Clean Air Act Of 1963 Free Writing Sample

The Industrial Revolution wielded an unprecedented influence in the improvement of the economy of the United States ((IRWeb, n. d.). Along with the technological advances and the economic wealth, however, came the horrors of  pollution which resulted to serious environmental degradation in many parts of the United States (Rosen, 2003). The issue of air pollution, though, did not just emerge as an aftermath of the Industrial Revolution and is definitely not isolated to the United States. Fleming and Knorr (1999) traced a 1306 proclamation by the then King Edward I of England which outlawed the use of sea coal in London because of the ill-effects of the smoke emanating from it. Here in the United States, however, efforts towards the control of air pollution became evident only during the Industrial Revolution.

In the year 1881, Chicago and Cincinnati became the first two cities to promulgate laws  intended to promote clean air. Other cities, towns and regions followed suit and began to enact clean air legislations. The Bureau of Mines, which operated under the Department of the Interior established the  Office of Air Pollution at the begininning of the 20th century  to control smoke emissions. The office was, however, short-lived because of its inactivity. Reported incidents of smog in the Los Angeles and Donora, Pennsylvania areas during the 1940s drew public attention once again on the issue of air pollution. The US government dealt with the issue on a national level in the year 1955 with the passage of the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955. The law was considered as the first in a series of clean air and air quality control acts which are still in effect and continue to be revised and amended (Fleming and  Knorr, 1999). The  Act also funded research for the scope and sources of air pollution  (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2006).

The Clean Air Act, originally passed in 1963, is the main force behind the control of air pollution in the United States.  However, important amendments were added to the legislation in both 1970 and 1990 in an effort by the US federal government to enforce a comprehensive scheme for mitigating air pollution. In a nutshell, the Clean Air Act as enacted by the US Congress in 1963 was a moderate bill (ThinkQuest, 1999) with the following main features : (1) it authorized the development of a national agenda to deal with environmental problems associated with air pollution;(2) it mandated the conduct of research on practices which will minimize air pollution; and (3) it batted for the establishment of state control agencies pollution  (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2006).

It was in 1965 when the federal government launched its first active role in the clean air policy when an amendment was instituted in the Clean Air Act of 1963 empowering the United States Department of Health to design and implement standards for car emissions. Five years later, in 1970, another amendment officially created authorization for the enforcement of the provisions of the Clean Air Act to the US federal government. This 1970 legislation continues to be the foundation of the US policy on air pollution control, with the following components : (1) it established the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, which concentrated on major polluting chemicals and were aimed at protecting both human health and that of the environment; (2) the aforementioned standards were to be developed by the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was also tasked to design New Source Performance Standards in order to assay acceptable limits of pollution for various industries in the different regions; (3) the amendment to the Act delineated standards for monitoring and controlling vehicular emissions in order to effect the reduction of the different pollutant-gases by almost 90 percent; and (4) it encouraged the states to devise plans to comply with the standards specified in (3) and required that the state anti-pollution plans be approved by the EPA. The EPA was also mandated to enforce and administer the provisions of the Clean Air Act with states who will opt not to draw such plans or who will not be able to complete the plan on the target date as stipulated in the legislation.

The national framework in the implementation of the Clean Air Act revolved around the functions of three federal agencies: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and the Mining Safety and Health Administration. The EPA is primarily charged on pollution to the environment, while the other two agencies deal with occupational air pollutants. State and local government agencies have their own laws and regulations, but are usually patterned after  those in use by the federal government (Environmental Literacy Council, 2007).

More amendments were appended to the Clean Air Act in 1977 to tackle concerns related to underachievement of the national objectives with respect to pollution emissions and with the formulation of measures for the improvement of air quality in areas which did not have previous problems with air pollution.

To date, the Clean Air Act was last amended in 1990. Such amendment was enacted to attend to problems associated with acid rain, toxic pollutants, ozone layer depletion and areas which have not yet achieved set standards of air quality (ThinkQuest, 1999). Particularly, 1990 amendments established acceptable concentrations of six criteria pollutants: ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (Environmental Literacy Council, 2007). Under this latest amendment, massive decreases in certain gas emissions were mandated in order to control acid rain; toxic pollutants were to be regulated even more; deadlines were set for the noncompliant areas; and three major chemical contributors to ozone layer depletion were phased-out (ThinkQuest, 1999). The chemicals included in the phase out are : Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons and carbon tetrachloride, considered as Class I chemicals which must be phased out by the year 2000; methylchloroform by 2002, but with more stringent interim reductions; and  Hydrochlorofluoro-carbons (HCFCs), considered as Class II chemicals, which  will be phased out by 2030 (US Environmental Protection Agency, n. d.).

