a compelling, albeit generalized, overview of the development and implementation of U.S. strike warfare. By using commonplace terminology and day-to-day comparisons, the author achieves his objective of bridging the gap between the fictional and technical. Strike Warfare in the 21st Century is an excellent introduction for the average citizen but also for military personnel unfamiliar with the topic. The increasingly joint nature of warfare necessitates that any commander possess an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of strike weapons, which provide life-or-death support within the contemporary operating environment. Knutsen skillfully contributes to this understanding within his appealing work on modern strike warfare. Viktor M. Stoll, Lee’s Summit, Missouri LOGICS OF WAR: Explanations for Limited and Unlimited Conflicts Alex Weisiger, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2013, 288 pages, $45.00 L ogics of War uses bargaining models to explain the intensity and duration of interstate conflicts. Its models are most useful at strategic or political-military policy levels. Logics of War contains no insight on how to conduct war, but is a must read for those concerned about war’s motivation, potential cost, duration, or intractability. Alex Weisiger makes two major contributions. First, he argues that 94 there are multiple paths to war–equifinality in academic jargon. This insight seems fitting given the complex nature of war and liberating by allowing his development of independent causal mechanisms. Second, his explanations are comprehensive, accounting for both short and long wars and variations in intensity. Logics of War is a political science book, which is at best moderately successful in explaining its statistical methods for the unfamiliar or out of practice. Statistical evidence is buttressed with case studies that any reader can understand. Because the book is not limited across time (after 1816) or space, Weisiger’s theories are not restricted to any particular war. As with any such literature, much depends on the validity and reliability of proxy variables. For example, concepts of power, commitment, trust, or leaders’ interpretation of information are either unavailable or unobservable. However, Weisiger designs and justifies his measures as well as or better than similar scientific literature. Weisiger’s choice of cases such as the Paraguayan War of 1864-1870, World War II in Europe and the Pacific, the Iran-Iraq War, the Falklands War, and the Persian Gulf War builds confidence in the statistical results. Logics of War characterizes leaders as information-bounded rational actors. Perhaps to appeal to a broader audience, the book avoids the term rational and fails to adequately explain the meaning of rationality paradigms. It is unclear whether this lessens or increases the risk of rejection of its theories. Uninitiated readers may be mystified by or suspicious of the abrupt introduction of bargaining models. In contrast, Weisiger clarifies and supports three causal mechanisms—over optimism, domestic principal-agent problems, and commitment problems—to explain war’s initiation, limitations (or lack thereof), and ease of settlement. Overoptimistic wars are fought because of