Book Review: Countdown: H Hour by Tom Kratman

Countdown: H Hour is the third installment in the Countdown series, hopefully there are plenty more still to come as this just built onto the already strong premise of the first two books.  This book happens at the same time as the events in M Day but in the Phillipines as part of the Regiment conducts a completely separate mission to rescue a rich Phillipino businessman who has been kidnapped by a group of Moro terrorists from the Basilan region.  The action is almost non-stop as the short battalion for the mission conducts operations in Somalia, Basilan, and around Manila in the course of the book.  Adam, the Somali kidnapped … Read more…

Update on SFC Walter Taylor

Saw this update on SFC Taylor’s case yesterday and decided to add it to my page as well.  From the LA Times: Court-martial decision postponed for soldier in Afghan shooting.  His Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a Grand Jury, was held last week and now the case in in the hands of the reviewing officer.  She will review the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing and then make a recommendation to Taylor’s Brigade commander who will endorse that recommendation or not and then send it to the JMTC commander in Graf who is the General Court Martial Convening Authority.  The JMTC commander makes the final decision on whether this case should go to trial or if Taylor should face, a lesser Court Martial, administrative punishment, or even no further action.

All that being said, I would guess that at a minimum Taylor faces a Special Court Martial, probably a Special BCD.  The nature of what has been reported so far makes it clear that Taylor is being prosecute as an example to others.  Whether that is good military policy is besides the point, the army does stuff like this sometimes.  I will say that in my experience, if it does go to a Court Martial Taylor will get a fairer hearing than he would in a civilian court.  His CM Panel, the military version of a jury, will consist of people his grade or higher both officer and enlisted if he opts that, and he would be stupid not to.  The panel are people that understand the military and the pressures in combat.

I have no worries that if it goes to trial he will win.  The problem I have is that even if he wins, his career is now damaged because of the massive publicity surrounding the case.  That is something he cannot get away from.  It will also haunt him as he goes in front of a selection board for promotion.  The perception could be that he hurt the army and he could therefor later be denied promotion or even selected for elimination and the case could have nothing overt to do with it but it will always be there.  The army is a small place and institutional memory is long, especially about people who are perceived as tarnishing the Army Reputation.

A Travesty Calling for Action

In today’s edition of Stars and Stripes and the LA Times is an article about a combat engineer facing charges for actions he took in combat in Afghanistan last year.  The gist of the story is that the soldier involved shot an unarmed female in the middle of a firefight who was moving towards the rear of her vehicle.  The description of the incident from the article is here: His convoy was reeling from a roadside bomb, his fellow soldiers were engaged in combat with insurgents and a mysterious black car had just screeched to a stop in the middle of the firefight. Some nine minutes later, a black door opens. Second 1: A … Read more…

Book Review: The Anabasis by Xenophon

The route of Xenophons March Up Country

I read part of this work in High School over twenty years ago and decided a few weeks ago to finish reading it. Now that I am done, I wonder why I waited so long. The book was written by Xenophon, and ancient Greek soldier and general, in the late 4th Century BC. Xenophon’s account in The Anabasis is one of the first true (in several senses of the word) adventure stories to be transmitted from antiquity. There is as much adventure here as will be found in any modern day work of fiction. One of the things that makes this book so great is that as I was reading … Read more…

Book Review: Countdown: M Day by Tom Kratman


This is the second installment in the countdown series, hopefully there are plenty more still to come as this just built onto the already strong premise of the first book. The premise of this book is that after the completion of the mission in the first book the company Stauer created found a home in Guyana and incorporated as M-Day Inc., now the company must defend Guyana and itself from an invasion by Venezuela. Hugo Chavez wants the invasion to distract his people from their deteriorating situation at home. There is a lot more action in this book than the first of the series. This book continues Kratman’s thinly veiled attacks on liberalism and post-modern thought.
This is still a great read though and I recommend it highly. There are also some really great parts but they are included in the Spoiler below the fold:


Read more…

The Decline and Fall of the United States?

