The events of 9/11 and the war on terrorism and the daily crises in the Israeli-Palestinian conflictbehind them lie some of the most shocking failures and misuse of military intelligence in history. In this updated edition of Colonel Hughes-Wilson's controversial book, the long-serving professional military intelligence officer explores and exposes the often disastrous misunderstanding and mishandling of crucial intelligence by politicians and seasoned generals in recent times. Modern military history records major catastrophes in the air, at sea, and on the battlefield that originate in lapses of military judgmentfrom the crushing defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo to Stalin's Operation Barbarossa to Yom Kippur. The reason frequently lies in the failure of the decision makers in power to understand and appreciate fully intelligence information. So it was that American bureaucratic bungling and interservice rivalries collaborated with the Japanese in their devastating attack on Pearl Harbordespite the fact that the U.S. was monitoring Japan's top-secret radio traffic. So, too, the Viet Cong's Tet Offensive of 1968 took the world's most technologically advanced army completely by surprise. This book discloses the lapses, errors, miscalculations, and underestimations of military intelligence that have shaped our wars and defined our times.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This books is written by a retired UK Colonel who clearly knows what he's talking about. I found it a surprisingly easy read for a history book, even managing to make his discussion of the battles I knew nothing about (Barbarossa, Yom Kippur, Singapore and Dieppe) as interesting as the ones I did (Falklands, Gulf War I, 9/11, Pearl Harbor).He traces the causes of the failures - often on the apparently victorious side as well as the defeated - showing that sometimes it was scared Intelligence Officers saying what they knew the Dictator wanted to hear, sometimes it was a failure of collation, sometimes of not having good enough dissemination, and sometimes lack of direction from the top. The lack of coordination between the intel agencies in the USA comes under particular fire: a full 6 decades after Pearl Harbor, the same structural problems prevented the mass of intelligence ahead of the Al-Qa'ida attacks of 9/11 being collated and acted on. The UK's Joint Intelligence Community (JIC) approach is normally held up as the example on how to do it, but even then it failed over the Falklands. He also said it failed over its 'sexed-up' dossier published to the public to persuade them of the need to invade Iraq in 2003, though here his analysis didn't go far enough. If the press reports are right, this was less of an issue in the JIC, and more the inevitable problem of intelligence from on a few MI6 agents that couldn't be corroborated.Recommended: not just for intelligence buffs, but for those who want to get a quick overview of some of the most pivotal (or at least infamous) military events of the twentieth century.