Choosing Your Battles: American Civil–Military Relations and
the Use of Force. By Peter D. Feaver and Christopher Gelpi.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. 268p. $22.95.
In their book, Peter Feaver and Christopher Gelpi have several
agendas. They succeed at some better than others. Their first goal is to
establish the fact of a civil–military opinion gap over the use of
force. They find that civilian elites are more willing to expand U.S.
foreign policy goals to include nontraditional missions related to human
rights, whereas military elites are more supportive of a traditional Cold
War foreign policy agenda (p. 42); and that nonveteran civilian elites are
more willing to use force incrementally, whereas elite military officers
support the decisive use of force enshrined in the Powell Doctrine. Both
insights have been documented in the case study literature, but Feaver and
Gelpi bring large-n analysis and original survey opinion data to bear on