The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volumes 1-6 by Edward Gibbon. I finished reading the last volume this morning January 23, 2018. I consider it a life time capstone of my love of reading. The introduction containing a biography of Gibbon is 26 pages alone and quite interesting. I had heard many times during my life that the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was a precursor to the future of the United States of America. It is that and more. It is an accurate view of the nature of mankind that exists in every civilization. Gibbon comments “…after reading this the reader may laugh or weep at the folly of mankind.” I don’t know how anyone could laugh at the degree of misery that a few greedy, power hungry, megalomaniacs (political and religious) cause so many other human beings. All of his footnotes are from original sources and many in original Latin and Greek. Yes, it IS a prophetic look at the dismal future of America…and the world. I’ve been angry a long time about the direction my country has been going. Reading Gibbon and Josephus has given me the knowledge to understand why the world is like it is – and the wisdom to stop raging against human nature.
The Collected Works of Josephus. Translated by William Whitson. Reading Josephus after Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire changed my life. Josephus not only mentions Jesus but confirms there were thousands of eye-witnesses to His miracles, His death and His resurrection. But that is only a very small part of his work. His personal witnessing of the fall of Jerusalem to Titus Ceasar was riveting and beyond horrible. One realizes the degree of contentiousness of the Jews and how they brought about their own destruction (including the burning of the Temple)- despite Roman general Titus’ efforts to prevent it. Earlier in the book he writes of Moses’ farewell speech to the children of Israel shortly before his death in which he declares “You have tried to kill me more often than our enemies!” There is some amazing details contained in this book that could only have been written by someone who was there and in a position to know first hand – as Josephus, both high priest and general, was. The Dissertations at the end easily rebut others’ criticisms of Josephus and show extensive correlation with KJV Bible texts.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. I read this my senior year in high school. It’s about 1,700 pages. For some reason I remembered this book after reading Gibbon and Josephus. Outstanding fiction but I wonder if it wasn’t extrapolated from an actual incident in Sicily in which French occupation soldiers during Napolean’s reign raped a just married bride on the steps of the cathedral in the presence of her groom and wedding party. The groom was jailed and the citizens rose up en masse with farming tools and massacred the French soldiers. This lead to “Omerta” or Code of Silence and the word “Mafia” which is an acronym for “Muerta a la Francesca en Italia…” or something close meaning “Death to all French in Italy…”
Rape of the Masses: The Psychology of Tyrannical Political Propaganda by Serge’ Chakotin (dedicated to H.G. Wells), 1939, 288 pages
– just as Pavlov’s dogs and mice can be trained to a specific conditioned response so can humans. The introduction of speech gives birth to a series of increasingly complicated conditional reflexes.
– Ignorance is thus the best medium for the formation of the masses who easily lend themselves to suggestion. This is a capital fact in the domain of politics and the social order; it has always been known, but thanks to Pavlov it is possible to understand the reasons for it.
– in one of his last works published before his death, Pavlov declared that the method of conditioned reflexes assures great possibilities in the training of the organ of thought (the mind – mind control!)
– In 1932, during Germany’s presidential campaign, Hitler’s propagandist, Goebbels said he was going to “use American methods [of advertisement] on an American scale”
– “Universal symptoms show in all nations the rapid growth of the crowd. The advent of the crowd will, perhaps, Mark one the last stages of the Western civilization, a return to the periods of confusion and anarchy which precede the emergence of new societies.” – Gustave Le Bon
– Cherkotin says the contrary: ” the age in which we are now living is, on the contrary, a diminution in the real influence of collectivities on public life: they are growing more and more into docile instruments in the hands of usurpers, dictators, who unscrupulously make use of their more or less intuitive apprehension of psychological laws, together with their control of the formidable technical equipment afforded by the modern State to manipulate the individuals composing a people by a method which we have called psychical rape.”
I think they are both right.
– to maintain control of “psychic slaves” the Art of dictatorial rule is always composed of 2 phases: the gathering of masses into crowds, where they can be subjected to a psychical lash of the whip by means of violent harangues, associated with repetitive exhibition of social symbols [swastikas] which reawakens their faith in these symbols and, 2. The re dispersal of these crowds into masses who are then left for a time to act under the revivified influence of these symbols which surround them on all sides.
Cherkotin -as a communist – says this is beneficial if led by a Tribune who organizes the masses into a revolution (like Lenin). P. 36
– “The purpose of this book is to contribute to the understanding of the mechanism of the psychical oppression carried out by modern usurpers (capitalists) and, secondly, to place effective weapons in the hands of those who are ready to make any sacrifice in order to liberate humanity (anti-capitalists).”
– the “weapons”: excited sensibilities and psychical contagion. (Creating a mob mentality).
– “soul engineers” protagonist leaders who manipulate a crowd into a mob. P 38.
– a thing that is very characteristic of a crowd is the preponderance of any emotional over any intellectual appeal.
– education plays a part of first importance in the formation of man, determine a large part of his actions.
– in politics it is the multitudes that matter.
– pgs. 117-127 detail the mechanics of a successful political campaign based on the propaganda specifically analyzed and targeted toward sectors of populations.
– pg. 152 describes the origin of celebrating May Day: “for playing the trump card of menace to the bourgeoise world, making use unawares, by intuition, of the instinct for struggle. The bourgeoisie parties were panic stricken at the spectacle of the mounting of the working class tide, of trade unions and Socialism.”
