War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., et al.
I repeat the words of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence—that little band of patriots, fighting long ago against overwhelming odds, but certain, as we are now, of ultimate victory: "With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
This is the epigraph to Frank Gaffney's War Footing, taken from an address by President Franklin Roosevelt on May 14, 1941. It captures the governing purpose of the book, which is to awaken in its readers the sense of urgency that can come only from full realization that we are at war. Only such a sense of urgency will enable the nation to put itself on the "war footing" that is the necessary condition of moving forward to ultimate victory in the "war for the free world."
Each short and easily digested chapter is co-authored by Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy, and another defense expert. Co-authors include Victor Davis Hanson, Andrew McCarthy, Caroline Glick, and Congressmen Curt Weldon and Roscoe Bartlett. Their recommended "ten steps" range from geopolitics to energy security. An appendix contains much needed proposals to improve American missile defense policy. The book is designed so that one may consult individual chapters independently for a policy briefing on each of the necessary steps to victory.
This is a good and important book, but it faces a great challenge. Roosevelt gave the address from which Gaffney takes his epigraph six months before Pearl Harbor; and America was far from being ready for war when the day of infamy came. Gaffney writes five years after our more recent day of infamy; and America is still far from being on a war footing. If September 11 could not awaken our leaders and those who vote them into office from their strategic slumbers, this book faces a difficult challenge indeed. But when they are shaken from their complacent dreams by the next deadly alarm, this will be a useful book to have on their bedside tables.
The Claremont Institute
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This article appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of the Claremont Review of Books