W. Thomas Smith, Jr

Twenty-five years ago, while a young student of military science, I was often found with my head in the books of the great post-Marlborough masters of strategy – Men like Antoine Jomini, Frederick the Great, and Carl von Clausewitz: The latter of whom, it has been said, “distilled Napoleon into theory.”

They were not the only military theorists I studied, but I do remember wondering if there would ever be another work like Jomini’s “The Art of War” or von Clausewitz’ “On War,” that would succinctly lay out principles of fighting and winning wars of the future.

After all, most of the books, treatises, field manuals, and documents on the subject – including the U.S. Army’s periodically updated “Principles of War” (and later the Marine Corps’ “Warfighting”) – published after the close of the 19th century were based in large measure on the works of numerous military strategists from Sun Tzu, more than 2,500 years ago, to J.F.C. Fuller in the 20th century.

But the 21st century and the new Global War on Terror with its frontless, asymmetrical, computerized, potentially nuclear battlefield has demanded new sets of principles or maxims; not only for battlefield commanders, but for civilians who themselves are now directly involved.

That is exactly what Frank J. Gaffney and his colleagues have accomplished in “War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World.”

Not a tactical guide for ground-combat commanders, “War Footing” is a highly readable strategic blueprint for all Americans, who – for the first time in history – must also know who the enemy is, what his goals are, why we as a nation must commit to destroying him before he destroys us, and how we do it.

Drawing on a veritable who’s who of national security experts like former CIA director R. James Woolsey, retired Generals Tom McInerney and Paul Vallely, retired Admiral Robert R. Monroe, national-security expert Alex Alexiev, military historian Victor Davis Hanson, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, internationally acclaimed journalists/editors Claudia Rosett and Caroline Glick, Middle Eastern scholar Dr. Michael Rubin, military/defense analyst Daniel Goure, terrorism expert Dr. J. Michael Waller, and many others – all of whom contribute specific chapters and sections to the book – Gaffney presents 10 steps for successfully waging and winning the war against terrorism.

Following a foreword by Woolsey and an introduction by Hanson, the book launches into Part I, “Understanding the Problem,” which includes steps one and two for understanding the enemy and really supporting the troops who – taking a snippet from the basic “mission of the Marine rifle squad” – must “locate, close with, and destroy the enemy.”

W. Thomas Smith, Jr

W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor. He is the author of six books, and he has covered war and conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq, and Lebanon. Visit him online at http://www.uswriter.com.
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