The Pentagon and the Art of War

In This Review

The Pentagon and the Art of War

By Edward N. Luttwak
Simon & Schuster, 1985
333 pp. $17.95
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Edward Luttwak has a strong claim on being the most provocative military analyst of our times; this book will be no disappointment on that score. With verve and style he dissects the American military establishment, finding it top heavy with senior officers, rewarding incompetence, inefficient in its operations and unable to develop a coherent military strategy because of competing military bureaucracies. Some of the most interesting passages deal with the alleged debacles of U.S. military operations from Vietnam to Beirut to Grenada. The armed forces have failed us, Luttwak argues, and his remedy is a National Defense Staff of officers, not representing individual services, who can steer a "rudderless Pentagon." One can wonder whether Luttwak would ever be satisfied; nevertheless, this is a stimulating and controversial work.