Books: Spy Slyly, Carry a Big Gun

A leading military historian concludes that espionage means zip without force of arms and will

The American military hasn't the imperial tradition to produce a Lawrence of Arabia type--a cross-cultural swashbuckling chameleon who, speaking perfect Arabic, might infiltrate the recruiting grounds of al-Qaeda or bazaars of Tikrit and send home the inside dope. It is a weakness in the war against terrorism. In Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to al-Qaeda (Alfred A. Knopf; 387 pages), the military historian John Keegan half playfully suggests that Western spy shops might study the model of Kipling's culturally ambidextrous Kim.

But the merits of firepower vs. brainpower--of outward force vs. inside knowledge--are debatable. In Keegan's commonsense...

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