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Thread: What Are You Currently Reading? 2010

  1. #41
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Reading:

    Expended Casings by Alan Farrell and Journey Into Darkness by Thomas P. Odom. Highly Recommended.

    Expended Casings - Amazon

    Journey Into Darkness - Amazon

  2. #42
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    Default Some light reading...

    Derrick Wright, The Battle for Iwo Jima. Written by a British author the book does a serviceable job of explaining the battle for Iwo Jima in a writing style that is both fresh and succinct (the volume itself is best described as “slim”). Though well written I was disappointed that the author did not cover in greater depth or at the very least acknowledge the background to the initiation of operation Detachment. The author somewhat uncritically accepts the conventional (B-29 bomber deployment) argument for the operation without exploring the inter-service debates and rivalries that went on behind the scenes (which see Robert S. Burrell, ‘Breaking the Cycle of Iwo Jima Mythology: A Strategic Study of Operation Detachment’), The Journal of Military History, Vol. 68, No. 4, Oct. 2004). I also would have liked to have had more information on the Japanese side. However, as the author expressly states that his intention is to examine the US angle this can be forgiven. The narrative contains many firsthand accounts of the battle and includes, much to the author’s credit, chapters that cover the “forgotten” heroes; the Corpsmen and Seabees. The historical narrative itself is structured chronologically and, after a brief background assessment, follows the entire operation from D-Day to D+36. I would, however, like to know of any English language books that do cover the Japanese side in depth during the final stages of the war and would appreciate the members of the SWC pointing the way to them especially if they are better than the even slimmer and, on the whole, less than satisfactory volume below.

    Patrick Hennessey, The Junior Officers’ Reading Club: Killing Time and Fighting Wars. There is something remarkably unsatisfying about this book; though, I am certain his friends will enjoy it immensely. To be fair one learns an awful lot about life at Sandhurst, about regimental life in general and about the culture junior officers are socialised into but it still reads much less like a memoir of war and more like a cleverly marketed and pitched faux-memoir/diary for the iPod generation. Some may find that tone and style refreshing but I for one found it self-indulgent with a whiff of the flippant. The author is apparently now reading to become a lawyer and his book reads very much like a publicity exercise in preparation for a life of (self-)importance.


    Mathew Parker, Monte Cassino: The Story of the Hardest Fought Battle of World War II. While I would dispute the latter half of the title (there are surely other battles that are just as deserving of the title “hardest fought battle”, especially in WWII) I cannot dispute the unique conditions, hardships and challenges that the Italian campaign imposed on the multi-national combatants. Combining military history with oral history the book reads much like Max Hastings’ Overlord. The author examines the inter-allied squabbles, often petty but serious nonetheless, regarding Allied strategy, courses of action, allocation of objectives and directions of advance while dispelling many myths (i.e., regarding the supposed proclivity of North African soldiers to rape and loot) and revealing much that has since faded from memory in the process. He also does a great service to the forces of countries usually under-appreciated in more general works on WWII war such as the Free French whose North African forces provided sterling service and whose metropolitan French officers suffered inordinately higher casualties than some of the Allied other units; the Poles; South Africans, Indians, Kiwis/New Zealanders, Aussies and Canadians (ANZAC). Indeed, for the Free French and the Poles the Italian Campaign held much greater import politically than it did militarily as both sides fought for their respective nation’s honour and for the right to determine their nation’s status in post-Nazi Europe.

    [A German propaganda leaflet berates similar Allied Psyops efforts]: “Those of you who are lucky enough to get out of this inferno of Cassino will always remember the German parachutists, the most ferocious of them all. Yet just imagine, some greasy, slick-haired guy sitting safely way back of you tries to soften us with leaflets, asking us to wave a white handkerchief. Let this guy come to the front and find out that the paper with his trash on it is just good enough to the wipe the arse with. On second thoughts, let him continue sending his leaflets – toilet paper is becoming rare at Cassino, and tough as they are, even German parachutists don’t like using grass”. (p. 276)
    Quite.

  3. #43
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    Default Help Needed on Afghanistan 2001-2006

    Greetings.

