Expert Witness: A Defense Correspondent's Gulf War, 1990-91
by Christopher Bellamy
New York: Brassey's 1993. 252 pp. $29.95
Reviewed by Daniel Pipes
Middle East Quarterly
Bellamy exudes self-satisfaction about his whole career, and especially having taken on the defense portfolio at London's Independent newspaper in April 1990. Pride in self has the unfortunate effect of filling his account with a multitude of undeeded details about the author, his newspaper, his travels, and other minutiae.
But get beyond this self-indulgence and Bellamy's account more than repays the effort. As a military historian who witnessed the Kuwait war first hand, he offers many useful and interesting insights. To begin with, he sees this war as both the final confrontation of one sort (set-piece conventions) and first of another sort (computer-ordered battles). He calls the event "a coalition war without precedent," in part because it finally achieved the goals for air power established by Douhet and Mitchell in the 1920s. He points to the extraordinarily cerebral quality of the allied effort and argues that "the allies won by brain power." Bellamy calls on his historical knowledge to note that his war brought the return of body armor as a general issue item for the first time since the seventeenth century. He concludes that the Kuwait war marks, perhaps, "return to the limited war, even if fought with 'unlimited means." These important observations help place the fighting in its proper context and offer implications to chew over before the next round of violence erupts.
Related Topics: Iraq, Kuwait | Daniel Pipes | June 1994 MEQ
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