P. 161. Why Hitler succeeded for so long: he threatened war and pushed toward it. Democracies wanted to avoid war at all costs rather than crush Hitler in his political infancy. “The hypnosis of the outer world” by hitters bluff that all 75 million Germans were rabid supporters.
P 164. The ratio of those who are susceptible to emotive propaganda v. Those of higher intelligence who are not is 10:1….yet only 1 in 10 of the population is needed to effect change.
– P165: Lenin wrote “the revolutionary propagandist must think in terms of hundreds, the agitator in terms of tens of thousands, and the organizer and leader of the revolution in terms of millions!”
– p 166: the propagandist envisages two distinct categories of individuals: the “55,000”. (Majority) is formed by the indifferent – those who are lazy-minded or tired out, or whose whole attention is absorbed by the difficulties of everyday life. Adler considers these to be neurotics, people with an unstable nervous system, easily accessible to imperious suggestion, easily frightened, and often glad to be dominated or guided. It includes the great mass of the lower middle class, most women and young people.
– p 169. Ratio propaganda (based on the 2nd element: nutritive or economic) vs. Senso- propaganda (based on the first element of struggle / combative / fear.
– p 171/2. List of “Do’s” during mass meetings (used today by campaigning politicians and Walmart stockholders)
– p 176. “The greater the mass of the men whom it is desired to reach, the lower must be the intellectual level of the propaganda.” – Hitler, Mein Kempf.
– p 179. Terrorism will have success everywhere unless barred by equal terrorism!” Ibid
– p 236. Phases of a Propaganda Campaign
– p 238: Hitler’s tactics to power: Bluff,psychical rape, triumphed over reason, arak using the policy of tit for tat which alone could have broken the vicious circle.”
– p 239 Hitler took over Western Europe practically without firing a shot by “…the conditioned reflex of submission by the excitation through bloodshed of the reflex of fear”.
Chapter IX: Active Socialism: this is where Chakotin invokes the required cheerleading for communism – since he’s living in Russia under Lenin
– p 263: “undoubtedly capitalism as a ruling principle has had its day: human evolution has passed it by.” (Marx wrote behind his times and apparently Chakotin isn’t aware of his. Communists are so falsely optimistically tunnel visioned).
– p 264: the dictatorships, which largely owe their rise to power to capitalist support, cleverly and unscrupulously profiting by the perplexity of the money power in face of the mounting tide of Socialism and of the power of the working class organizations, have not denied that capitalism is on its death-bed.” [and yet a mere seven decades later under Reagan the Iron Curtain came down. It was Socialism that died a slow death]
– p 265 “Karl Marx studied capitalism above all from the point of view of a scientist”. [Except he wasn’t a scientist – of any kind. His doctoral thesis was denied and he was never board certified by any department of academia. He was a failure as a disgruntled faux academician and as a man. He impregnated his maid, lived the life of a bourgeoisie at the expense of Engels and suffered most of his life from boils over his body. His mother cut him off financially early in his twentys. He was a verbally inarticulate, “El Negro” because of his dark skin (perhaps his father’s maid?) miserable creature. He complained of the abuses of the Industrial Revolution at a time when technology and the industrialists behind it were raising the quality of living for hundreds of millions of people around the world.
– p 266. “Darwinism no longer holds against present-day scientific criticism”. [Imagine that! As far back as 1932 Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory was ill-thought of by the scientific community – even by a communist atheist!]
– p 267. Chakotin really blows his credibility here by claiming the Russian people [voluntarily?] endured years of the “harshest material sacrifices, and far from succumbing to it, it has ultimately benefitted” (meaning the Five Year Plan of forced collectivization of every Russian family’s food, farm equipment, etc. that resulted in the starvation death and ethnic cleansing of 60 million Russians. Stalin told Roosevelt at the Potsdam Conference “I may have over done it a bit.”
– p 269. “So long as people continue to “HOPE” that matters may settle themselves [pacifists], so long as they believe in the immutability of out-of-date dogmas, dogmas which life and the science of life have passed by, so long as they persist in inhibiting men’s tendency to take an active part in political life, inviting them to wait with unending patience and to put up with the consequences of the inertia of their leaders, so long, finally, as they shut their eyes to the new forms of political struggle and the new data of a science which advances unceasingly and is today becoming the very foundation of politics – there will be no positive advance, the situation will grow worse from day to day, and in the end there will come either destruction through war or the loss of the freedom for which men live and struggle.” Well said. That’s America today.
P 270. ###### “The will to resist is what is needed in order to overcome our reactions to stimulus applied by others to control our behavior.” This is to be accomished by education, ‘eubiotics’ ( the improvement of the conditions of existence), and ‘psychical prophylaxis’ – restoring faith in human progress and the principles of social duty”
– p 272; to attain these struggle is necessary. In this lies the decisive importance of Socialism. It has to be organized primarily for a destructive campaign. …this action can only be based on the “first instinct” that of struggle [aka combat, violence, fear, intimidation] by means of conditioned reflexes brought into action by means of conditioned reflexes brought into action by effective forms of propaganda, employing on one side menace and on the other side enthusiasm.”
NOTE: [In other words, by using Hitler’s methods.. This is where Chakotin connects using biological behavior to assure a desired political outcome. The Chinese communists version is called brainwashing – a la The Manchurian Candidate.
– p 273. “The propaganda of these ideas, hammered into men’s minds until they become an obsession, can be effected by the same method [Hitler’s] of ‘psychical rape’ “. “A violent propaganda of non-violence!”
