In This Review

Lifting the Fog of War
Lifting the Fog of War
By William A. Owens with Ed Offley
Farrar, 2000, 256 pp
Purchase

For traditionalists, military historians, and the poor, bloody infantry of all ages, the "fog of war" refers to the atmosphere of uncertainty, hazard, and blundering that has always characterized war and always will. Owens makes clear that he believes otherwise. As vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he made his reputation by vigorously opposing service prerogatives and advocating the "revolution in military affairs" -- which he defined as a harmonious integration of technologies that can locate and identify friendly and enemy forces in any 40,000 square mile area, coordinate military activity against various targets, and fire precisely on them. This book is part bureaucratic memoir and part restatement (in bullet format) of his views, and Owens is intentionally provocative in both his choice of title and his predictions. He writes not as an evaluator of an unfolding phenomenon but as a prophet who articulates a Truth and heaps derision on unbelievers. Some will consider Owens' vision inspired; others will call it mere hubris. The jury is still out.