Review Essay

Compromised Command

In This Review

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat
By General Wesley K. Clark
PublicAffairs, 2001, 479 pp. $30.00 Purchase

As NATO's Supreme Commander during the air war over Kosovo, Wesley Clark should have been the most supreme commander ever. In theory, he controlled history's biggest and broadest alliance in its first venture into combat. In fact, however, his command was compromised by more conflicting pressures -- political, diplomatic, military, and legal -- than any other in history. Given these constraints, keeping the enterprise from flying apart was no mean feat, and Clark has a right to be proud of the victory he helped to achieve. But the story he tells in Waging Modern War makes one wonder how much that victory owed to luck -- despite the utterly lopsided balance of power between the West and Serbia. As Clark's account suggests, we have reason to worry if NATO ever has to maintain solidarity and combat effectiveness in a fair fight.

Many of the problems Clark confronted were typical of

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