Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Intelligence doesn’t win wars

John Keegan explains why intelligence doesn’t win wars. Good piece, thoughtful, and useful for everyone, even though he emphasizes the British context.

"F.H. Himsley, the historian of British intelligence in the real war against Hitler, made a sustained attempt to show how intelligence affected its outcome. His conclusion, which did not please the intelligence establishment, is that the efforts of MI6 and Bletchley Park shortened the war, but emphatically did not win it.

His judgment has general application - intelligence never wins wars. As the American David Kahn, the supreme intelligence historian, puts it: ’There is an elemental point about intelligence - it is a secondary factor in war.’"

Please note Keegan’s new book: Intelligence in Warfare: From Nelson to Hitler.

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