In compliance with the Clean Air Act and its amendments, scattered across the numerous cities and towns of the US are air quality monitoring sites of state and local environmental agencies, which measure the extent or level of pollutants. Based on reports from the air monitoring sites, areas which do not measure up with  the EPA established air  quality standards are bound to adopt stringent courses of action in order to minimize pollutants, which may include but are not limited to imposition of stiffer emission standards for motor vehicles, use of alternative sources of energy and enforcing more rigid controls in business and industry.

Under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and over  heightened controversy and debates, the EPA proposed for the imposition of more rigorous standards for particulate matter and ozone in 1996. Issues brought up were mostly related to the costs to be incurred in compliance to such standards and the potential benefits. Although regulations were issued in July of the following year, enforcement has been postponed.

In 2005, the EPA announced new regulations for clean air concerning power plant emissions of such toxic chemicals as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury. Under the Clean Air Interstate Rule, emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides will be reduced in 28 eastern states and Washington, D.C. On the other hand, the Clean Air Mercury Rule will reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by seventy percent by the 2018. (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2006).

Using a computer-assisted cost-benefit analysis, the US Environmental Protection Agency (2007) assessed that the total benefits of the Clean Air Act programs range from about $6 trillion to about $50 trillion, with a mean estimate of about $22 trillion. These benefits represent the value placed on avoidance due to dire air quality conditions and dramatic increases in illness and premature death which would have prevailed without the Clean Air Act and the supporting tate and local programs. In comparison, the actual costs of achieving the pollution reductions observed over a 20 year period were $523 billion – a value which the EPA itself believes to be a small fraction of the estimated monetary benefits of cleaner air. With or without this computer simulation, the implementation of the Clean Air Act since 1963 has been considered successful (Fleming & Knorr, 1999).

Before the enactment of the first Clean Air Act in the US in 1963, the atmosphere has been practically taken for  granted. The last forty years or so, however, witnessed how scientists, elected officials, and the public at large rallied to the cause of cleaner air. It is high time that people begin to contemplate and realize the effects of the pollutants on the air we breathe. Everytime we go out on a sight-seeing trip, call our friends using our mobile phones or bake lasagna in a microwave oven, we should also be aware that energy and resources used to transport people or to manufacture electronics and other devices may have contributed to the degradation of our environment, particularly, the air. It is now recognized that pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and particulates which are released into the atmosphere as a result of energy generation, industrial development, and use of motor vehicles, also have serious heath and environmental consequences. The Clean Air Act was a contribution of the American legislators towards minimization of air pollution. We can not rest on the initial success as reported by Fleming & Knorr. The continued success of the Clean Air Act rests on the hands of this generation. Our commitment to heed the call for a cleaner air will spell the difference on whether or not we succeed in looking after our own interests.


  1. Environmental Literacy Council. (2007, July 17). Clean Air Act. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from
  2. Fleming, J. R., & Knorr, B. R. (1999). History of the Clean Air Act. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from American Meteorological Society:
  3. IRWeb. (n. d.). IRWeb: Information Page. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from ThinkQuest:
  4. Rosen, C. M. (2003, October). ‘Knowing’ industrial pollution: Nuisance law and the power of tradition in a time of rapid economic change, 1840-1864. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from BNET Research Center: ai_n9330335.
  5. Schoenbrod, D. (n. d.). Why States, Not EPA, Should Set Pollution Standards. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from Cato Institute: /reg19n4a.html.
  6. ThinkQuest. (1999). Clean Air Act. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from
  7. US Environmental Protection Agency. (2006, March 22). Module 7: Regulatory Requirements. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from caa/caa.htm.
  8. US Environmental Protection Agency. (n. d.). Overview: The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from
  9. US Environmental Protection Agency. (2007, March 7). Retrospective Study – Study Design and Summary of Results. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from


Claustrophobia Is A Psychopathological Symptom, A Phobia Of Confined Or Cramped Spaces

Claustrophobia is one of the disorders related in anxiety occurrence. This condition is classified as the fear of being closed in small rooms or spaces. This poses problems for varying individuals and most of the time interferes with the normal lifestyle of a person. This kind situation is very evident in various individuals that search for escape routes just prior to their entry in these closed spaces. In some cases, even worse manifestation of this anxiety occurs. The condition of claustrophobia has been under so various and countless studies in order to figure out the possible treatments to solve the condition.