[It would behoove these Socialists, Communists, etc. to follow a most basic rule of essay writing: let it sit for awhile then re read it looking for internal inconsistencies. They would astound themselves at the plethora of them.]
– p 274. The first thing to be done, THE KEY TO ALL THE REST, is to organize the PROPAGANDA OF PEACE… The idea of the Round Table of Peace ( United Nations), the pact of collective defense, the alliance of all the countries that are loyal to the idea of Freedom, of Humanity. …if necessary, a warning and threatening one!” ….what is needed is to re-establish Right in the world, reduce brute force to submission [by using brute force], and restore ‘psychic stability’ [Political Correctness], and HOPE IN HUMANITY.” [Obama’s and the Left’s agenda].
…based on the “humanitarian idea”
– p 275. .”..what we seek to do here is to sketch by way of example the general principles of organization for a common aim for all ANTI-FASCISTS…” [the precursor to the ANTIFA movement in America today]
Among the planks of the ANTI-FASCIST platform is exploitation of perceived – even if inaccurate- racial and religious inequities, and GROWING ARROGANCE IN FOREIGN POLICY.
Using the myth of the French Revolution as a democratic movement with its accompanying symbols – especially a weapon.
…using sound and movement like a salute…the extended arm and raised fist…
The highest form of emotive propaganda is shouting “FREEDOM!”
Fitton, Tom Clean House: Exposing Government’s Secrets and Lies.
Churchill, Winston, The Story of the Malakand Field Force; Dover Publications, Inc. republished in 2010; originally published 1916. This is a must read for any military history buff. Churchill was England’s Teddy Roosevelt – both volunteered for military service and saw combat when their social connections could have exempted them. Both are master wordsmiths. At a time when being well read and well written was considered admirable, Churchill stands out. In this book he describes his experiences in the British army during the expedition to quell tribal uprisings in the northwest provinces of India in 1895. His letters sent to the London Times describing the political, economic, social, geographic, logistical, and military aspects of the operation put today’s military “All-Source” intelligence analysts to shame. I use General Flynn’s desired qualities of an intel analyst as a standard and the only other person who comes close to Churchill in meeting that standard is Robert Kaplan (Balkan Ghosts, etc.). Although the publisher decry’s Churchill’s “period bigotry” his description of the tribal culture and the Islamic mind is as true today as it was then. That should come as no surprise since the Islamist clerics have intentionally kept their adherents in the 7th century intellectually. Anyone who has been to that part of the world will recognize Churchill’s assessment. I consider this book one of my bibliographic treasures.
Churchill, Winston The River War. The second book comprising Churchill’s letters to the London Times describing his experiences as a member of the 21st Lancers – part of Kitchener’s “relief” of Khartoum, Sudan (though it took Parliament 13 years to decide Sudan and the Nile were worth the time and expense. to recover..a little late for Gordon). In my opinion this book and his previous work deserved Nobel prizes in literature. I had read Churchill’s mesmerizing description of his participation in the Lancer’s charge of the Mahdi’s Dervishes at Omdurman a few years ago and was impressed by Churchill’s descriptive acumen then. This book details the political, social, and monumental geographic and logistical efforts leading up to the Battle of Omdurman. It is believed Churchill’s appreciation of the building of the Nile River railway that was so critical to the success of the final battle enabled him to convince U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt to wait to invade Europe until sufficient logistics guaranteed success.
While a member of Special Forces detachment 572 in the early ’80s our team deployed to Sudan. The first thing we saw when the C-130 ramp lowered was a uniformed North Korean airman standing a few feet away. The second thing we saw was the North Korean MIG aircraft in the hangars at Omdurman air base. The third thing we saw (other than the abject poverty of the place) was the inoperative Russian and Chinese tanks parked outside the barracks (just completed – the Sudanese “paratroopers” slept in tents until our departure later). They really didn’t like us getting inside them trying to start them up and taking pictures of the instruments. Their trucks had to be backed up onto small dirt berms when parked so they could roll start them in the mornings. It was hot as hell (127 degrees) and the most desolate (other than the Sahara Desert) place I have ever been. The Nile (blue or white branch I didn’t know) was less than a mile away – we crossed over it on the bridge leading to Khartoum. The airborne battalion we trained “with” had just returned from the south of Sudan in which a rebel force had held hostage several European missionaries. They simply drove into the compound and killed every rebel in sight – all 300 of them. Returning from our end of mission exercise – in which we enjoyed the support of a beloved AC-130’s 105mm howitzer and mini-gun. SMAJ Cartwright said “If you want to take over this country all you have to do is shift the AC-130’s target one klick east …the Sudanese president and all of his military chiefs were sitting in the shade sipping lemonade. We took a vote and decided none of us wanted any part of this shithole. As we were retrograding across the desert in a large V formation, a MIG jet zoomed NOE over our heads straight toward Khartoum in the distance where it dropped one bomb. It was Libya’s Moamar Quadafi’s response to an alleged border incident by Sudanese troops. At the end of our mission an armed security element took us on a tour of the Khartoum museum and the fort at Omdurman where Gordon was killed and Kitchener destroyed the Mahdi’ forces. Our Sudanese jump wing certificates are in Arabic and translate roughly into “Tigers descending from the sky.” Well said.
