A Vision So Noble



Welcome to the website!

Most of the papers here are from my studies at King's College London in an online "programme" for mid-career British Army officers called War in the Modern World. About half were indeed British Army, including a captain who deployed to Afghanistan midway through the four years. (Alas, upon his return he dropped out of the course, left the army, and began to study law instead.) The rest of us were from other militaries or civilian life, from a Danish pilot to an assistant to the prime minister of Singapore. I learned a great deal, and this website is to share it more broadly.

The Blog

Nov 28 - In February 2022, with courage and mostly hand-held weapons, Ukrainian soldiers and civilians turned back a Russian onslaught that everyone believed would see the country conquered in a matter of days. Then they liberated the city of Kharkiv and even made some progress in the Donetsk region that Putin's Little Green Men had occupied nine years earlier. Finally, in last fall's counteroffensive, the Ukrainians swept into the southern city of Kherson, which the Russians had seized in the first few weeks of the war.

But this year -- not so much. The war is now a slugfest, the two armies separated by a No Man's Land of mud, trenches, and minefields. At this game, Putin wins. He can send waves of soldiers -- most of them ethnic minorities and not Russians at all -- to die in hopeless charges, much as Stalin's troops did in the Second World War. Plenty more bodies where those came from!

Ukraine has a fifth of Russia's population, and as a free country it values its soldiers highly. As Francis Farrell writes in the Kyiv Independent today, Ukraine can't afford to fight a war of attrition: it will run out of troops long before Russia does. Simply put, Joe Biden dithered, and American military aid arrived three months, six months, or a year too late. And now it appears he will deliver the same sort of support to Israel.

Nov 26 - Dafna Elyakin (see below) and her eight-year-old sister were among the hostages released today in exchange for six Palestinian women and minors from Israeli jails. The girls' father, his partner, and a third child were murdered in the October 7 atrocity.

Nov 20 - This morning I stumbled upon a YouTube video about a Hamas tunnel, with first a drone and then Israeli soldiers exploring it. Before I came to my senses, it was time for mid-morning coffee, and I had devoted two hours to videos from the Israeli military, Pat Robertson's CBN, what was probably Al Jazeera, and London's Daily Mail:

War as clickbait! Soldiers with heavy packs and automatic weapons, wet with sweat and fear, offering their flesh to bullets from the enemy. I was lucky: I did my soldiering in an interlude of peace. Now I'm an old man and can only say: God bless the troops!

Nov 17 - On Wednesday, American businessfolk gave a standing ovation to Xi Jinping, the Chinese dictator. I hope Mr Xi gives a bonus to the genius who ran the Flying Tigers game this fall. For the cost of a few dozen round-trip tickets and hotel rooms, he got two 14th Air Force veterans, their kin, and the grandly named Sino-American Aviation Heritage Society to come to China and set off a wonderfully timed barrage of favorable news stories to the worldwide media. Google regularly sends me a list of Flying Tigers references, and on just one day -- November 16 -- there were ten links along the line of "Flying Tigers veterans relive friendship between Chinese and American people during China tour" at Yahoo Finance.

As part of this months-long campaign, Chinese activists also held ceremonies and put up bilingual historical markers in Commerce, Texas, where Claire Chennault may have been born in 1893.

Well, his Flying Tiger lovefest certainly paid off for Mr Xi. I wonder who got the frequent-flier miles?

Nov 13 - It's hard, sometimes, to swallow what freedom of expression can ask of us.

Nov 8 - "I will tell you what I witnessed in Ukraine: when Ukrainians see American weapons systems, they applaud. Would you sell them out?" -- Timothy Snyder

Nov 4 - Fifteen years old and a captive of Hamas:

Kindnapped in Israel

Blue skies! -- Daniel Ford. You can send humanitarian aid through Razom for Ukraine (a tax-exempt US-based charity). Or donate to the military through the National Bank of Ukraine.

The essays (in more or less chronological order)

Other good stuff to read

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Looking Back From Ninety

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Posted December 2023. Websites © 1997-2023 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved. This site sets no cookies, but Mailchimp and Amazon do, if you click through to their services. I never see those cookies.