    I am after a good reference book on US military operations in Afghanistan, especially the early entry operations by the US Marines and helicopter operations generally from 2001- 2006.

    This is for a 8,000 word advanced staff college type paper, so the more references in it, the better.

  4. #44
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    Military history and current affairs I have read lately:

    The Brigade by Howard Blum. The stories of three men who served with the Jewish Independent Brigade Group in battle in Italy in the last months of World War II and then on occupation duty. The latter, in Italy, the low countries and Germany, becomes both destrcuctive and constructive when an element within the brigade starts hunting down and killing alleged war criminals, and then both they and others rescue Jewish refugees and smuggle some back to Palestine. Quite an interesting story and characters but not particularly well-written.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brigade-Stor...4443603&sr=1-3

    Commando by Chris Terrill. The author follows a troop of Royal Marine recruits through training (and completes the Commando tests himself) and also goes off to Afghanistan to report on a newly-commissioned officer and his troop in combat. A few more details and insights than the TV series but I found the former more gripping.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Commando-Chr...4444297&sr=1-1

    Chasing the wind by Major-General Kenneth van der Spuy. The memoirs of one of South Africa's aviation pioneers, from his training in SA's first class of flight cadets, through action in both German South West and German East Africa and France in World War I, post-WW1 service with the RAF in North Russia including capture and imprisonment by the Bolsheviks, peacetime service in South Africa and the UK, to his final posting as the Union Defence Force's Director-General Technical Services in World War II.

    http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/Se...d&x=0&sortby=3

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    Gates of Fire. Pretty much required reading in the Marine Corps. Definitely enjoyed it, some great, visceral stuff, but I found the happy helots a bit hard to take.

    Battle Leadership. German WWI captain's lessons, only twenty pages in but enjoying it so far. Good bit on knowing the personalities/psychologies of one's subordinates and how to issue them orders as a result.

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    Doug Beattie MC, An Ordinary Soldier
    The author seems to have spent his entire time in Afghanistan in a kind of moral purgatory and he is often second guessing himself throughout the work. Whether that is for civilian consumption or whether he was genuinely stricken with ethical vertigo the work is valuable in its depiction of “the face of battle” (to borrow a phrase from the title of John Keegan’s book). It is very definitely narrator’s perspective to which we are treated in all its moral confusion. Yet, Beattie is no Erich Maria Remarque. He has a job to do and does it...with aplomb. That job was to take Garmsir “the gateway to Helmand” with the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment and elements of the ANA and ANP many of whom were of questionable ability and/or loyalty. Ironically, Beattie was initially penned for desk job as intelligence liaison officer to the Canadian contingent. When he arrived at KAF (Kandahar Airfield), in the best traditions of British ad hocary and gentlemanly amateurism...
    ...no one knew anything about Doug Beattie [...] I was given a choice. Either act as an operations watch keeper, another desk role also at KAF, or go down to Lashkar Gah to work at the embryonic Provincial Security and Co-ordination Centre (PSCC)(p.75)
    He chose the latter and would subsequently be involved in one ambush after another as part of his job working with the ANA/P formulating a common security plan and supporting UK forces with fighting detachments of Afghans co-ordinated by OMLT (Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams). Beattie then continues to explain the difficulties of leading and co-ordinating OMLTs and their Afghan charges and is, if anything, an excellent examination of the clash of cultures- professional vs “yokel” / occidental rationalism vs oriental rationalism- that NATO and Afghan soldiers must contend with. There’s also the cultural intelligence that he needs in order to operate effectively in a world of deeply held religious beliefs intermingled with “chai boys” belonging to village elders, local notables or tribal chiefs...
    ...there to be ordered about by the men and, when required, to provide sexual pleasure [...] The boy was fresh-faced and clean shaven. He looked timid. At some stage, as he aged, his sexual attractiveness would wane and he would be replaced by someone else, someone younger. For him the abuse would be over. Instead it was likely he would himself become a fully fledged member of the police and probably turn into an abuser too.(p.137)
    Add to this the outright collusion and collaboration of certain ANP units with the Taliban (p.233) and the distrust between the ANA and ANP and you have an unenviable and heady mix. Though overly sentimental for my taste definitely an interesting, and with regards to the ANA and ANP a revealing, read.
    [After a brief encounter with the Taliban, Beattie asks ANA Col. Gulzar]...what would happen to the bodies of the dead. “We will give them back to the village elders and they will return them to the Talib for burial”. There was a sense of honour between the two sides I did not expect. Perhaps it came about because there wasn’t actually much that differentiated them. Afghans take a pragmatic approach to fighting. Their loyalty can be bought, people often choosing sides on the basis of who they believe will win[.](p.109)