The occurrence from mild to severe anxiety upon exposure of an individual to closed or small spaces induces the anxiety disorder known as Claustrophobia. This condition is manifested by the individual’s search for doors, exit means or any possible way out upon entering a closed room or space. For example, upon entry of the sufferer to a room without windows or any open area, aside from the door, the person manifests anxiety and may consider not entering inside the room anymore (Das, 2003 p.118). Another condition that is mostly related to Claustrophobia is the fear of having no means of escape or a situation wherein an exit is embarrassing for the sufferer. Most of the time diagnoses between the two concepts of anxiety disorder are being mixed up since differentiations in these conditions are very close (Andrews 2003, p.39).

In this research paper, the following queries should be answered and the concept between Agoraphobia and Claustrophobia should be clarified:

  • What are the differentiations between the conditions of Agoraphobia and Claustrophobia and how does it affect the diagnosing procedures? Discuss the probable etiologies, and signs and symptoms manifested by these conditions.
  • What are the possible treatment modalities for Claustrophobia? Elaborate these treatment procedures.

The following disorders are very much seen in patients who experienced traumatic conditions such as rape, murder or any events that triggers flight response. The psychological manual used for maladaptive conditions such as anxiety disorders (including Claustrophobia) uses the latest DSM-IV as reference for diagnosis. This the standard used by psychologist to categorize the conditions; however, confusion in diagnosis is inevitably since the conditions of Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia are almost similar. The following research paper aims to discuss the conditions of Claustrophobia, mainly, and relate it to its almost similar disorder, Agoraphobia.

According to Mavissakalian & Prien (2006) in their book entitled, Long-Term Treatments of Anxiety Disorders, the condition of Claustrophobia is a specific disorder that is still under searched, despite of its prevalence. According to studies made by American researchers, this condition is the prodromal state of Agoraphobia. However, various observations denote differences between these two disorders. Claustrophobia is the restricted anxiety of enclosed spaces that lacks characteristics of panic attacks (p.142).

The condition of claustrophobia manifests “withdrawal” or “flight” that is why their main focus upon entering any place is an exit, and their phobia mainly envelopes in conditions wherein the space is closed (Morgan, 2003 p.150). The main center of claustrophobic manifestations is panic attacks accompanied by fear of enclosure or confinements. Claustrophobic individuals may suffer from excessive panic attacks, wherein acute, intensifying anxiety or fear and confusion associated with cognitive breakdown (Bor & gerwen, 2003 p.13). The usual symptoms of panic attack accompanied in Claustrophobia are the following (Nutt, Feeney & Argyropoulos, 2003 p.5):

  • Palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating, trembling or shaking; fear of dying
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering; feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort; nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed or faint
  • Delirium or loss of touch in reality (feelings of unreal world) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of loosing control or going crazy; Chills or hot flushes
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations).

The DSM-IV system of classification embraces this view and classifies Agoraphobia as secondary to panic disorder (Nutt, Feeney & Argyropoulos, 2003 p.3). The anxiety disorders chapter in the DSM-IV is organized around the concept of the panic attack. It recognizes that such attacks can occur in all of the anxiety disorders in certain circumstances. It also states that spontaneous panic attacks are characteristic of panic disorder itself (p.4). Agoraphobia is the fear of exposure to certain areas that in the end may cause unexpected phenomena. The client usually exhibits breakdown especially on public places such as shopping malls, restaurants, recreation parks or even on the streets (Eisenstadt 2003, p.6).

In the book of Garvin (2003) entitled, The Treatment of Anxiety Disorders: Clinician Guides and Patient Manuals, suggests that Claustrophobia branches out from the condition of Agoraphobia. Conceptually, it is difficult to separate Claustrophobia from Agoraphobia. The person also experiences problems in escaping and embarrassing exit that are also present in Agoraphobic individuals. In terms of age of onset, Agoraphobia and Claustrophobia emerge after adolescence (p.13).

