Although over six years have passed since the Lebanon intervention ended, American leaders appear to be no closer to an appreciation of what went wrong than they were in 1984. Ralph Hallenbeck's authoritative account of the American intervention in Lebanon fills this significant void. His study goes a long way toward explicating those factors that contributed most to this foreign policy failure. America's role in Lebanon is examined in four chapters, with each chapter recounting the events that occurred during the successive phases of the intervention. At various junctures in the analysis, Hallenbeck compares his findings to those of other authors writing about the Vietnam War, an intervention that he feels strongly parallels the American experience in Lebanon. He also refers to the relevant body of politico-military and decision-making theory. The author's ultimate purpose in using this comparative approach is to suggest that conclusions derived from the study of the Lebanon intervention may be relevant both to an understanding of the past and to future attempts to achieve limited ends through the measured application of military force. Hallenbeck's case study is useful as both source material for students and scholars concerned with examining national security policy-making and as a critical discussion of recent events.
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