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    Jake Scott, Blood Clot: In Combat with the Patrols Platoon, 3 Para, Afghanistan, 2006
    In polar opposition to Beattie is the “raw” account of Jake Scott whose forthright and honest style comes as a cool breeze. At times reminiscent of the early Ernst Jünger Scott’s prose is jagged edged and searing, he pulls no punches which, for a Para, is to be expected. A member of 3 Para’s patrols (reconnaissance) platoon of WMIKs (7) and Pinzgauers (2) he is mostly fond of the former vehicles recounting that ...
    I remember talking to a Canadian officer on this while harboured up amongst their convoy for a night in the desert, he too thought we were mad. But as I explained to him and many others who question this, our Land Rovers could get in and out of most areas without being spotted unlike the big US LAVs that were seen miles off. We were small and relatively quiet, light and fast; it provided better cross-country capability and the reason why we would stay off the main routes where others would fall foul and pay the price with roadside bombs. We had better arcs of fire and a 360 view while moving. We could lie low in wadi beds and in mountain gullies. We also had the option of debussing very quickly if need be.(p.34-5)
    The Patrols would do very much of this in their tour in Helmand province although they would also operate on foot during air assaults. He also excels at elucidating the unheralded and often inexplicable aspects of small unit cohesion, camaraderie and brotherhood- the banter, the jibing, driving off whilst the youngest soldier attempts a No.2 behind your WMIK, regimental and professional pride and espirit d’corps- that often determine whether or not men will fight. He’s also not afraid to criticise...
    After the big kick-off about the .50 Cal weapons not firing correctly in Now Zad, little had been done. [...] The Canadians and Estonians were selling the British army .50 Cal ammunition. It was ridiculous that this couldn’t be solved ourselves and we had to sponge off other countries, as whoever had ordered the ammo had, in my opinion, gone for some cheap #### and the low grade of ammo was causing problems[...] What had happened in Now Zad, Sangin, Kajaki and now Musa Qaleh had made the top brass realise that this was no ordinary Iraq, KJosovo or Northern Ireland tour. I also began seeing more kit and equipment coming through the stores, TI was the big thing, TI sights for personal weapons and the .50 Cals were like rocking horse #### yet here they were (one TI per .50 Cal and one Viper TI per team). The new body armour and swing arms for the WMIK along with run-flat tyres we also accommodated. Also more ammo was coming in and we could eventually operate with our ‘full scales’ ammunition [..] About time; but again too little too late in my eyes.(p.135)
    Like Beattie, Scott also reveals the complexities/pitfalls of CIMIC when he narrates that the Governor of Helmand, Engineer Daoud was pushing for more assistance from UK forces...
    One of his former commanders had been attacked and his bodyguards and family members killed. Not only that but one of the local police chiefs was under threat from the local people for raping a young girl. “Let him have it”, we yelled out on hearing the news. I definitely didn’t want to be associated with saving or protecting a rapist and paedophile, I thought we were here to protect the people of Afghanistan and rid them from the Taliban and terror. If they thought we were protecting people like this it would turn everyone against us.(p121-2)
    Scott vivdly describes the intensity of small unit engagements putting the reader into the heat of battle often in circumstances at once surreal and deadly...
    ’Stand down lads, its just women and children’, the boss said.
    ‘Stand down lads just a group pof tarts having a mothers meeting’, I joked.
    ‘Well is there any chance of getting some scoff?’, Tommo said.
    ‘Yeah I’m Hank Marvin’, Lee butted in. [...] As the sun began to sink some of women walked past some of the outer positions, no more than 50m away, dressed in their female dish-dash clothing with their faces covered. The Yanks moved a Humvee up onto the high ground alongside our blokes. Chris W., a fuill screw, was the commander up there.
    ‘Hey what you doing’ he said to one of the Yanks now standing sky lining himself with a tab in his mouth. ‘You’re in plain view, pull your vehicle back’.
    ‘We are fine mate’, the Yank replied.
    OK, suit yourself’, Chris finished. Minutes later as the US soldier sat at the front wheel of his Humvee a massive explosion erupted. The US Humvee exploded into flames, it took a direct hit with an RPG and then everything went noisy around them. Heavy 7.62mm weapons started firing from the location from where the Afghan women had disappeared. Pete McKinley, a tom in A Company, ran forward under fire and dragged the injured Yank back and started first aid while rounds were smacking into the ground in front of him[...] The so-called women had really been Taliban dressed to disguise themselves to get as close as possible to some of the lads and the US troops and set up a firing post right in front of their position.(p.84,85)