This kind of pattern suggests similarities between Agoraphobia and claustrophobia. Moreover, almost all symptoms between the two disorders are almost alike; however, the thin barrier that separates the two is the occurrence is severity of panic attack. Agoraphobic patient experiences panic attack especially if the situation proposes a great challenging demand and causes the sufferer to break down. This may involve unexpected phenomenon, example an influx of people in the street, which is normally composed of few people. This even extends somatic and cognitive manifestations for the sufferer.  In claustrophobic patients, panic attacks are due to enclosure especially in areas without windows or doors.

If you exchange both patients in the same setting, the claustrophobic will experience an absence panic attack since he is still in the street, although with influx of people, but escape and exit is still possible. However, if you place an agoraphobic in a situation with small place and no probable exit other than the door, the patient will manifest panic attack especially if the person is not used in that situation.

According to Barlow (2002), the treatment modalities for claustrophobic patients are In Vivo Exposure, Interoceptive Exposure and Cognitive Restructuring (p.416).

In Vivo Exposure – is a technique also involved in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is characterized by prolong exposure of an individual to the specific anxiety-producing material for a corresponding period of time. The aim of this treatment is primarily to reduce the anxiety in the person by means realizing the threat condition.

Interoceptive Exposure – is a technique that uses behavioral modification and explanation to the client that client regarding the condition and the threat producing stimuli. The treatment also helps the individual get over the symptoms brought by the condition.

Cognitive Restructuring – is the reshaping or the remolding of the thought of the individual suffering from the illness. It redirects the stimuli produced by the threat by changing its distortions. These are the treatment measure most commonly used to treat claustrophobic patients. The effectiveness among these treatments varies and application depends on the patients’ status.


  1. Barlow, D. H. (2002). Anxiety and Its Disorders: The Nature and Treatment of Anxiety and Panic. Guilford Press.
  2. Bor, R., & Gerwen, L. (2003). Psychological Perspectives on Fear of Flying. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..
  3. Das, S. S. (2003). Existential Encounters. iUniverse.
  4. Eisenstadt, M. M. (2003). Freedom from Agoraphobia. Mark Eisenstadt.
  5. Gavin, A. (2003). The Treatment of Anxiety Disorders: Clinician Guides and Patient Manuals. Cambridge University Press.
  6. Mavissakalian, R. M., & Prien, F. P. (1996). Long-Term Treatments of Anxiety Disorders. American Psychiatric Pub.
  7. Morgan, S. (2003). Phobia: A Reassessment. Karnac Books.


Victory And Defeat According To Clausewitz

            In the aftermath of war there is usually one side that emerges victorious while the other raises the white flag of surrender. When the commander of the triumphant side can discern the fluttering piece of white cloth then it is time to meet the leader of the vanquished army in order to discuss the terms of their surrender. Yet there are times when the declaration of victory can be made prematurely and there are also times when the outnumbered and outgunned enemy refuses to give in and accept defeat. Thus military strategist should therefore aim to secure the defeat of the enemy and never the achievement of victory.

Victory and Defeat

            In war there should only be two possible outcomes – victory and defeat. Victory for the army that was able to rout the enemy or able to destroy key military infrastructures as well as the successful decimation of the opposing forces. The one who is on the receiving end of the brutal assault will have no choice but to surrender. If the overwhelmed army refuses to give up then the leader will risk mutiny or rebellion from his troops because everyone is well aware of the fact that if they will not surrender they can be massacred or worse their land can be destroyed to the point that it would be impossible to support life after the end of the conflict.

            Victory on the other hand can have dual characteristics. The first one was outlined in the preceding discussion, which is the successful execution of strategy so that the opposing army will be forced to accept defeat and therefore forced to surrender. The second characteristic of victory is the attainment of strategic goals and this is where the problem of discerning victory and defeat become very much evident. In other words a military commander can be so brilliant and able to plan and execute the perfect strategy, achieving his military goals in the process and yet unable to break the enemy’s resolve.

            There can be many different reasons why victory is possible in the mind of the military commander whereas the soldier on the opposing side of the conflict will continue to fight. One possible reason is that the commander had miscalculated what was required to attain victory. For instance the capture of an island or a mountain can be considered as a decisive victory and yet the commander may be unaware that the enemy has one more ace up his sleeve so to speak and therefore will continue to fight. Another related idea is to have an idea of victory based on faulty intelligence reports.

For instance a general may have been a victim of misinformation and thinking that he had already killed or capture half of the strength of the opposing army he will prematurely declare victory. The only problem of course is that he had the wrong estimates. Instead of planning to defeat 5,000 enemy soldiers, he actually had to contend with 12, 000. This significant difference in numbers will easily force a general to celebrate early. This is a good example of the difference between claiming victory and totally defeating the enemy.

