Flying Tigers
3rd edition 2016



A rifle for the 21st century Most of my friends are on the loony left of the political spectrum, and they'll never forgive me for saying this, but -- I love military rifles! And this is the weapon to end all military weapons, the XM25 from Minnesota's Alliant Techsystems. According to a company press release, the rifle "has been in development for about seven years and the first prototypes have been doled out to combat units in Afghanistan.... this month. The 12-pound, 29-inch system, which costs up to $35,000 per unit, is so sophisticated that soldiers are proficient users literally within minutes.... At $45/round it is a real bargain!

I don't know about its being a bargain, but it is certainly a game changer if it lives up to Alliant's promises. The sight is also a laser-measuring device, and the round is essentially a grenade. If an enemy sniper is firing from a ditch, say, the friendly rifleman will simply aim a few few over his head. The bullet/grenade will fly the exact distance and explode in the air over the target. Bingo! Ouch.

Happily, the deployed cost may be cheaper. Again according to the manufacturer, the U.S. Army plans to buy 42,500 of these little darlings at $11,900 each.

And speaking of friendly leftists, Rosa Brooks has had a fascinating change of attitude, thanks to romance and her employment path: she married an Army officer, and she went to work at the Pentagon, with the result that she actually became rather fond of the U.S. military. How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything is the result, a wonderfully balanced critique of the military, and especially assassination by remotely controlled aircraft and Special Operations troops. It's an endearing book, unlike most such attempts by intelligent women, and it's selling very well, thank you. The hardcover is only a dollar and a half more than the e-book, especially if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber -- as you should be, if you read a lot (as you should!) Blue skies! — Dan Ford

A Vision So Noble

The essays (in more or less chronological order)

A Rebel in the County Cork, 1915-1923: case study of an insurgency
Was the Cold War an Inevitable Outcome of World War 2?
The Clayton Theorem: Did George Marshall Save the US from Economic Collapse?
To what extent is the US experience in Iraq comparable to their experience in Vietnam?
'Not Right, but British': The Superpower Role in the Falklands War
'But the Russians won, after all!: lessons from the Chechen wars
China: O brave new hegemon!
That's what presidents are for! (Why is 'planning' not the same thing as 'strategy'?)
When Sun-tzu met Clausewitz: John Boyd, the OODA Loop, and the invasion of Iraq
War sucks. Get over it. ('Hybrid war' is a novel concept that captures a real change in the character of warfare: discuss)
How would John Boyd have waged a counterinsurgency?

Other good stuff to read

Gaddis: George Kennan: An American Life
Finkel: The Good Soldiers
Arreguin-Toft: How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict
Luttwak: Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace
Smith: The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World
Galula: Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice
van Creveld: The Transformation of War
Bobbitt: 'Terror and Consent: The Wars for the 21st Century'
Ricks: 'The Gamble: Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq
Wright: 'The Looming Tower: The Road to 9/11'
Adams: 'The Army After Next: The First Postindustrial Army'
Was John Boyd a new Sun Tzu? (books about the OODA Loop)
A counterinsurgency reading list by John Nagl
50 best books about terrorism, by Joshua Sinai

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! — Daniel Ford

Tales of the Flying Tigers

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