CAPTAINS WITHOUT EYES by Lyman B. Kirkpatrick


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Kirkpatrick wrote The Real CIA (1968) in which he argued for the existence of intelligence gathering, counterespionage agencies. This book makes clear the greatest danger point for such activity--the authorities who misuse, or refuse, the information gathered. Several cases in WW II support the author's contention that adequate prior intelligence can influence the course of battle, but only if properly interpreted: the German attack on Russia, Pearl Harbor, Dieppe, and Arnhem. It becomes clear that dictatorships have as much trouble as democracies in marshalling their decisions about how battles should be fought or met; Hitler refused to believe the record of history or his spies about the strength of Russia or the passive destruction power in the Russian winter, while Stalin refused the completely accurate information of agents in Europe and Japan about Hitler's plan of attack, and lack of co-ordination kept the U.S. a sitting duck for Pearl Harbor. Dieppe and Arnhem are evidence of the ability of ""the captains"" of the title to close their eyes to too much or too little information on hand in order to justify underestimation of the enemy's abilities to retaliate. Armchair strategists will enjoy this--what went wrong along the way seldom gets attention when final, too costly, victory was the result.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1969
Publisher: Macmillan