One military historian was able to put it succinctly when describing the importance of accurate and reliable information when it comes to strategic decision making, “…in the absence of an intelligent analysis of the conduct of war … decision making at the strategic level was likely to be taken over by method and routine, with potentially disastrous results.”[1] This is going beyond the mere possession of reliable intelligence.[2] Sumida was actually saying that aside from information the strategist should not be fooled into thinking that was can be measured and calculated as if it is one giant chess game.[3] War is like shifting sand it changes by the minute and the commander who is not quick in assessing and reassessing strategy will fail.[4]

The second possible reason why a commander can be forced to prematurely declare victory can be due to his underestimation of enemy resolve. A good illustration can be a boxing match between two fierce competitors. Each fighter has a basic idea of what is required to win. The first one was trained to box and to win on points. A prizefighter who is used to competing in the amateurs may develop this kind of mindset. On the other hand the other fighter was more desperate and for him there will be no tomorrow if he fails to deliver. So while his face was turned to a bloody pulp he will not surrender until he gets knocked down and never to give up.

In a real world setting the U.S. Armed Forces had their baptism of fire when they fought with guerilla fighters in Vietnam.[5] It is common knowledge that the U.S. military was defeated in that war. Coming from impressive wins in two World Wars as well as the Korean War this defeat was an embarrassing failure coming from a world superpower. But the lesson of Vietnam was crystal clear the guerilla fighters adopted a much more different standard than what conventional fighters are used to.[6] They were counting the number of casualties and they were not concern as to the number of military infrastructure that was destroyed, all they cared about is the need to force the enemy to leave.

It can therefore be argued that victory can only be achieved if the military commander has all the pertinent details regarding the conflict as well as a correct overview of what is the war all about and what is needed to defeat the enemy.[7] On the other hand true victory does not come from the victor or any third party that acts as a referee; true victor is only assured if one side of the conflict will readily admit defeat and ready to accept whatever conditions that would be given by the victor on the other side of the conflict.

Clausewitz Legacy

The idea that victory could not be certain unless the conqueror is assured of total victory and the vanquished acknowledges total defeat is not new.[8] In the modern era one of the best articulators of this kind of military precept is Carl von Clausewitz a Prussian military tactician. His concepts regarding the art and science of warfare is still an important part of modern warfare. A military school will not be complete without having copies of Clausewitz military books on strategies and warfare.In order to understand the deeper meaning of victory and defeat in military parlance there is a need to first understand Clausewitz and then compare his ideas to other strategist to get an overview of modern warfare.[9]

In the introduction to a translated work Col. F. N. Maude made a fitting tribute to Carl Von Clausewitz, a tribute that would have made the former Prussian General satisfied that his legacy lives many years after his demise and he wrote:

The Germans interpret their new national colours –black, red, and white – by saying ‘Durch Nacht und Blut zur licht.’ (‘Through night and blood to light’), and no work yet written conveys to the thinker a clearer conception of all that the red streak in their flag stands for than this deep and philosophical analysis of ‘War’ by Clausewitz.[10]

Needless to say Clausewitz was born in a time when warfare was as necessary as the basic commodities needed to survive on this planet. In the post-World War II era the political and economic conditions favored the creation of an agency like the United Nations. There were still major conflicts even after the UN was established but this time there is an international organization that can act as a mediator between two nations and before all hell will break loose the UN will attempt to exhaust all diplomatic means to diffuse tension and to avert war. But before the creation of the UN each nation is on its own. War can only be averted by treaties, alliances and common interests.

Clausewitz was not only a product of his time he is also a student of military warfare. His idea when it comes to victory and defeat can be understood by looking at his core principles and one can have a glimpse of what he meant by first analyzing how he viewed war. Clausewitz did not beat around the bush when asked to define warfare and he wrote, “We shall not enter into any of the abstruse definitions of War used by publicists […] War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfil our will.”[11] He his statements by saying, “War is nothing but a duel on an extensive scale […] Each strives by physical force to compel the other to submit to his will: each endeavours to throw his adversary, and thus render him incapable of further resistance.”[12] One has to force the issue until the bitter end.

