Preparedness: How Many Wars Can the U.S. Fight?

The Pentagon argues for a leaner military establishment, even though the gulf conflict has stretched its resources to the limit

During the cold war, Pentagon planners boasted that the U.S. was prepared to battle the Soviet Union while simultaneously waging a smaller conflict against another, less formidable foe elsewhere in the world. Now the cold war is finished -- and so is that 1 1/2-war strategy. Even before the outbreak of major fighting on the ground, the gulf war had severely strained U.S. military resources and raised troubling questions about America's ability to fight one war -- defending Western Europe against a Soviet onslaught -- much less 1 1/2.

Serious doubts arise from the length of time it took the U.S....

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