Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 5

A reluctance to prosecute war to the extent necessary to achieve victory even when a realistic definition of victory was elucidated. This one should be a no-brainer as recent American experience has shown that stupidity very much exists at the top of American strategic thinking at least, which is compounded by clueless media talking heads who I am more and more convinced actively wish to see Western society fail.  Clausewitz says that war naturally tends to extremes but in reality never gets there. This point goes back to deciding what determines victory.  Clausewitz is undoubtedly correct in his assertion that ultimately victory is in fact using force to compel the … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Imperative by Steve White & Charles Gannon

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Imperative is the seventh installment of the Starfire series that started with the publication of Insurrection in 1990. It details events in the universe from the Starfire games which were initially released as board games in 1979 but have continued into the computer era. Imperative occurs several years after the war with the Arduans chronicled in Book 6. In this new war later Arduan dispersates attack the races of the Pan-Sentient Union, Rim Federation, and Terran Republic. The old enemies, the Arachnids, reappear and it is not clear if the new threat can be contained and defeated. As usual the characters and races are portrayed realistically and the element of … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Pandemic by Sonia Shah

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Given the sensationalism about several different diseases over the past few years this was a topical choice of book for me to read. Sonia Shah’s book Pandemic is not so much a litany of what the world is doing wrong in regards to disease so much as a cautionary tale about how the world can get it right to avoid the outbreak of a deadly disease that is eminently preventable. The book itself is 218 pages of text divided into 10 chapters with a glossary, extensive (over 30 pages) notes, and an index. The chapters are very logically organized with the topic of one chapter logically leading to the next. … More after the Jump…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 4

Wars are no longer fought to achieve victory but to achieve often nebulous goals short of the actual defeat of the enemy and often were unrelated or even contrary to national strategic interests. This one is a personal bug-bear of mine.  It has been common in the post-World War II world for Western nations in particular to set nebulous and generally unattainable war goals.  The submission of an enemy state is often not an objective and when it is even when achieved international pressure limits making a total victory truly stick.  This is not helped by unrealistic expectations on the part of the public that military victory can be achieved … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Into the Black by Rowland White

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[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] I am a space enthusiast and have been since I was a kid and saw the Apollo-Soyuz missions on the TV news. I was thrilled when the Shuttle first flew in 1981 and followed the program through to it’s final mission in 2011. I was thrilled when given the opportunity to review Into the Black and the quality of the story is amazing. The book is the story of the development and first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia from the … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The New Case for Gold by James Rickards

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I have previously reviewed James Rickards other books The Death of Money and Currency Wars and found them both well written and compelling reads. His newest book, The New Case for Gold is no different. This is not a huge book but it covers its topic very well. The book is not hugeat 172 pages of text with an acknowledgements section and index. It is organized into 6 topical chapters and a conclusion. The first five chapters essentially explain at length why gold is worth owning even though central bankers say it is not. The essential argument, and one that I happen to agree with is that gold is money. … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath by Ted Koppel

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Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath is not what I would call a typical prepper book, if there is such a thing, instead it is a serious look at a very plausible scenario and the ways in which it is and is not being addressed by both government and the private sector. The scenario is a cyberattack on the computers that control the US electric grid. Given the nature of cybercrime this is an extremely plausible scenario. The book itself is not huge at 249 pages of text and includes notes and an index but no bibliography. Ted Koppel is a respected journalist who has not … More after the Jump…

D-Day 72nd Anniversary

capa beach of normandy D-Day

This is an annual tradition at Battles and Book Reviews.  This year is the 72nd anniversary of the Allied Landings at Normandy in France during WWII. Just a reminder for everyone to stop today and take a moment to reflect on the events that happened 68 years ago today on the shores of Normandy in France.   This is the day that the Allies opened up the long-awaited Second Front against Hitler’s Germany.   The invasion took place along almost 50 miles of French coast using five named invasion beaches.   From south to north the beaches were named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.   The first days objectives … More after the Jump…

BOOK REVIEW – A HISTORY OF THE MODERN CHINESE ARMY BY XIAOBING LI

Much has been written about China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Much of these works has focused on either uniforms, equipment, or a brief history of its involvement in the Korean War. However, anyone really interested in a first rate history of the PLA should seriously look at Xiaobing Li’s “A History of the Modern Chinese Army”. Xiaobing Li is currently a professor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma, and has once served in the ranks of the PLA. His work is wroth reading because it fill many of the “gaps” usually found in other works on the subject. These gaps are those aspects about the PLA that were … More after the Jump…

BOOK REVIEW: GUNSHIP ACE: THE WARS OF NEALL ELLIS, HELICOPTER PILOT AND MERCENARY

BOOK REVIEW: GUNSHIP ACE: THE WARS OF NEALL ELLIS, HELICOPTER PILOT AND MERCENARY By A J. Venter Casemate Publishers, 324 Pages Review by J.C. Tejeda Jr. Usually the word “mercenary” will either conjure up images of disgust or starry-eyed fascination. The sullied reputation of “Les Affreux”, those mercenaries of the Congo era, was a case in point. However, that does not give the average reader an accurate, much less glamorous picture of what a real life mercenary is like. To his credit, Al J. Venter has made a career covering the various wars that plagued the African continent over the last thirty years. It was he, better than anyone else … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Brink of Extinction by Nicholas Ryan

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[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] When the author of this book contacted me about doing a review I was hesitant at first as I am starting to think the zombie book genre is about played out. I mean, how many variations on brain eating zombies in a post-apocalyptic world can there be. After exchanging a few emails with Mr. Ryan I agreed to read it and I am certainly glad I did. This volume is the fifth zombie book by Nicholas Ryan and it is … More after the Jump…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 3

Example: The Israeli bombing of a hospital in Gaza and use of white phosphorous munitions during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 During the 2008-2009 Israeli-Gazan war there were back and forth allegations that Israel had deliberately bombed hospitals in Gaza in violation of the Geneva Convention.  Israel responded by claiming that Hamas was using these hospitals as shields.  The general consensus since then has seemed to be that elements of Hamas and their leadership did indeed use hospitals as shelter but that has not been widely reported in the West.  Another was the claim that Israeli use of White Phosphorous artillery shells is a war crime because white phosphorous is … More after the Jump…

Book Review: War Stories: by Stephen Macdonald

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[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] War Stories chronicles one Marine’s into the Marine Corps, to Vietnam, and back to the US. This is not a huge book at 240 pages but is well worth the read. This is not a book like Robert Mason’s Chickenhawk but that does not take away from the matter of fact and realist story told. The book is a straight matter of fact account of one man’s journey into the Marine Corps and to Vietnam in 1967. The author was … More after the Jump…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 2

Modern interpretations of the law of war are flawed from a war winning perspective This point cannot be hammered home enough as it is the root of the problem with Western war making in my opinion.  The establishment of the UN post-World War II and the ratification of a new set of Geneva conventions on the conduct of war in 1949 have radically changed the Western approach to war and following those rules have had a major impact on the West’s inability to decisively win the wars they have fought.  In fact, it could be argued, and I do that post-war notions of war making have led to unsatisfactory peace’s … More after the Jump…

Book Review: South from Corregidor by LCDR John Morrill USN

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[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] The edition of South from Corregidor I got is a reprint of a book that first appeared in the US during World War II. The edition I reviewed is a reprint of the original with some additional information.  The book itself is the story of a US Navy officer and 16 men who escape Manila Bay in the days following the final Japanese assault on the island Corregidor. The book is 273 pages long divided into 13 chapters. There are … More after the Jump…