Based on Clausewitz idea of what constitutes warfare, there is no way that a commander can talk his way out of battle. There is limited place for diplomacy in combat. Diplomatic talk should be performed before a war but once international conflict was declared, all non-combatants must step out of the way. The only people that should be permitted to join the fray are those that have no qualms in using deadly force. Clausewitz’ truthful assessment of warfare was further expounded by Col. Maude when he remarked that war is, “…the exercise of force for the attainment of a political object, unrestrained by any law save that of expediency…”[13] This can only be achieved if there is a singleness of purpose and the commitment to win the war at all cost.

If indeed war can be likened to two competitors locked in mortal combat then there is no logic in giving one’s opponent to rise up once again and given the chance to strike back. In other words it is imperative to beat the adversary into submission. It is only through this commitment of total victory that one can force the enemy to accept defeat. Clausewitz was able to explain it much better when warned against the ambivalence that oftentimes enter the heart of warriors and their leaders:

…the errors which proceed from the a spirit of benevolence are the worst […] it follows that he who uses force unsparingly, without reference to the bloodshed involved, must obtain a superiority if his adversary uses less vigour in its application. The former then dictates the law to the latter, and both proceed to extremities to which the only limitations are those imposed by the amount of counteracting force on each side.[14]

A person who loves the idea of warfare could not help but admire Clauewitz. If one has the propensity for violence there is no question that Clausewitz’s ideas should be made into the standard field manual for modern warfare. Yet there are many people who abhor the idea of war. The recent debacle in the Iraq War was one of the main reasons why former American President George W. Bush was very unpopular when he left the White House. In the 21st century no one should expect to see Clausewitz’s ideas celebrated in mass media. This is especially true when it comes to his belief in the use of “utmost force”. There are many pacifists in this world find Clausewitz ideas excessively violent and destructive.

One of the best examples of the aversion to bloodshed can be found in the book entitled, Toward an American Way of War. In this document one can see the propensity of Americans to be overly generous with its enemies a behaviour that Clausewitz would have opposed if he is part of the U.S. war machine. The author pointed out that there is a high degree of confusion with the way America fights its foes:

Unfortunately, it was never clear who had responsibility for crafting and nurturing the American way of war – those who directed it toward some political end, or those who developed the operational doctrine and did the fighting. The American tradition of preserving civilian authority over military command seemed only to exacerbate the problem by encouraging power and diplomacy to occupy separate spheres.[15]

There are many who tried to reinterpret Clausewitz theory and adjust it to fit the American way of fighting wars. They say that the Prussian general discussed the idea of war being an extension of politics. Echevarria said that nothing can be further from the truth and he challenged this idea by quoting another Admiral J.C. Wylie who asserted that, “…war may indeed be an extension of politics – meaning the perpetual struggle for power – but it was not really the continuation of policy.”[16] It is not simply about politics especially when a nation was attacked unprovoked just like in the case of Pearl Harbor in 1942. In this type of situations politicians must stay out of the way and let the professionals do their job.

Echevarria added that many made the mistake when they argued that Clausewitz can sometimes be interpreted as someone who leaned towards the use of diplomacy. This could not be aligned with Clausewitz’s previous pronouncement and furthermore, “…the very fact that was has broken out usually means that one policy has collapsed…”[17] When war is declared the gloves are taken off and it is time to inflict punishment or move fast to avert disaster – compromise or surrender to the overwhelming force of a conquering army.


There are many examples wherein one can find different usage of the terms victory and defeat. It was mentioned earlier that there are times when a commander will declare victory even if true victory was not achieved. One of the best example is the Battle of Iwo Jima wherein the overall commander declared that Japan had no longer any influence in the battle scarred island of Iwo Jima situated a relatively short distance away from Tokyo. While the leaders had a false sense of triumph the soldiers in the battlefield had no delusions whatsoever that the war was over. The soldiers need not have access to sophisticated intelligence they only need to know that the Japanese were still firing back at them.[18]

The error was due to faulty intelligence reports. They had no idea as to the exact capabilities of the Japanese who were prepared for an incoming invasion. The soldiers knew very well that if Iwo Jima will fall then the American will have a very easy time in conquering the Japanese heartland. The Americans were not fully aware as to the exact number of Japanese soldiers hidden in the said area.[19] Moreover, the Americans had no clear understanding of the tunneling capabilities of the Japanese Imperial Army.