Scheur, Michael “Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq” Chief of the CIA Alec Team responsible for finding and killing Osama bin Laden. While I agree totally with his assessment of our feckless politicians and State Department, I totally disagree with his comment “Nations don’t have a right to exist. You take your chances.” Scheur weaves his rational argument against entangling alliances (a view shared by George Washington in his Farewell Address) with brazen anti-Semitism. He denies it but I don’t know how one could call it anything else – except a total absence of a personal moral code. The book is so worth reading – ESPECIALLY THE FOOTNOTES. I found one in which he stated –NOT ONCE (of the MULTIPLE times ) that they could have killed OBL – in the eleven years he was Alec Team chief did he receive the green light to do it. This by several presidents for the most asinine excuses.
Breakthrough: Our Guerrilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy. by James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas. Remember the clandestine videos of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics? That was James. He’s a national hero. If you don’t thing our State enemies are out of control read what they did to him in New Orleans. He got royally screwed by “our” government for doing a job the Main Stream Media should have been doing.
A Country I No Longer Recognize edited by Robert J. Bork. As I wrote on his book “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”, Bork’s razor sharp legal mind articulates the sources of America’s moral decline. In this book he eviscerates the U.S. Supreme Court’s leftist legislation in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution. This should be taught in every high school, college and university….but therein lies the problem. The intellectual elite -of which the USSC is a lobbyist – has already coopted the nation’s education. He provides solutions but is not optimistic about a reversal. As I said in my (unedited) YouTube video: we are on the verge of a civil war…..due in no small part to the activist Supreme Court.
The Generals by Thomas Ricks. Surprisingly on the recommended reading list of the army’s Command & General Staff College. Describes the evolution of how general’s are picked. Like appointing Supreme Court justices, presidents, politicians, Secretaries of Defense, and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff can be wrong……and frequently are. Reading this book is like watching sausage being made. It will make you furious, sad and nauseaus – words you won’t hear from all the generals on the back cover who supposedly “reviewed” this book. The author does point out the life-saving difference between some outstanding Marine principles and generals who constrasted sharply with their idiot army counterparts (Chosin, Vietnam, etc.) This book reminds me of the British version……titled “On the Philosophy of Military Incompetence.”
Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife” Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam by John A. Nagl & Peter J. Schoomaker
With Lawrence in Arabia, Lowell Thomas, 1921(?). I have an original version of this . One of my library jewels.
Revolt in the Desert, by T.E. Lawrence.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E. Lawrence. This is a long book but well worth reading. It is full of interesting anecdotes and lessons learned.
Lawrence, T.E. “The 27 Articles of T.E. Lawrence” This was almost a hundred years before the U.S. military began relying on a fucking Australian for COIN advice. The A.O. may change but the principles are eternal……despite the military-industrial-political complex’s penchant for reinventing the wheel so the power elite can get rich at the expense of muddy boots troops.
“Twixt Hell and Allah” there are only two of these books still extent in the world – and I have one of them. This should be made into a movie. True story of a Brit who saw the movie “Beau Geste” (I recommend it), walked outside the theater in London down the street and joined the French Foreign Legion – 1918/19 …..when they still really “marched or died”!
Five Years in the French Foreign Legion by ____ Murray, 19__. I read this paperback in one night. The author was a well-educated, upper middle class Britisher who went to France alone at 19 years of age and signed his life away to the French Foreign Legion (1952-1956 I believe) during the latter years of the Algerian independence movement.
“A History of the French Foreign Legion” by . This book is phenomenal. It includes some amazing incidents throughout the book and an especially poignant one during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu that lost Indochina for the French.
The Art of Counter-Revolutionary War by John J. McCuen, 1966
Counterinsurgency Warfare by John S. Pustay (USAF) 1965
Counter-Revolutionary Agent by Hans Tanner, 1962 (diary- Cuba 1961)
War and Anti-War, Alvin and Heidi Toffler, 1993
PowerShift: Knowledge. Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century by Alvin Toffler, 1990
A People’s Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution by Orlando Figes, 1997.
The Pentagon’s New Map by _____ Barnett
“The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time” by Jeffrey D. Sachs. With a forward by Bono. In my opinion the quote by George Bernard Shaw “Some men see things as they are And ask “Why?”. I dream of things that never were And say, Why Not?” applies to this book. Detailed and pragmatic approach to ending the root of so much misery in the world.
“Insurgency and Terrorism: Inside Modern Revolutionary Warfare” O’Neil, Bard. Potomac Books, 2001
Boot, Max, The Savage Wars of Peace” Very Informative and often entertaining. Should be paired with the Marine Corps’ “Small Wars Journal”
Emerson, Steve, “American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us” I believe this was published in the mid to late ’90s. The author articulates the very real domestic islamic threat And it’s only gotten worse with a Muslim president in office.
Guevara, Che, Guerilla Warfare
“The Mini-Manual for Urban Guerilla Warfare” by Carlos Marighella. If you can find it. Another seminal, easy to read booklet. Not many modern alleged “COIN” experts (Petraeus) know who Marighella is.
Hammes, Thomas, The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century (Hammes has the best summation of America’s historical narrative I’ve seen on the last (or next to last) page– a perfect theme to use in “Fighting the War of ideas Like A Real War”
Kaplan, Robert D., “The Ends of the Earth” (or anything else by Kaplan)
Anything by T.E. Lawrence – including the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” which has some cultural faux pas by the Brit major to King Faisal in his tent if you pay attention. I’m making watching this movie a homework assignment for anyone who reads this list! (As I did for all my students at Ft. Huachuca –God Bless ‘em!)
