Peter R. Mansoor

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Battle History

The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme, by John Keegan (1976)

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Classics of Military History
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Until the development of the “New Military History” in the 1960s and 1970s, studies of battles and campaigns focused to a great extent on the actions of generals, with soldiers represented as caricatures, the scenery behind the real drama. Thus soldiers “push” up a hill with “measured tread” under a “hail” of fire. 


Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime, by Eliot Cohen (2002)

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Classics of Military History
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The relationship between statesmen and military leaders in democracies is rarely smooth, often contentious, but absolutely vital to the success of grand strategy in peace and war. In Supreme Command, Eliot Cohen examines four supreme commanders in several pivotal conflicts of the 19th and 20th centuries: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War, French Premier Georges Clemenceau during World War I, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II, and Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

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Why Can’t America Win Its Wars?

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, March 10, 2016

America’s military is like Germany’s in the twentieth century—a tactically and operationally brilliant force that cannot think strategically.

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Guantanamo And The History Of Military Commissions

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Obama administration’s release of its plan to close the facility at Guantanamo Bay and bring the detainees to the United States has rekindled an intense political debate regarding the best way to deal with captured illegal combatants who lack allegiance to a nation-state. 

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Women And The Draft

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Two months ago Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that all combat specialties in the armed forces would be opened to qualified females. This decision reopened the question of whether or not women should be required to register for Selective Service. In Rostker vs. Goldberg in 1981, the Supreme Court ruled that since the main purpose of the draft is to provide manpower for combat forces, the government’s exclusion of women did not violate the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. Since women can now serve in the combat arms, a legal challenge to the exclusion of women from the draft might very well succeed.

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Return Of U.S. Forces To Europe: Back To The Future

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Russian bear is waking up from hibernation and looking for neighbors to eat. Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea and his support for insurgents in eastern Ukraine have other Eastern European countries—primarily the Baltic States and Poland—worried. Putin would like to see the North Atlantic Treaty Organization humiliated for the cardinal sin in his eyes of poaching countries in the Russian sphere of influence after the collapse of the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1991.

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The Predictable Failure Of The Syrian Peace Talks

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Monday, February 8, 2016

The failure, ahem, suspension this week of United Nations sponsored talks in Geneva aimed at stopping the carnage in Syria was all too predictable. The talks were initially delayed by the inability of Syrian opposition groups to agree on who should get a seat at the table. Then after just five days of negotiations, the negotiators realized what should have been apparent from the start—an end to the Syrian civil war is highly unlikely absent conditions on the battlefield conducive to a negotiated settlement. What are those conditions?

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Why ISIS Is Different—And Why It Matters

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Strategika
Monday, February 1, 2016

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is the modern face of terror. Unlike al-Qaeda, the Irish Republican Army, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Maoists in India, the Shining Path, and other traditional terrorist organizations, ISIS refuses to lurk in the shadows. Unlike Hezbollah, Hamas, the Tamil Tigers, or the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, ISIS is not content with controlling a limited amount of territory confined to a single nation-state. 

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Why America Can't Win Its Wars

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Analysis
Thursday, December 10, 2015

Poor strategic decision making since 2001 has involved the United States in messy civil wars that will take years, if not decades, to resolve. In Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, regime change has come easily, but a limited commitment to stabilizing those nations has resulted in messy, bloody, and expensive aftermaths. Those wars show that military success alone cannot ensure a stable post-conflict outcome. Only the presence of US military forces, economic aid, and a long-term political commitment from US policy makers to rebuild and restore defeated nations can ensure enduring peace.

Poster Collection, CU 83, Hoover Institution Archives
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The Decision To Drop The Atomic Bombs - 70 Years On

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A new exhibition at the American University Museum in Washington marking the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki () portrays the Japanese people incinerated by the blasts and sickened by radiation as victims.