Before D-Day the U.S. combined forces pounded the island with carpet bombings and pulverized the area with incessant shelling from Navy guns but they had no idea that the Japanese were buried like rats and practically safe from all the firepower leveled against them. There was even one soldier who was worried that perhaps there will be no more Japanese left for him to kill.[20] He was wrong of course and it was one of the bloodiest battles in the history of U.S. Armed force. The battle of Iwo Jima claimed the lives of thousands of U.S. Marines.

The American forces were not only aware of the capability of the Japanese to resist a long drawn siege they also had no idea that the Japanese were ready to die for their cause. In other words they underestimated their resolve. Looking at the destruction of the island as well as the number of soldiers that were killed it was logical to declare victory. The American generals were probably assured that they have superior forces and superior firepower. But they did not know that many are still alive below ground. The fighting must be done not above ground but a few feet below sea level.

The same problem was encountered in Vietnam. The American forces had a wrong idea as to the requirements for victory. They thought that Vietnam is similar to World War II where superior forces and superior firepower will dictate victory. It was their first taste of the bitterness of guerilla warfare and they were unprepared for it to say the least. There was no coherent plan and no clear objectives. On the other hand the Viet Cong warriors had a crystal clear idea as to what will it take to win and it is to resist till the end until the Americans would leave.

Victory should not be declared by the supposed victor but it must come from the vanquished. The defeated foe must come out from hiding and declare their unconditional surrender. War is not a pleasant activity. It must be averted at all cost and yet if war is imminent and there is no other course but to fight then Clausewitz was correct when he said that there must be no half measures. Everything must be done to achieve victory and this means that to inflict punishment and to use every resource in ones disposal to force the enemy to submit.


Chen, Peter. Battle of Iwo Jima. Accessed 29 March 2009. Available from

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(Original Work Published 1892).

Clausewitz, Carl von. Principles of War. (H.W. Gatzke, Trans.) New York: Dover, 2003.

Collins, John. Military Geography for Professionals and the Public. Washington, D.C.:

National Defense University, 1998.

Echevarria, A. Toward An American Way of War. Washington, D.C.: Stategic Studies

Institute, 2004.

Greene, Joseph. The Essential Clausewitz: Selections from On War. New York: Dover, 2003.

Gowen, Timothy. A Proposal to Rethink the Way We Develop National Military Strategy:

More Science, Less Art. PA: U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, 2005.

Gray, Collins. Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of

History. New York: Frank Cass Publishers, 2002.

Lonsdale, David. The Nature of War in the Information Age: Clausewitzian Future. New

York: Frank Cass, 2004.

Paret, Peter & Daniel Moran. Carl von Clausewitz: Two Letters on Strategy.

Washington, D.C.: Diane Publishing, 1992.

Sumida, J. (1989). The Relationship of History and Theory in On War. Retrieved February

12, 2007 from the World Wide Web:


[1] Sumida, J. (1989). The Relationship of History and Theory in On War. Retrieved February 12,

2007 from the World Wide Web:


[2] Gray, Collins. Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of History.

New York: Frank Cass Publishers, 2002.

[3] Collins, John. Military Geography for Professionals and the Public. (Washington, D.C.: National

Defense University, 1998), p. 280.

[4] Lonsdale, David. The Nature of War in the Information Age: Clausewitzian Future. (New York:

Frank Cass, 2004), p. 66.

[5] Gowen, Timothy. A Proposal to Rethink the Way We Develop National Military Strategy: More

Science, Less Art. (PA: U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, 2005), p.1.

[6] Lonsdale, p. 66.

[7] Clausewitz, Carl von. Principles of War. (H.W. Gatzke, Trans.) [New York: Dover, 2003], p. 12.

[8] Paret, Peter & Daniel Moran. Carl von Clausewitz: Two Letters on Strategy.

(Washington, D.C.: Diane Publishing, 1992), p. 51.

[9] Gowen, p.3.

[10] Clausewitz, Carl von. On War. (J. J. Graham, Trans.) [New York: Penguin Books, Ltd.,1982.

(Original Work Published 1892)], p. 83.

[11] Clausewitz, Carl von. On War. , p. 101.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid, p. 83.

[14] Ibid, p. 102.

[15] Echevarria, A. Toward An American Way of War. (Washington, D.C.: Stategic Studies

Institute, 2004), p. 11-12.

[16] Ibid. p. 11.

[17] Ibid, p. 12.

[18] Chen, Peter. Battle of Iwo Jima. Accessed 29 March 2009. Available from

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

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