Fighting for Peace

Caspar Weinberger played a leading role in President Ronald Reagan’s program to rebuild American military might. Sharing the president’s belief that the United States had fallen behind the Soviet Union in its overall military effectiveness, Weinberger presided over an elaborate and expensive expansion of America’s armed forces. In executing this policy, Weinberger was motivated by the firm conviction that only through strength could the security of the United States be maintained.

Weinberger examines in detail many of the crises which confronted the United States while he served in the Pentagon. He proudly describes such successful applications of American military force as the invasion of Grenada in 1983, various clashes with the Libyans in the Gulf of Sidra, and the American protection of merchant shipping in the Persian Gulf during the last stages of the Iran-Iraq War in 1987-1988. The former secretary of defense also records failures, including the introduction of a detachment of Marines into Lebanon on a peace-keeping mission, which resulted in the disastrous terrorist bombing of their headquarters that killed more than two hundred men, and the attempt to free American hostages in Lebanon by sending military equipment to Iran.

Weinberger believes the defense policies of the Reagan Administration proved successful. In his opinion, programs such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, designed to develop a defense against missile attack, convinced the Soviet Union to come to terms with the United States. He adduces as proof the 1987 INF Treaty, which for the first time provided for a reduction in nuclear weapons. FIGHTING FOR PEACE should inspire fruitful debate as the United States enters the 1990’s.