Friday, 15 March 2013

Supreme Command - Eliot Cohen

“An army of deer led by a lion is more to be feared than an army of lions led by a deer.”
                                                                                      Philip of Macedon

Title: Supreme Command
Author: Eliot Cohen
Publisher: Anchor Books
Pages: 304

Content: Civil-military relations, in the political-military sense, has always been and will continue to be one of struggle and challenge; especially during the conduct of a war. The traditional view that politicians set policy and broad strategy; then leave the military to carry out that policy with minimal oversight is flawed, short-sighted and dangerous. The premise of this book centres on the interaction between the politicians and the professional military officers and what constitutes the line between effective oversight and micromanagement. The book outlines the fear that many civilian leaders have with being too aggressive in their oversight and questioning of military commanders. Specifically, he recounts four case studies (Lincoln, Clemenceau, Churchill and Ben-Guiron) that defy the stereotype to illustrate his thesis that it is critical that statesmen do not balk at asking the tough questions or challenging military judgement.

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