Bruce Berkowitz reviews John Keegan’s latest book, “Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to al-Qaeda.”
Keegan can draw upon a lifetime of studying armed conflict, and the facts of battles from ancient times to recent times fall readily to his mind. Alas, Keegans strength is also his curse. His approach deconstructing a big event into many small events inevitably leads to a conclusion that is almost a tautology.
Because intelligence was always just one of many factors, it is hard ever to make a case that it was the most important one. No serious military analyst believes that for want of a nail a kingdom was lost, and using this method, no one is going to believe that for want of intelligence, a battle was lost (or won).