Sept. 30, 2022
The Limits of Victory: Evaluating the Employment of Military Power
On November 28, 1984, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger appeared before the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to deliver a speech titled “The Uses of Military Power.” The previous year had brought mixed results in the deployment of U.S. combat troops overseas. An invasion of the small West Indies country of Grenada wrested regime control from the one-party socialist People’s Revolutionary Government in favor of a relatively stable democracy. In Lebanon, however, the bombing of a Marine Corps barracks complex in Beirut killed 305 troops and civilians, including 241 Americans, and led to the withdrawal of the multinational peacekeeping force months later. Perhaps most central to Secretary Weinberger’s speech was the Vietnam War, an event that two decades later still struck deep into the institutional fabric of the U.S. military.