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Lifting the Fog of Peace

How Americans Learned to Fight Modern War

Janine Davidson

Publication Year: 2010

In Lifting the Fog of Peace, Dr. Janine Davidson explains how the American military has adapted itself to succeed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that are the most likely future face of combat. The book is informed by her experience of these wars in the Department of Defense, where she now plays a critical role in continuing the process of learning that has so visibly marked the military's performance in today's wars. Highly recommended. ---John A. Nagl, President, Center for a New American Security U.S. military officers throughout Iraq and Afghanistan spend their days worrying nearly as much about municipal power, water purification, trash collection, and jobs programs as they do about fighting the war. Although running elections, building roads, and governing cities have been perennial duties for U.S. soldiers for over 230 years, this generation has had to adapt and relearn lessons on the fly. Lifting the Fog of Peace puts the U.S. military's frustrating experiences in Iraq into context and reveals how the military was able to turn the tide during the socalled surge in 2007-8. Janine Davidson is Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Plans. She has served as Director of the Department of Defense's Stability Operations Capabilities.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

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pp. vii-ix

This book would not have been possible without the support and assistance of a number of remarkable people and institutions. First, my graduate school adviser at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Jerel Rosati, was a great source of personal and professional inspiration. From...

List of Acronyms

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction: On the Front Lines with America’s Nation Builders

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pp. 1-7

On March 23, 2003, a battle began near the southern town of Nasiriya, Iraq. At least nine U.S. marines were killed, and many others were wounded. According to reports of the incident, marines had not seen such intense combat since the Vietnam War.1 Unlike in the First Gulf War, when American and Iraqi armor clashed on the open desert,...

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Chapter 1. Military Learning and Competing Theories of Change

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pp. 9-26

To Carl von Clausewitz, the father of modern military thought, military learning and military change were a simple matter: “If, in warfare, a certain means turns out to be highly effective, it will be used again; it will be copied by others and become fashionable; and so,...

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Chapter 2. Two Centuries of Small Wars and Nation Building

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pp. 27-65

Writing of his experiences in Somalia in 1992, Pentagon reporter Tom Ricks observed, “This was the first U.S. brush with ‘peacemaking’— a new form of post–Cold War, low intensity chaos that is neither war nor peace, but produces enough exhaustion, anxiety, boredom,...

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Chapter 3. Vietnam to Iraq: Debating the “New World Order”

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pp. 67-96

The last two months of 1989 witnessed two significant events—one marking the end of an era, the other a beginning. On November 9, the world watched in stunned anticipation while East German citizens scaled the Berlin Wall and thus began to dismantle, both symbolically...

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Chapter 4. Learning to Learn: The Training Revolution in the Post-Vietnam Military

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pp. 97-127

Previous chapters have revealed the difficulty the U.S. military has had in translating operational experience into concrete institutional knowledge. However, the military’s experience since Vietnam suggests that this trend may be changing. In today’s military—especially the...

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Chapter 5. Doctrine and Education for the New Force

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pp. 129-158

Given the prevailing political climate of antipeace operations and the focus on “two major theater war” (2-MTW) strategy during the 1990s, one might not expect the military leadership to devote significant effort to developing doctrine and education for operations other than...

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Chapter 6. Learning to Surge in Iraq

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pp. 159-190

On January 9, 2007, President George W. Bush addressed the nation. For the first time in nearly four years of war, the president admitted, “It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq.” Indeed, by all accounts, the situation was deteriorating. Over 3,000...

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Conclusion: Learning Theory and Military Change in the 21st Century

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pp. 191-202

For over 200 years, the U.S. military has conducted operations other than “major war,” including nation building, counterinsurgency, stabilization and reconstruction, and peacekeeping. Rarely, however, has the institution translated this experience into institutional...

Appendix: Key Terms and Conceptual Confusion

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pp. 203-208


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pp. 209-225


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pp. 227-244

E-ISBN-13: 9780472022984
E-ISBN-10: 0472022989
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472034826
Print-ISBN-10: 0472034820

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 5 Figures, 4 Tables
Publication Year: 2010