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    Col. Richard Kemp & Chris Hughes, Attack State Red
    The book follows the exploits of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment Battle Group (also attached were an Estonian Armoured Infantry Company and a Danish Reconnaissance Company) during their six month tour in Helmand province’s Sangin Valley in spring 2007. The authors brilliantly capture the minutiae of small unit combat without ever losing sight of the bigger picture; strategy, operations and tactics are all covered and one would hope that the book is re-read over again for the many valuable “lessons learned” it offers.


    Unlike an Ordinary Soldier and Blood Clot (see above) Attack State Red is very much a unit social history. No one man takes precedence or centre stage. Indeed the entire Royal Anglian battle group is portrayed in all its variety, colour and spirit. Like Private John Thrumble and his GPMG “Mary” tragically killed in a friendly fire incident involving a US F-15 (p. 358); Maj. Mick Aston who had formerly flown Kiowa reconnaissance helicopters in the Australian Army before being moved to the Australian Signals Corps and then turning up in ol’ Blighty (p.46); the deeply religious Fijian Jopp “Bomber” B. Matai, platoon machine gunner, who refused to continue killing Taliban because “I have killed to many today. I cannot do it” (p.303); &, Battalion sniper LCpl. Oliver “Teddy” S. Ruecker, an American, whose father – a recipient of the Bronze Star- had been a master sergeant in US Air Force Special operations (p.59). From Private to Colonel every man receives his fair dues. The book, like much of the work to come out of Afghanistan in a revelation. Having read he negative press that Mastiff’s have gotten over the past few years, for instance, I was surprised to read about their highly effective usage in Afghanistan with one particular raid operation effectively gutting its opponents (pp.332-338). Also interesting is the thriving scrap metal market driven by enterprising Afghans who scour the battlefield for empty shell cases and ammo boxes (p.147).


    Also interesting was the role of non-Taliban adversaries such as Shir Agha, a Sangin crime lord whose saw his black market profits plunge after UK forces restored order, whose men had duped a twelve-year old boy into pushing a cart laden with explosives against men of B Company (p.253). All of this would be useful to the battle group Intelligence officers who compiled the evidence which would be presented with other information to a shura in Sangin...
    The elders had often been briefed on the various reconstruction projects, but most hadn’t seen them. And they were frequently told by Taliban propaganda machinery that no progress was being made and the British were doing nothing to help them. In a town without newspapers, and such low literacy levels, the people understandably didn’t know what to believe. [Lt. Col. Stuart W.]Carver had managed to get a projector into Sangin.[...]His words were accompanied by PowerPoint picture thrown up on the wall behind him, showing the Jusulay irrigation project, electricity pylons being repaired and work on schools. The audience was enthralled. Most hadn’t seen any of this before, and few had ever seen projected images of any kind. As Carver went through the presentation the excitement grew, especially when the pictures showed people and places they recognised. Then Carver flashed up ma photograph showing the devastation in the market place a few days earlier. “And this is what the Taliban are doing [actually Shir Agha’s in co-operation with the Taliban]. They are attacking you. They don’t want you to have a market. [IMO its interesting how creating “market towns” has been a part of UK COIN culture historically, a la Ireland under Cromwell] Ghey don’t want you to have the prosperity the market brings you. They want to destroy your market”. He threw up more gruesome photographs, of the wrecked phone card cart, the destroyed police vehicle, of wounded and panicking locals, and finally, the remains of the dead twelve year old boy. “You have seen everything that we are doing. It is all taking you forward, to greater security and prosperity. But this is where the Taliban want to take you. They want to take you back. Back to the time before May when there was no market. They have even stooped to using a child to destroy your future”.[...] The elders were shocked. They were muttering and tutting loudly and shaking their heads vigorously at visual evidence of what the Taliban had done.(p.267)
    I’ll quote some more from the deeds of these heroes rather than try to summarise.....