There has been much talk and discussion both in editorials and on various internet forums about the pending decline of the supposed US “empire” or the USA itself. I was thinking about this on the way back from dropping my wife off at work this morning and the more I think about it, the more I think it could only possibly happen if America lets it happen. The USA is not comparable to the UK prior to their fall from Great Power status post WWII. The disparity between the size of the two nations both physical and in population is too great for their to really be a valid comparison. … Read more…

Book Review: Countdown: The Liberators by Tom Kratman

Tom Kratman published his first book, A State of Disobedience, in 2005. This is the first book in a new series by Kratman, I am currently in the middle of reading the second book, which just hit my mailbox last week. The series starts another of Kratman’s “fiction as commentary on the contemporary world” series somewhat similar to his “A Desert Called Peace” series. This does not mean that it is a bad book, it is not. It is somewhat predictable though. I especially like Kratman’s style, he has a gritty down to earth writing style that I love. He does not pull punches. The book is the story of … Read more…

The God Clause

I ran across a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek that is very interesting. The God Clause and the Reinsurance Industry It is a fairly long story but the gist of it is that reinsurer’s, companies that essentially insure insurance companies, have some very sophisticated models for assessing risk but even they are not omniscient when it comes to natural events. The way these companies caegorize risk is interesting in the extreme. Lloyds of London has an entire section of their website devoted to analyzing risk and they annually put out a list of Realistic Disaster Scenarios.  What I found most interesting were the examples in the story of the way in … Read more…

China: A Potential or Current Threat?

Chinese Type 99 Main Battle Tank

Jed Babbitt has an excellent piece on RCP today that talks about the potential threat China represents to the US and by implication, the rest of the Western world.China’s Economic Sword.  People have been pointing to the potential threat China poses for at least the past twenty+years and are almost invariably poo-pooed as being unrealistic and that China does not pose a threat to the US they just want to modernize and bring the fruits of that modernization to their own people.  I tend to think that China is indeed a threat and a threat we in the West ignore at our own peril. There are several developments over the … Read more…

The Fall of Qaddafi and the future of the “Arab Spring”

I wrote about the war/action/conflict/kinetic what have you in Libya when it kicked off in March, April, and again in June. With the rebels now storming Tripoli itself and being on the verge of success under the cover of NATO, the question now becomes what will the successor regime look like. I will guess here and say that it will be a notional democracy wit an oligarchy of strongmen in power. They will also make all the right noises to placate the soft-heads in the west and make them feel good about their policy of R2P. It will probably not be long before the new regime starts hunting down Qaddafis … Read more…

More Research Needed On Veterans Health Issues

More Research Needed On Veterans Health Issues By: Doug Karr, USN Veteran Operations Desert Storm & Desert Shield The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are nearly 25 million veterans currently living in the United States. Nearly $60 billion is spent on federal programs for veterans, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is in addition to funding from individual states. Despite such efforts, there are still many health issues facing veterans today. A recent report released by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee shows that many veterans are facing disability and mental health issues. The report states an urgent need for services to deal with such conditions as … Read more…

Last Shuttle Mission

Atlantis on Pad 39A at Cape Canaveral being Prepped for Fridays Launch.  (image from NASA)

The last shuttle mission will go up on Friday July 8th. The Mission, STS-135 by Space Shuttle Atlantis will the 135th and final shuttle mission and mark the end of an era at NASA. What is really pathetic is the fact that their is no follow on manned orbiter for the US space program. We, the US, has ceded the lead in space to Russia and China and probably Japan. The president has decreed that henceforth the US will depend on other countries and private companies to put American Astronauts into orbit. That is just pathetic and I cannot understand the logic behind that decision. Everybody should have to observe … Read more…

The American Way of War – My Opinion

The American Way of War was introduced as a concept by Russell Weigley in his book of the same name during the early 1970’s.  Essentially the theory runs that America attempts to totally dominate her enemies in war thus ending the war.  The American method of achieving this during and since World War II has been through the judicious application of firepower; that is, overwhelming force directed against an enemy. American doctrine as it developed during and after World War II stresses the use of maximum force at the point of decision.  This is not much different from other nations doctrine, what makes it different is the means by which … Read more…

Interesting Article in Stars and Stripes

I am probably going to get beat up for posting this but here goes anyway. There was an interesting story (attached to the post here) in last Tuesday’s edition of European Stars and Stripes.  It concerned the lack of black heroes in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Two of the experts they interview for the article are John Sibley Butler, a Vietnam vet and business professor and Tyrone Williams the COO of the non-profit Black Veterans for Social Justice, Inc.. First off, I question the premise of the article in the first place, it makes out that somehow black soldiers are being discriminated against in the warding of … Read more…

Tilting at Windmills: What the Hell is Obama, NATO, and the West Doing in Libya?

Tilting at Windmills

I have been pondering this one for a while now.  What exactly, is the west trying to accomplish in Libya?  I have posted on this before here and here, and I am still puzzled as to what we are trying to accomplish in Libya, protect so-called innocent civilians or topple Qaddafi’s regime? The stated goal of the administration is to protect civilians in line with the UN Security Council resolution # 1973, but the way in which the air campaign is being waged certainly makes it seem as if toppling Qaddafi is the goal of the bombing.  Their were intense air attacks yesterday, and one of his son’s was killed … Read more…