Harlan K. Ullman, Anatomy of Failure: Why America Loses Every War It Starts (Naval Institute Press, 2017)
The subtitle of this book raises a question that more Americans should ask: If the United States is the supremely powerful nation we believe it is, and if our armed forces are as great as we tell ourselves they are, why have our wars in the last half-century not been more successful?
In Anatomy of Failure, Harlan K. Ullman documents a long line of strategic failures from Vietnam, where he served as a young Navy officer, down to today's wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and other places threatened by the Islamic State or other dangerous jihadist insurgencies. His verdict on the consistent ineffectiveness of US military efforts over those decades is convincing. His analysis of the causes and his recommendations for reform are somewhat less so, not so much because specific arguments are incorrect but because he does not address a number of crucial issues.