The campaign to retake Mosul from ISIS was one of total war. The enemy had no intention of either surrendering or retreating, nor of leaving a single building standing or civilian unharmed as ISIS literally fought to the death. This was the environment, the “battle space” in military terms, that Alpha Platoon, SEAL Team 7, under the command of Lieutenant Jacob “Jake” Portier found itself. The platoon was fighting alongside the Iraqi Emergency Response Division, a unique security force primarily trained by U.S. Special Forces and commanded by Major General Abbas.
“We’re up against an enemy, a conspiracy. They’re using any means. We are going to use any means. Is that clear?” — Richard Nixon to H.R. Haldeman and Henry Kissinger on July 1, 1971, transcript of Oval Office tapes. * “The sad residue of Watergate was so many people saw that their president had lied for […]
The band they played the anthem then The clowns fell down in jest All the people saw again The winning of the West…. — Ian Tyson, “Old Cheyenne” The 79th Sisters Rodeo is history, with the roar of the crowd, the pageantry of the Parade and Grand Entry, the drama of record-breaking rides fading into […]
Maj. Natividad de Jesús Cáceres Cabrera, second in command of the Atlacatl Immediate Reaction Battalion, was frustrated. He’d just ordered the men under his command to begin killing the children of El Mozote. They’d shown little hesitation in the killing of adult and elderly men in the village, and no hesitation at all in leading away the young girls, most between 12–to–15, whom they gang-raped, then butchered.
James Ellroy’s latest novel, This Storm, drops at the end of the month. Just in time, too. I’m in the mood for one of Ellory’s dark, jagged, Benzedrine-fueled rides through the neon-lit landscape of the American Century. I consider Ellroy one of the great ones — put him on a par with Cormac McCarthy. His ambitions are […]
Used to be, I’d get up in the morning and turn on the cable TV news. Just to, you know, find out if the world had blown up overnight. Then I’d come home from work and catch up on the news of the day. Can’t do it anymore. For one thing, it’s not “news” — CNN’s […]
Poverty, injustice, over breeding, overpopulation, suffering, oppression, military rule, squalor, torture, terror, massacre: these ancient evils feed and breed on one another in synergistic symbiosis. To break the cycles of pain at least two new forces are required: social equity — and birth control. Population control. Our Hispanic neighbors are groping toward this discovery. If […]
The king is an imbecile. The realm is in anarchy as partisan factions cleave to their banners, supporting one or the other rival claimants to the throne — represented by the Red Rose and the White. Civil war on a massive and bloody scale scourges the land… If this sounds like the premise of an epic […]
I have become mildly obsessed with the AMC show TURN: Washington’s Spies. I got sucked into this drama on Netflix and have now made it nearly through its four seasons, sneaking in an episode almost every day in the early evenings. The show is historically challenged in many respects, but — taken on its own terms […]
Consider this: The German Wehrmacht is generally considered the toughest and highest-quality fighting force of the Second World War — perhaps of the whole 20th Century. Yet, when confronted by military disaster in North Africa, at Stalingrad or in the collapse of their defenses in France in 1944, German units surrendered wholesale. We’re talking hundreds […]
My go-to podcast of late has been Spycast, a media production of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. Last weekend, I went out to Zimmerman Butte, our local shooting area to dial in a brand new Sig Sauer Red Dot sight on the AR-15. Followed this pleasurable activity with another — I sat in the truck and smoked […]
On a clear day from Winter Ridge, high above the broad expanse of Summer Lake in south-central Oregon, it is possible to look far into the eastern desert at a low-slung formation called 5 Mile Point. It was way out there, in 1937, that archaeologist Luther Cressman began excavating the Paisley Caves. Today, the U.S. Forest Service maintains a tidy cabin up on Winter Ridge, at the place where John C. Fremont came out of the woods in the winter of 1843 and first beheld the breathtaking reach of the Great Basin.