Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bacevich on Wohlstetter

Cleaning up some papers, I was reminded recently that I happen to have a few worn-looking offprints of articles by Albert Wohlstetter, including his famous 1959 piece "The Delicate Balance of Terror" and a piece he wrote in 1960 for a series commissioned by Life on 'the national purpose'. (Explaining why I have these offprints would take me a bit too far afield; or, put more bluntly, I don't feel like doing it right now.)

Anyway, this prompts me to mention Andrew Bacevich's article in the May-June New Left Review, "Tailors to the Emperor," which is largely about Wohlstetter (with some attention also to Roberta Wohlstetter, who was best known for Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision). Bacevich's view of them is, not surprisingly, negative; however, after buying the article a while ago I proceeded only to skim it, so I can't really say specifically which parts I agree with and which I don't. So I'm neither endorsing the article nor criticizing it, simply mentioning it in the thought that one or two readers may possibly appreciate knowing about it.

P.s. Some other (possibly) interesting stuff in the May-June NLR. Check out the issue's t.o.c.

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