    Privates Parker and Thrumble’s debrief their CO Lt. Seal-Coon...
    “...I figured out it [enemy small arms fire] must have come from high up and there were no compounds or anything that it could’ve been fired from. I looked across and I wondered about the trees. I thought they couldn’t be up the trees – bit too risky for them. But i had a good look and couldn’t see anything so I told Thrumbles to put a burst through the trees”. Next to Parker, Thrumble started laughing, “[...] Mary and me fired a couple of bursts of twenty, and bodies just started falling out everywhere’. “[...]Don’t exaggerate to the platoon commander”, said Parker. “But two bodies fell out of the trees. It was like some sick comedy show or
    something”.(p.140)

    A vicious firefight in Operation Ghartse Ghar...
    Private Thompson looked into the eyes of a Taliban fighter with an RPG launcher on his shoulder. Private Perry, just behind him, started to swing his weapon towards the fighter. When Thompson locked eyes with the Taliban fighter everything slowed right down. Before either Thompson or Perry could react, there was a loud bang.. Thompson saw a jet of flame flash from the back of the launcher ad a cloud of blue-grey smoke, and the missile in the air, spinning straight at him. The rocket glanced off his Osprey chest plate and flung him violently into the bank, knocking the wind out of him. It exploded against the side of the ditch between him and Perry. Thompson was engulfed in the enormous blast [...] His whole body was cut up by RPG shrapnel, with fifty holes in his legs alone.[...]Beside him Perry lay bleeding and moaning, 157 separate shrapnel wounds in his arms, legs and nose. Corporal Murphy who was close by, was hurled to the ground by the blast. He felt his legs, peppered by shrapnel, compressing and burning. Private Ross Green, Murphy’s GPMG gunner, towards the rear, and an engineer behind him, were also badly wounded”.(p.243)

    Maj. Mick Aston talking in an Army Air Corps WAH-64...
    The JTAC said to Aston, “He repeats what he told us before, he cannot fire until he has positively identified the target”. Fuming, Aston replied, “Well I have PID’d the target. The Viking crews have PID’d the target. 7 Platoon has. How much more PIDing does he need?”. “Sir, he says he needs to PID it himself before he can engage”. “Look I used to be in a helicopter recce squadron. I know how difficult it is to identify people from the air if they are well concealed, even with the kind of kit these fellas up there have nowadays. But we’re firing at the enemy, the Apache pilot can see our tracer. The enemy’s firing back at us, the pilot can see their tracer too. What is the problem?” [...] “What is he bothered about? Is it civvies in the area? There aren’t any. But if there had been, we’d have killed them all by now with our guns”.[...]Aston was raging. He refused to believe the Apaches had to work under such a ridiculous constraint – in this situation.[...] He said, “Let’s get rid of him now. We’ll get something else on to it. Tell the pilot – repeat these words to him exactly from me – fire at the target now or get out”.[...] Aston turned to Corporal Wilsher, his mortar fire controller. “The minute the Apache clears the airspace start engaging with mortars. I want HE up and down that treeline. Can you do that, or will the mortar line commander need to [...] do some PIDing in person?” He turned back to the JTAC. “While he’s doing that, get me some proper close air support”.(p.65)

  9. #49
    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    Finsihed WAR by Sebastian Junger a couple of weeks ago. Good book. I have tried to follow the 173BCT and their tours in Afghanistan.