Lawrence, T. E., U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and Combat Studies Institute, “The Evolution of a Revolt”. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Combat Studies Institute, 1989
Linn, Brian McAllister, “The Philippine War, 1899–1902. University Press of Kansas, 2002”
“The Moro War: ” This book should be on a CG’s Reading List. It was America’s first counterinsurgency against Muslims – in the Philippines. Many lessons could have been learned …..but, of course, weren’t.
MacDonald, Charles B., “Company Commander”
Van Creveld, Martin, “The Transformation of War”
Violent Politics, William Polks uses 11 tales of national turmoil for insight into counter-insurgency efforts. Polk finds echoes of Vietnam and the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan as he weighs U.S. policy in Iraq. (This book is a good macro-to-micro analysis of all things COIN.)
Antal, John, “City Fights: Selected Histories of Urban Combat from World War II to Vietnam” This is a much neglected aspect of combat. I started an urban combat PowerPoint block of instruction for the 35F enlisted analyst course in 2007 but it never was accepted (too “operational”)
Robertson, William G., CGSC, “Block by Block: The Challenges of Urban Operations”. Combat Studies Institute/CGSC Press, 2003
Bennis, Warren, “On Becoming a Leader”
Callwell, COL C.E., “Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice”. Charles River Books, 1977. One of the original “bibles” on COIN.
Chaliand, Gerard, “Guerrilla Strategies”. University of California Press, 1983
*****Galula, David,” Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice”. New York: Praeger, 1964. One of the seminal “bibles” on COIN.
Handel, Michael I., “Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought”, 3rd Edition. Even though I’m a COINista, I believe a well-rounded military mind must study conventional war extensively as well – to know how to fight it, how potential threats fight it…….and how to avoid the strategic mistakes made so often by the fucking idiots inside the beltway. I was trained on conventional warfare (even had to calculate nuclear falloout at the Infantry Officer’s Basic Course, Ft. Benning, Ga. 1983) and how to conduct intel support for conventional war at the Army’s Military Intelligence Captain’s Career Course in 1990. The MI school and TRADOC, of course, have quit publishing the pertinent FMs containing the relevant OB, rates of march, weapons capabilities, etc. so they are now fumbling around with unqualified people trying to reinvent the intel wheel for conventional ops. The MI school always seems to be chasing its’ tail doctrinally speaking.
Oliker, Olga, “Russia’s Chechen Wars 1994-2000: Lessons from Urban Combat”. This has a hilarious (to the macabre-minded) incident where the Russians promised the Chechens they would allow them to withdraw from a city through a certain avenue of approach……then proceeded to shell the shit out them when the Chechens took them up on it. The Russian commander said “I can’t believe they trusted us!”
Poole, H. John, “Tactics of the Crescent Moon; Militant Muslim Combat Methods”. Emerald Isle, NC: Posterity Press, 2004. This is an excellent treatise on very specific ground tactics of Muslims
*****Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”, translated by Samuel Griffith. If our fucking idiots in the District of Corruption would read and use Tzu’s concepts we would have fewer wars ……and win those we fought.
Van Creveld, Martin, “Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton”. “An army moves and fights on its’ stomach”. This is worth reading because it will help keep in mind S-4 strengths and weaknesses in mission planning – both ours and theirs.
Von Clausewitz, Carl, On War, edited and translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Clausewitz has an interesting history. He wasn’t an armchair theoretician. But it’s long and not an easy read. But his observations have driven the concept of conventional war for over two centuries. Read this then read Mao’s book. Mao read and refined Clausewitz.
Friedman, Thomas, “The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization”.
Kagan, Donald, “The Peloponnesian War”
Pressman, Stephen (?) Balkan Ghosts…..all three of his books are outstanding about ancient warfare…..if you blow through the pronunciation of the names!
Knox, MacGregor, and Murray, Williamson, eds., “The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300–2050”
McMaster, H.R., “Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam” This book 2007…..obviously before Political Correctness petrified thought in the military. This book, the RAND history of Vietnam and “About Face” turned my confused feelings about having served in Vietnam (albeit a shortened tour – survivor guilt) into seething rage.
Paret, Peter, ed., “Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age”.
Toffler, Alvin and Heidi, “War and Antiwar”
Waldrop, M. Mitchell, “Complexity — The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos” When the bullshit “Analysis of Competing Hypothesis” was –and is – forced down our throats at the intel school it reminded me of chaos theory.
Farrar, “Blood From Stones” (and Hammes and IO (Info Ops) Editorial by me: Recent guest speaker at the MI Captain’s Career Course ____ Farrar, author of “Blood from Stone” mentions the absence of ideological barriers between radical religious factions and other criminal and terrorist organizations. He also cites a lack of participation by the U.S. in the Information War. LCOL Hammes’ last paragraph in his book “The Sling and the Stone” gives the best IO theme I’ve seen in 25 years of COIN experience. I’m also dismayed to hear from returning officers that PsyOps campaigns have to be approved by an echelon above Corps! The approval process was so lengthy and cumbersome that by the time approval was given (if ever) the relevant exploitable incident was ancient history and unusable. IO themes are effective but perishable In the rare instances that a battalion commander has exercised his initiative and disseminated a locally-pertinent PsyOp theme to counter the flood of anti-U.S. propaganda it was very effective.
