The following is from the introduction to The Politics of War:
I have written this book as much to describe the actual condition of the world during World War II as much as the way the United States defined and quite as often misconceived the course of global realities. Yet what can be said about the seeming variability of a national policy that to the professional, much less the casual observer, has often seemed chaotic? To the extent that any system is haphazard or improvised, of course, no single theory or explanation will cover the phenomenon, and the fashionable tendency to believe that men of power are the victims of errors rather than the creators of them--and that perhaps reason or pressure by reasonable men will bring them back to the truth--has reinforced this homily. This assumption, so crucial to the premises of liberal political theory, implies that "democratic" power structures are not merely poorly informed but innocent, and that a true dialogue between virtue and power is possible. Such an image, postulating behavior as a series of bumbles, ignores the possibility that policies which are dangerous, destructive, or even do not work are very often quite consistent and necessary in forwarding interests or holding the line in defensive situations.
In attempting to appraise the conduct of policy one does not have to assume that history is determined or made up of repeated accidents. It is sufficient to study its pattern of functional behavior, to comprehend the assumptions formulated in response to challenging situations, and to perceive a policy and pattern that in some sense makes future responses predictable and in this sense inevitable. And quite beyond rhetoric are the institutional forces that do or can influence policy and power. If rhetoric is confused with reality, the banalities of speech writers, platitudes, and the convenient transformation of words into useful symbols rather than truth all become the basis of analysis and a substitute for comprehending action, clear definitions, and institutional imperatives.