    Just finished Rage Company: A Marine's Baptism By Fire by Thomas P. Daly (it's okay, save your money and get it from the library) and The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick (nothing new in this book, Custer loses - I know big suprise).

    Also reading Rakkasans: The Combat History of the 187th Airborne Infantry by E. M. Flanagan

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    Default A selection

    A Stranger to Myself, by Willy Peter Reese, a young German soldier on the Russian front during the second world war who was killed in 1944 at the age of 23....His accounts were discovered only in 2002
    From:http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnist...r-writer.thtml

    A review article of several books by a military historian, from Arnhem 1944 'Coward at the Bridge' by James Delingpole, Imjin River 1951 'To the Last Round' by Andrew Salmon, set in the Korengal Valley 'War' by Sebastian Junger and from the later:
    Not since his first world war namesake Ernst, I think, has any writer got closer to the dark, terrible but strangely touching secret of why it is that men so love war.
    Link:http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnist...love-war.thtml
    davidbfpo

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    Smile

    On the reading stand at the moment are the 1942 version of Douhet's Command of the Air and 'Johnnie' Johnson's Wing Leader...taking up a new appointment next week on the air side of the house so thought that I might start looking forward by looking back...have just finished Benoit Mandelbrot's The (mis)behaviour of Markets which is an interesting first principles look at irregularity. Although its focus is upon market systems a large proportion of his thinking, IMHO, could inform how we consider our own irregular environment...book review to follow...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-21-2010 at 07:06 AM. Reason: Correction made at authors request

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    Default The Insurgent Archipelago by John Mackinlay

    Learned about the book from SWJ. The author contends:

    1) Jihadism is but one phase of a worldwide insurgency that will bedevil us for decades and that is an expression of alienation of 3rd world immigrant communities within rich nations. A future phase, he says, may involve millions of destitute 3rd world refugees from global warming-induced inundation of their homelands, who will have found their way to western cities.

    2) Thus, the most important theater of the conflict is within the western nations, not in some Middle Eastern or Central Asian land. Not least, he posits, because the "expeditionary approach" of taking the fight overseas is stillborn by the western nations' obsession with an exit strategy even before we charge through the entrance. So, he argues, as domestic politics forecloses a winning strategy overseas, we are left to focus on the domestic threat..which is the main one in any case.

    3) He cites as a potential model a UK op involving LE cum the whole of gov't
    approach in engaging the Islamic immigrant community.

    Opinion: May provide some insight into a Weltanschauung prevalent in some European circles. ....Also, no problem for a retired guy like me, but if your time comes at a premium you might want to weigh the opportunity cost of reading....

    Cheers,
    Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike in Hilo View Post
    Learned about the book from SWJ. The author contends:

    1) Jihadism is but one phase of a worldwide insurgency that will bedevil us for decades and that is an expression of (#1) alienation of 3rd world immigrant communities within rich nations. A future phase, he says, may involve millions of destitute 3rd world refugees from global warming-induced inundation of their homelands, who will have found their way to western cities.

    2) Thus, (#2) the most important theater of the conflict is within the western nations, not in some Middle Eastern or Central Asian land. Not least, he posits, because the "expeditionary approach" of taking the fight overseas is stillborn by the western nations' obsession with an exit strategy even before we charge through the entrance. So, he argues, as domestic politics forecloses a winning strategy overseas, we are left to focus on the domestic threat..which is the main one in any case.

    3) He cites as a potential model a UK op involving LE cum the whole of gov't
    approach in engaging the Islamic immigrant community.

    Opinion: May provide some insight into a Weltanschauung prevalent in some European circles. ....Also, no problem for a retired guy like me, but if your time comes at a premium you might want to weigh the opportunity cost of reading....

