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Lessons Unlearned: The U.S. Army’s Role in Creating the Forever Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (American Military Experience)

Colonel Pat Proctor’s long overdue critique of the Army’s preparation and outlook in the all-volunteer era focuses on a national security issue that continues to vex in the twenty-first century: Has the Army lost its ability to win strategically by focusing on fighting conventional battles against peer enemies? Or can it adapt to deal with the greater complexity of counterinsurgent and information-age warfare?

In this blunt critique of the senior leadership of the U.S. Army, Proctor contends that after the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. Army stubbornly refused to reshape itself in response to the new strategic reality, a decision that saw it struggle through one low-intensity conflict after another—some inconclusive, some tragic—in the 1980s and 1990s, and leaving it largely unprepared when it found itself engaged—seemingly forever—in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The first book-length study to connect the failures of these wars to America’s disastrous performance in the war on terror, Proctor’s work serves as an attempt to convince Army leaders to avoid repeating the same mistakes.