We’ve never been very good at beating our own drum. Perhaps it’s because most Americans are raised taking for granted the freedoms enjoyed at so much cost. We shouldn’t. America is still a symbol of freedom to the world but it needs to be articulated and publicized WHY we are a symbol of freedom –down to the lowest, illiterate level of the oppressed world. That’s where our threat is recruiting. That is where we need to direct our IO. We don’t need a Fifth Avenue public relations firm to do it.
Radical Islamists communicate their strategy via the internet with glaring specificity. Our IO counter themes can be taken directly from their own discussions of their vulnerabilities. For example,
I’m reminded of a briefing by LCOL Nick Rowe just prior to our Escape and Evasion portion of the SERE instructor course at Camp MacKall, North Carolina. LCOL Rowe was a Special Forces captain captured by the Viet Cong and held for five years. He escaped just prior to his scheduled execution. He wrote a book entitled “Five Years to Freedom”. During his briefing, LCOL Rowe mentioned that many American prisoners gave up when the North Vietnamese political officers told them “You are not a POW but a criminal. The war could end tomorrow but you will never be going home because you are not subject to the Geneva Conventions”. When they lost hope most of them died.
Mao has always emphasized the political over the military in revolutionary warfare. If we really accept that assymetrical warfare requires a political solution we need to jump in more effectively with an information Campaign targeted at the threat’s vulnerabilities. We need to get over this reticence about proclaiming the virtues of American society to the world. I asked LCOL Rowe why the communist indoctrination tactics weren’t publicized not only within the military but in schools throughout America. He told me it would be considered “brainwashing” by some.
***Counter-Guerrilla Operations – The Philippine Experience by Col. Napolean D. Valeriano, AFP (Ret.) and Lieutenant Colonel Charles T.R. Bohannan, AUS (Ret); Frederick A. Praeger Publisher, New York, 1962. What I thought was going to be a droll repeat of previously read COIN books turns out to be an extremely informative book on probably the world’s most successful counterinsurgency. Many excellent tactical examples of success plus an excellent recommended reading list in Appendix III.
Tactical Tracking Operations – The Essential Guide for Military and Police Trackers by David Scott-Donelson, Paladin Press, 1998. 170pgs. Excellent book on the subject by a SME who served with the Selous Scouts in Rhodesia tracking guerrillas. Good specific real-world examples.
“The Magsaysay Story” by Carlos P. Romulo and Marvin M. Gray, 1956. 307pgs. The biography of arguably the most effective counter-guerrilla leader of the 20th century Ramon Magsaysay. Of poor beginnings he never forgot his roots or the ideals of the common man. He rose from poor agricultural and blacksmithing beginnings to become President of the Philippines. He was the one man who saved the Philippines from becoming another communist state. An amazing story. Romulo, one of the authors, was on the list of those to be executed by the Huks. Often compared to U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“We only know that with Magsaysay as its leader the young Philippine Republic within a few brief but crucial years has emerged through the test and trial with a message for the cause of democracy we should like to hear shouted from the pinnacles of the world”.
Magsaysay’s inaugural speech in December, 1953 “From this day the members of my administration, beginning with myself, shall cease to belong to our parties, to our families, even to ourselves. We shall belong only to the people.” He lived that promise to the day he died in a plane crash on March 17, 1957 eight months prior to his term of office as president of the Philippines ended. It is said that a politician thinks only of the next election whereas a statesman thinks of the next generation. Ramon Magsaysay was a true statesman. We need a Magsaysay in the United States today.
“INFILTRATION: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington” by Paul Sperry, 328pgs. Depressing portrayal of how “political correctness” (a façade for communism) is destroying America from within – just as the COMINTERN planned it in 1917.
“The Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers” by Anat Berko 175pgs. Excellent source for getting inside the head of the suicide bombers. Author was an Israeli police officer who personally conducted the interviews with the bombers. She provides some interesting side details on Palestinian issues the Western media will never publish.
“Ending Terrorism: Lessons for Defeating Al-Qaeda” by Audrey Kurth Cronin, 72pgs. Short but very cogent strategic ways to let Al Qaeda implode. Good ideas for IO. Among the several centrifugal forces that influence the vast majority of groups that rely on terrorism to self-destruct are:
1) Catching or killing the leaders
2) infighting and factionalism
3) internal disputes over ideology or doctrine
4) a tendency to lose control over operations
5) reduction or elimination of popular support
a. through: intimidation, better offers by the govt (amnesties, reform, employment programmes, etc.)
6) movement toward a legitimate political process
The author’s strategy for ending Al-Qaeda:
1) Demystify the movement – articulate exactly what it really is. Don’t assist it in it’s IO.
2) Understand and exploit internal cleavages
3) Disaggregate and hive off disparate elements within the group.
4) Highlight the group’s mistakes w/ an effective IO.
5) Encourage a popular backlash w/o being too obvious about it.
In the book “Fighting the War of Ideas Like a Real War” the author posits that bin Laden’s biggest fear is RIDICULE.
In another book I read that bin Laden was derisively referred to by other Saudis as “the servant’s son”. He is now viewed by most Muslims as the “Lion of Allah”. That is why millions of Muslims name their sons Osama – “the warrior”.
“Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution” by A.J. Langguth. 1988, 563 pgs. Every American should read this……use it for reference, teach it to his children and re-read it. It should be taught in every school in America. The author did a great service to his country writing this book – if we will but read it. See BradleyProject.com to see why.