    Cheers,
    Mike.
    Great find. Heard about that from an old professor of mine from KCL (Mackinley teaches there IIRC) but I decided to avoid the whole "coin" cottage industry/fad for a while. Disagree on #1, but I've been talking about #2 & #3 for a while (almost got myself in a spot of bother whilst at Hamas occupied SOAS). #1 assumes certain groups of people want to be British; IMO that's not the case, if it was we wouldn't have the parallel societies that we do (which aren't just Muslim phenomena) given the amount of money that's been wasted (IMO) in community schemes (but then again that was the point of multiculturalism, wasn't it? Oh, what tangled webs we weave!). I find such assertions simplistic and condescending (why are we always the self-defined perpetrators in a narrative of victimhood which priveledges the Other in favour of the Self? The ghost of Edward Said me thinks-and his Leftist/Liberal supporters). As Hassan Butt said after the 7/7 attacks in London (2005);

    When I was still a member of what is probably best terms the British Jihadi Network, a series of semi-autonomous British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideoloy, I remmeber how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy. By blaiming the government for our actions, those who pushed the "Blair's bombs" line did our propaganda for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence; Islamic theology.
    Anyway, thanks for the synopsis, will definately search out a copy.
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 07-06-2010 at 09:43 AM. Reason: admin...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    why are we always the self-defined perpetrators in a narrative of victimhood which priveledges the Other in favour of the Self?
    Another great quote!
    Nothing that results in human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. (Christopher Columbus)

    All great truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
    (Arthur Schopenhauer)

    ONWARD

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    Default Great Quotes...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
    Another great quote!
    Speaking of great quotes, in Germany this morning on BFBS Radio I heard of the opening phrase of the winner of the Bulwer-Lytton Prize for Bad Writing which was awarded to:

    Molly Ringle

    For her opening phrase:

    "For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss–a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil."

    Pure genius!!!!

    http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/
    Commando Spirit:
    Courage, Determination, Unselfishness, and Cheerfulness in the face of adversity

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    I'm currently re-reading a bunch of books for a master's dissertation / PhD proposal on Islamist military culture and their "way of war". Relying quite heavily on Insurgents, Terrorists and Militias: Warriors of Contemporary Combat (by Richard Shultz and Andrea Dew, my review available here), Military Orientalism: Eastern War Through Western Eyes (by Patrick Porter) and Waging Wars without Warriors? Changing Culture of Military Conflict (by Christopher Coker).

  17. #57
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Just finished Matterhorn, which deserves all the accolades currently being heaped on it. What stood out for me was the quality of the writing, the recognizable culture of the Marine Corps, and the remarkable compassion of the author for almost every character in the story.

    It's almost 600 pages and I finished it in two nights last week. Now rereading it. Yeah, it's that good.

    Of interest, the author's Navy Cross citation. The author pretty much outlines how he earned this in the book, but doesn't mention the award.

  18. #58
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    I picked up a couple of books while at the National Archives this past weekend:

    Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution by Woody Holton

    The Quotable Founding Fathers by Buckner F. Melton, Jr.


    Ken White wisely points out that much of the Constitution was to control the populace, and he is correct. Pure Democracy is not a good thing. This first book is a great read for those who want to understand the lives and times of our insurgent founding fathers as they emerged into the chaos of a newly liberated country that found itself with too pure of a democracy to be effective and struggling with the realities of what it meant to be liberated from the governance and support of Great Britain. This is the story of the first US counterinsurgency, and as such "Unruly Americans" should probably in the COIN library of anyone who has an interest or role in that field. (there is small grace period for the insurgent before he finds himself in the role of counterinsurgent. To think otherwise is to invite disaster)

    The second is just a great resource to gain insights into the thoughts of individuals and what they were thinking; and quotes to toss out to support points in current arguments as well.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 07-13-2010 at 01:23 PM.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  19. #59
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    The second is just a great resource to gain insights into the thoughts of individuals and what they were thinking; and quotes to toss out to support points in current arguments as well.
    Yes, throw some from Jefferson on how the enemy of all enemies to a Republic are the Bankers!

  20. #60
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    "Operational logistics", Moshe Kress

    I hope it's good, don't want to waste my time.

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