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Between War and Peace Paperback – 28 May 2004

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Vital to understanding the war 31 July 2004
By T. G. Laufer - Published on
Format: Paperback
For those unfamiliar, Victor Hanson is a military historian that specializes in Greek History and teaches classical history. This work is very much a continuation of his other excellent book An Autumn of war and has the same format; they both are a collection of his biweekly essays from the National Review written over the course of the official war. As he states in his introduction, the essays are not changed because of the conditions on the ground; thus, the reader gets a view into the accuracy of Hanson and can judge for themselves how his analysis shaped up.

Throughout, Hanson developed his thesis that Saddam needed to be removed on much more than WMDs and gets to the core issues; how the US could not allow Hussein to violate the deal of the armistice (as even Hans Blixs confirms), fire daily on US warplanes, harbor and support terrorists (Hussein paid money to suicide bombers, tried to establish a relationship with Al Qaeda and harbored Zarqawi and other terrorists) and be allowed to commit mass murder and starvation while we had the power to stop him.

He also takes to task the failure of some of the European community for their lack of support; how the French view themselves as the counterbalance to US power, how the destruction of the Soviet Union and reliance on the US for protection, and the decline in Europe's faith in the nation state (as Margaret Thatcher eloquently covers in her book Statecraft) and rise of the European community that largely exists in name only.

While bolstering the justifications of the war, Hanson also addresses the critics. Because the essays were written in real time, Hanson is able to effectively show how the media was deadest against the war from the start, promising quagmire after quagmire; who could forget how the media claimed that the war effort had broken down when the 3rd infantry hit a sand storm, or the abysmal cries of blood for oil as our troops were removing the apparatuses of terror used to enslave and murder in the most brutal regime in the Middle East. As the book (and time) progress Hanson shows how the press viewed the war as another Vietnam, to a chaotic and unjust endeavor that was cooked up in Crawford Texas.

Although written before Abu Ghraib and the rise in casualties, Hanson's thesis remains valid; America waged a just war to end a dictatorship that sought to defy the world, gain WMDs, aid terror, slaughter its own people and bred further hatred of the US and the tactical mistakes made and atrocities of individualizes does not and never will detract from that. As he put it, the Greeks were right; war was the mill of Ares (the god of war) and thus is a contest of wills won only by those that stay the course.
55 of 72 people found the following review helpful
Hanson sets the record straight, again! 30 Mar. 2004
By jtsymbo - Published on
Format: Paperback
Feeling confused about America's current conflict in the world? Then you need to read Victor Hanson's "Between War and Peace". But I warn you, be prepared for a down to earth, unapologetic, crystal clear analysis of who we are, who our friends are, and of course, who our enemies are. Hanson's backround as a scholar of ancient history gives him a depth of understanding lacking in most of today's pundits who seem to be lost in too much "noise and chatter". A classic!!
38 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Wisdom and Foresight 28 April 2004
By Scott - Published on
Format: Paperback
Go back and read both of Hanson's books that sprung from 9/11. You will see how deeply this man understands historical trends. Read them and understand that no one knew how things were going to turn out. Some of his predictions and observations are almost exactly what wound up actually happening.
A man of such deep and broad learning has a lot to offer how we conduct our affairs in the current struggle. This volume serves as a valuable aid to understanding events and their consequences as they actually unfolded at the time.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Some interesting ideas about American foreign policy 11 Feb. 2005
By Jill Malter - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of short essays about our foreign policy. Hanson discusses the war against terror, the Middle East, American support for Israel, Anti-Americanism, changes in Europe, the war against Iraq, and a few other topics.

In many cases, the author's observations are controversial. And I often disagree with him. On the other hand, some of what Hanson says is clearly true. And most of what he writes is worth thinking about.

I find Hanson's ideas about NATO and the United Nations intriguing. He asks why we should house NATO in Brussels, given Belgium's "anti-American rhetoric." He says that Warsaw or Rome would be better. And he thinks France ought to be forced to decide whether it is in NATO or out of NATO: it ought not be both.

As for the UN, he has a number of ideas that might help reform it. First, he would expel the tyrannies from it: these nations could form their own "United Tyrannies." And he would include India, Japan, and Brazil as permanent members of the Security Council. He would also "quit allowing functionaries like Kofi Annan or Boutros Boutros-Ghali" to have leadership roles in the UN and instead pick "real statesmen and moralists of free countries, like Vaclav Havel or Elie Wiesel."

Hanson is also at his best when he discusses the media in wartime. As he puts it, "would NPR reporters have visited Hitler's Germany, paid bribes to Mr. Goebbels, and then broadcasted allied shortcomings at the Bulge, oblivious to the Nazi machinery of death and their own complicity in it?"

I have to agree with Hanson about this. Yes, we want the media to tell us the truth. And that certainly does not mean blindly accepting the propaganda our government comes up with. But even less does it mean blindly accepting the propaganda tyrannical enemies come up with. The easiest way for journalists to lose freedom of the press is to cede it by allying themselves with our enemies.

On the topic of Israel, the author shows the inanity of anti-Israeli arguments as they are presented today. The main arguments against Israel are that it is "occupying" Arab land (actually, it is doing no such thing: the West Bank and Gaza are disputed territories), that it has displaced and even killed Arabs in wartime (as if other wars never displace or kill anyone), and that it is racist (as if the Arabs were not much more so). These arguments are so absurd that Hanson rightfully takes them as taunts, not as serious propositions. Hanson then ascribes support for Arab anti-Zionists as due to "realpolitik," oil, fear of Arab terrorism, antisemitism, and "aristocratic guilt."

As I said, Hanson is simply picking low-hanging fruit by saying this. It is like pointing out that an emperor is undressed. But I still have to give him some credit for doing so.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Insightful analysis powerfully presented 23 Feb. 2005
By Shalom Freedman - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hanson is one of the best columnists America has. I know books of columns don't sell, and most people believe that they are yesterday's newspaper, but I love jumping through such collections. If the writer is good as Hanson is there are always observations that enrich understanding. Hanson is a great American patriot someone who believes in America's political, military and moral leadership of mankind. His criticisms of the Europeans in this book come out of the sense that they are not for the most part being loyal allies in the common democratic cause. These columns were published before the first democratic election in Iraq and before we see how the United States is going to deal with state supporters of terror Syria and Iran. Hanson seems to think that Syria is the next likely target of US sponsored regime change. He also unlike many other American conservatives does understand the damage being done to the United States by its support of a corrupt and anti- American Saudi Arabia. Hanson has a tremendous knowledge of military affairs and his historical understanding enrich these columns.

If one wants a clearer picture of the world situation, and one which supports an active role for the United States in the world, then this is the collection.
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