“Terrain and Tactics” by Patrick O’Sullivan. 1991. 167pgs. An excellent surprise. Get past the droll recitation of the world’s different types of terrain and get into the effects of terrain on tactics. Good section on COIN including a mathematical formula for determining the probability of success for a govt’s counterinsurgency operations.
“Brainwashing” by Edward Hunter, May 1956, 256 pgs. This was a difficult book to read – the parts I read. I started reading it in bed before falling asleep but began having nightmares about the book. It’s difficult to think about human beings going through such torture. It’s difficult to believe one human being can do those things to another human being. But it’s all true.
The last two chapters (How It Can Be Beat and A Matter of Integrity) were very helpful….
I gave my COIN class to some aspiring enlisted intel analysts just before reading this book and was introduced to a female student who told me her parents were die-hard communists (and American citizens –paradoxically). Her instructor told me she disagreed with everything he said positive about America. During my COIN class she would shake her head vigorously each time I pointed the contradictions between communism and the declaration of independence. She should read this book. I fear we have lost the war of subversion conducted by the radicals of the ‘60s – as evidenced by the election of the first Socialist as president of the United States. God help us. God help us.
“The Complete Bolivian Diaries of Che’ Guevara and Other Captured Documents” edited by Daniel James, 1968. 329 pgs. This is the best source of information on Che’. As stated in the title it contains both his diaries and captured documents. I didn’t read it because I’m tired of reading of him and his diaries are dull but it is an excellent reference source when added to the CIA message traffic re: his last days found on the Internet.
“One If By Land” by Mark Daniels. Excellent portrayal of what those living on the border experience daily living on the nation’s busiest drug and alien smuggling route into the United States.
2. List of recommended solutions to border issues by the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers: Google: NAFBPA
“Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House” by Gary Aldrich. If you think Bill and his wife (the real president of the U.S.) are decent people read this book. It will change your mind. If you think Hillary would make a good president – even AFTER the facts are fully disclosed regarding Benghazi- read this. America can’t take much more of these kinds of people.
“1776” by David McCullough (or anything else by him). Near the last page of the book Washington’s speech to the hungry, frozen soldiers to reenlist should be taught in every school and military education class.
“The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression” is a book written by several European academics (recanted communists themselves) and edited by Stéphane Courtois, which documents a history of repressions, both political and civilian, by Communist states, including genocides, extrajudicial executions, deportations, and artificial famines. The book was originally published in 1997 in France under the title Le Livre noir du communisme: Crimes, terreur, répression by Éditions Robert Laffont. In the United States it is published by Harvard University Press. The German edition, published by Piper Verlag, includes a chapter written by Joachim Gauck, who later went on to be President of Germany
Estimated number of victims:
In the introduction, editor Stéphane Courtois states that “…Communist regimes… turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government”. He claims that a death toll totals 94 million. The breakdown of the number of deaths given by Courtois is as follows:
65 million in the People’s Republic of China
20 million in the Soviet Union
2 million in Cambodia
2 million in North Korea
1.7 million in Africa
1.5 million in Afghanistan
1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
1 million in Vietnam
150,000 in Latin America (mainly Cuba)
10,000 deaths “resulting from actions of the international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power.”
Courtois claims that Communist regimes are responsible for a greater number of deaths than any other political ideal or movement, including Nazism. The statistics of victims includes executions, famine, deaths resulting from deportations, physical confinement, or through forced labor.
Repressions and famines occurring in the Soviet Union under the regimes of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin described in the book include: the executions of tens of thousands of hostages and prisoners; the murder of hundreds of thousands of rebellious workers and peasants from 1918 to 1922; the Russian famine of 1921, which caused the death of 5 million people; the extermination and deportation of the Don Cossacks in 1920; the murder of tens of thousands in concentration camps in the period between 1918 and 1930; the Great Purge which killed almost 690,000 people; the deportation of 2 million so-called “kulaks” from 1930 to 1932; the deaths of 4 million Ukrainians (Holodomor) and 2 million others during the famine of 1932 and 1933; the deportations of Poles, Ukrainians, Moldavians and people from the Baltic Republics from 1939 to 1941 and from 1944 to 1945; the deportation of the Volga Germans in 1941; the deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1943; the deportation of the Chechens in 1944; the deportation of the Ingush in 1944. (see also Population transfer in the Soviet Union)
Comparison of Communism and Nazism :
Courtois considers Communism and Nazism slightly different totalitarian systems. He claims that Communist regimes have killed “approximately 100 million people in contrast to the approximately 25 million victims of Nazis”. Courtois claims that Nazi Germany’s methods of mass extermination were adopted from Soviet methods. As an example, he cites Nazi state official Rudolf Höss who organized the infamous death camp in Auschwitz. According to Höss,
The Reich Security Head Office issued to the commandants a full collection of reports concerning the Russian concentration camps. These described in great detail the conditions in, and organization of, the Russian camps, as supplied by former prisoners who had managed to escape. Great emphasis was placed on the fact that the Russians, by their massive employment of forced labor, had destroyed whole peoples.
Courtois argues that the Soviet genocides of peoples living in the Caucasus and exterminations of large social groups in Russia were not very much different from similar policies by Nazis. Both Communist and Nazi systems deemed “a part of humanity unworthy of existence. The difference is that the Communist model is based on the class system, the Nazi model on race and territory.” Courtois stated that
The “genocide of a “class” may well be tantamount to the genocide of a “race”—the deliberate starvation of a child of a Ukrainian kulak as a result of the famine caused by Stalin’s regime “is equal to” the starvation of a Jewish child in the Warsaw ghetto as a result of the famine caused by the Nazi regime.
