Small Wars Journal

New Hampshire and Vietnam

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 8:40am

Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (2nd Edition)

by Graham Allison

One of the most influental political science works written in the post World War II era, the original edition of Essence of Decision is a unique and fascinating examination of the pivotal event of the cold Cold War. Not simply revised, but completely re-written, the Second Edition of this classic text is a fresh reinterpretation of the theories and events surrounding the Cuban Missle Crisis, incorporating all new information from the Kennedy tapes and recently declassified Soviet files. Essence of Decision Second Edition, is a vivid look at decision-making under pressure and is the only single volume work that attempts to answer the enduring question: how should citizens understand the actions of their government?

New Hampshire and Vietnam

by Carl Prine

Line of Departure

You see, gentle readers, presidents tell generals what to do.  The GOs don’t tell presidents or Congress how to run wars, a problem we’ve had with a generation of late Baby Boom four-stars who never served in Vietnam, too, which is why Huntsman has to lecture us about Afghanistan.

Do you think Ronald Reagan took orders from generals?  How about Teddy Roosevelt?  George H.W. Bush?

Really?  Heck, I think Dick Nixon would’ve cracked a Stroh’s bottle over a four-star’s skull and shivved him with the glass jags if he looked halfway crooked at Hank Kissinger in the White House cafeteria.

Here was Huntsman reminding Romney about what real presidents do:

Yes. I would have to tell Mitt that the president of the United States is the commander-in-chief. Of course you get input and — and advice from a lot of different corners of Washington, including the commanders on the ground.

But we also deferred to the commanders on the ground in about 1967, during the Vietnam War, and we didn’t get very good advice then.

Here’s what I think is around the corner in Afghanistan. I think civil war is around the corner in Afghanistan. And I don’t want to be the president who invests another penny in a civil war. And I don’t want to be the president who sends another man or woman into harm’s way that we don’t — we’re not able to bring back alive.

I say we’ve got something to show for our mission. Let’s recognize that and let’s move on.

Huntsman, you see, didn’t need to serve in Vietnam, get drafted into the Air Force or brag about what his state’s National Guardsmen did honorably and bravely overseas to learn a few lessons about America’s wars.

He might’ve been the only on at the debate who did.  I wish he’d teach us some more.