Decisions about when, where, and why to commit the United States to the use of force, and how to conduct warfare and ultimately end it, are hotly debated not only contemporaneously but also for decades afterward. We are engaged in such a debate today, quite often without a solid grounding in the country's experience of war, both political and military. This book, by a political scientist and a career military officer and historian, is premised on the view that we cannot afford that kind of innocence. Updated and revised with new chapters on the Afghan and Iraq wars, the book systematically examines twelve U.S. wars from the revolution to the present day. For each conflict the authors review underlying issues and events; political objectives; military objectives and strategy; political considerations; military technology and technique; military conduct, and 'the better state of the peace', that is, the ultimate disposition of the original political goals.
List of Maps; Preface; Introduction; 1. War and Political Purpose; 2. American Revolution; 3. Civil War; 4. World War I; 5. World War II; 6. Korean War; 7. Vietnam War; 8. Persian Gulf War; 9. Afghanistan and the Post-9/11 Experience; 10. Iraq War; 11. America'S Minor Wars; War of 1812; Mexican War; Spanish-American War; 12. The American Experience.