He added that after 1945 the Jewish genocide became a byword for modern barbarism, the epitome of twentieth-century mass terror… more recently, a single-minded focus on the Jewish genocide in an attempt to characterize the Holocaust as a unique atrocity has also prevented the assessment of other episodes of comparable magnitude in the Communist world. After all, it seems scarcely plausible that the victors who had helped bring about the destruction of a genocidal apparatus might themselves have put the very same methods into practice. When faced with this paradox, people generally preferred to bury their heads in sand.
“The 9/11 Commission Report” There are some absolutely shocking admissions, omissions and commissions of dereliction and outright depraved indifference (the title of my next book) by politicians and bureaucrats in the beltway that will infuriate you regarding 9/11 but also explain why the same power culture believes they can get away with (literally) murder today.
“A Patriot’s History of the United States” by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen. Interesting –and ignored facts of American history including the fact more Americans QUIT drinking during Prohibition than consumed alcohol.
“Outrage” by Dick Morris (self explanatory)
“Burning Money” by J. Peter Grace; (1984!). Excellent expose’ on wasteful government spending. Reagan asked Grace (a successful, lifelong Democrat to chair a voluntary panel of experts to ferret out wasteful government spending . The found over two thousand programs of wasteful spending. Congress ignored it. Still appropro today – ten times more!
“Fat City: How Washington Wastes Your Taxes” by Donald Lambro. Written in 1980, it is a taxpayer’s report showing specifically how, where, and why the U.S. government misspends our money, and how it can reduce the amount it wastes. Instead of $40,000 for floral service, $4.8 million for chauffeured VIP limousines, and $1 billion for fat consultant contracts (remember these are 1980 figures…..multiply by ten or twenty for current figures), the money could be used to increase the weekly take-home pay of working Americans. In short, the more government spends, the less there is for everyone. It’s time the spiral stopped. “Fat City” is a good place to start. (from the book’s front flap). As Ronald Reagan once said “There is no more direct proof of eternal life than a government program.” The abuses listed in this easy to read book still exist today in exponential proportions. A day of reckoning -when the house of cards comes tumbling down on every American- is near. One thing is certain. Congress as presently constituted will not stop the impending train crash.
“Occupied America: A History of Chicanos” by Rodolfo F. Acuna. This book will astound you when you remember that this is the most widely used “textbook” for English As Second Language and “Chicano Studies” nationwide. It’s radicalism is second only to Lenin’s “What Is to Be Done?”
“Endangered Minds: Why Children Can’t Think and What We Can Do About It” by Jane M. Healy, Ph.D
“Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform” by Diane Ravitch. Details the insurgent “progressive” movement to take control of our education system.
“The Conspiracy of Ignorance: The Failure of American Public Schools” by Martin L. Gross.
“Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun” by Wess Roberts, Phd. Combines interesting historical facts about the “Scourge of the West” with some basic common sense leadership principles. An easy 110-page read and excellent for “hip-pocket” training during incessant “hurry-up-and-wait” times so infamous in the military. I’ve actually used quotes from this and Patton’s (below) to rebuke incompetence at all ranks…….which is why I retired early.
“Patton’s One-Minute Messages” by Charles M. Province. Although touted as “Tactical Leadership Skills for Business Managers” I found the 92 page paperback –like that of Attila (above) to be more than appropriate for military leaders of all levels.
“Weak Link” by
“Co-Ed Combat” by Kingsley Brown
“The Kinder, Gentler Military: Can America’s Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars?” by Stephanie Gutmann
“Jihad of the Pen: A Practioner’s Guide to Conducting Effective Influence Operations in an Insurgency” by G.L. Lamborn. By the time this was written (2010) we had already lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for several years and the books message was moot. Even with the publication and implementation of Petraeus’ plagiarized FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency Operations (which was never read by the MI school) the U.S. was doomed to lose the day they sent in massive ground troops. Instead of using a strategic scalpel (combination of CIA and SF supporting indigenous resistance) that only Kennedy and Reagan seemed to understand, the Yale cheerleader Bush, Jr. solidified the war state of the military-industrial complex as a central factor in foreign policy and thus bankrupting our country – all with the hidden agenda of defense contractor pocket padding and a “jobs” program. The book is heavy on PsyOps. A good composite of FMs and doctrine taught to Special Forces troops for the last fifty years. For the newbie to COIN, a good hip pocket training aid – IF they are applied to countries we invade WITHOUT violating the first three rules of war: 1. Have the moral high ground in the eyes of the population you are invading (which the U.S. hasn’t had since Korea), 2. Don’t try to change a culture – you can’t. As Lamborn mentioned in his booklet “You don’t belong” syndrome was never more true than in the “graveyard of empires” Afghanistan (or anywhere in the Middle East); and, 3. Don’t play the enemy’s game. Osama bin Laden said in an interview “I enjoy how the U.S. reacts to Al Qaeda [or any other perceived threat]. If Al Qaeda is mentioned there they send massive forces. If Al Qaeda is mentioned somewhere else they do the same. Like a cat chasing a spot of light on the floor.”
“Fighting the War of Ideas Like a Real War” by J. Michael Waller. Excellent treatise using infowar to defeat Islamic fundamentalism – without going bankrupt and killing thousands of our best in the process.