Magazine July 18, 2011, Issue

Managing War

President George W. Bush speaks to soldiers upon his arrival at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, December 15, 2008. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters )
A Vulcan’s Tale: How the Bush Administration Mismanaged the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, by Dov S. Zakheim (Brookings, 320 pp., $32.95)

As Cicero observed in his Fifth Philippic, “money forms the sinews of war.” Of course, money is never limitless, and wars have foundered on this fact. Any strategy that ignores resource constraints is destined to fail.

This reality is driven home by Dov Zakheim in his important and informative new book, A Vulcan’s Tale. From his perspective as under secretary of defense (comptroller) in the Bush administration — “the guy holding the checkbook” — Zakheim provides a useful overview of the administration’s approach to the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a useful supplement to other recent memoirs by

To Read the Full Story
Mackubin Thomas Owens is senior national-security fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia, editing its journal Orbis from 2008 to 2020. A Marine Corps infantry veteran of the Vietnam War, he was a professor of national-security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College from 1987 to 2015. He is the author of US Civil–Military Relations after 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain.

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The Week

The Week

Rep. Michele Bachmann regularly gives GOP leaders heartburn, rapping them for cutting spending deals with the White House.

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