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…

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…

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…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 1

I got to thinking about the question at the title of this post a few months ago.  Being me I started doing some research and then put my thoughts down in what ended up being a fairly long paper for some casual writing.  Rather than dump it all at once I am going to serialize it into parts and probably publish one part every 2 weeks to a month until it is done.  I am going to put it here and also on my survival site because I think the issues it brings up are relevant in that arena as well.  What I hope to do is provoke some discussion … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Decision Points by George W. Bush

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Decision Points is a book I have put off reading for several years but finally got around to. I mainly put it off because I have essentially avoided reading any histories of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars as they hit a little close to home for me. I finally changed my mind because I decided enough time has passed. Don’t get me wrong, I was not angry about the wars, I fought in Iraq in 2003-2004 with the Big Red One, at best I am ambivalent. That is a combination of the military historian and the veteran in me. I decided to read Bush’s memoir because I was curious to … More after the Jump…

Podcast: NGO’s: A Rambling Rant

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A fairly rambling discussion about NGO’s and what they really accomplish. I will admit upfront that I don’t have a very good opinion of NGO’s. It seems to me that after 150 years of digging wells in Africa we should have seen more progress than a continuing need for more wells and clean water. It is also a fact that advocacy NGO’s such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch spend an inordinate amount of effort going after western nations instead of the non-western countries that are the biggest and most egregious rights violators. My theory is that this is because western countries actually listen to them as opposed to … More after the Jump…

Podcast: Strategy: It’s Different aspects

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This podcast is a wider discussion of strategy and the different aspects and types of strategy there are. Strategy is not one overarching concept except at its most basic. There are different nuances to strategy and strategy development that exist depending on the level at which the strategy is being developed and implemented. Download this episode (right click and save)

Podcast: Tactical, Operational, & Strategic; What Do They Mean?

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A discussion of what the different terms Tactical, Operational, & Strategic actually mean and how they are so often misused both in history books but especially within the media. Download this episode (right click and save)

Podcast: Air Power and It’s Limits

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This podcast discusses Air Power and its limits.  Specifically I expose the myth that it is possible to win a war with airpower alone.  The example of Kosovo often held up as showing airpower can win wars is discussed as well as the utility, or lack thereof, of airpower in the current fight against ISIS in Syria. Download this episode (right click and save)

Syria – What’s Really Going to Happen?

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This is my inaugural podcast.  I plan on making this a regular feature.  Generally they will be about current world events and should usually run 10-15 minutes in length.  The length is because I record them in my truck on the way to work so you will hear background noise and probably get to hear me swear at other drivers on occasion.  Yes, other drivers irritate me as well, especially folks that are in such a hurry they pass unsafely such as on blind curves or inclement weather. I will relate current events to historical antecedents and try to explain my view of how I think the history of various regions … More after the Jump…

The Problem with Elite Units? Or is there a Problem?

I was thinking about this the other day while watching The Pacific on DVD. The Pacific is a pretty good series although I found Band of Brothers to be better based on pure entertainment value. What made me think about elite units was a short piece in one of the episodes where they show a picture of what to me looked like some Marine Raiders. That got to me to thinking about Rangers, Green Berets, SAS/SBS, Commandos, UDT, Spetznaz, and other historical elites and whether they represented a good investment for the militaries that create them. My gut reaction is that in general they are not although there is a role for such … More after the Jump…