Book Review of George Marshall: A Biography

Not sure if I shall bother reading this new biography of George Marshall, but here is a review of it in the New Republic.  Concluding paragraph says a lot about George Marshall the man: For a military man, Marshall’s heroism was peculiar. It did not arise from his conduct on the battlefield. It arose from his modesty, including “a modest daily schedule that often ended at three or four o’clock in the afternoon” and his avoidance “of lucrative corporate board memberships so commonly available to retired high military officers in our more avaricious times.” Most importantly, Marshall’s modesty flowed from […]

Should the 4th Estate be saved?

The 4th Estate, also known as news media, has had a tradition of both a liberal (change-promoting) editorial bent and being the opposition party to whomever is in power. America’s journalism business has a checkered past, with its William Randolph Heart’s Yellow Journalism, and Walter Duranty’s prize-winning [un-]reporting of conditions inside the USSR. In terms of national security and foreign affairs, journalist would tell you why the F-35 is like the Great Wall of China (answer: neither leave the earth, both cost a lot, and were overcome by new technology before completion), or why a treaty was or wasn’t in America’s […]

A way to study History

As most of you know I do not hold any degrees in History, but that never stopped me from enjoying it. I studied English, which is to say I studied information and how it is managed and conveyed. Recently George, one of our commentators recommended watching Ken Burns’s treatment of FDR and the New Deal. That brought to mind an earlier conversation with Townie on how history is taught. Which is the ‘why’ of this post: History is often given a treatment of this perspective or that perspective, but there is rarely a treatment of the outcomes. Any word or deed can […]

Letters of Marque and Reprisal

Slater’s excellent post produced very thoughtful, spot-on observations from regular commentators John Minehan and Mike_B as well as our resident Townie. The takeaway from the comments is that Americans have divorced themselves from service, including warfare. Recently, Bill O’Reilly recommended a much-derided solution to the problems of sending Americans overseas at exorbitant costs in blood and treasure. O’Reilly recommended that the US raise a mercenary army to fight terrorism. To authorize such a force, our Congress must issue a letter, or letters of Marque & Reprisal. LETTER OF MARQUE AND REPRISAL, War. A commission granted by the government to a private individual, […]

The Burden of War

Falleth not upon the Soldier, or Marine, or Sailor, or Airman.  But on the people who sent him to that beach without water.  Here‘s an interesting article by Sebastian Junger who has spent much of his journalistic career embedded among Soldiers to tell their story. The Soldier. . .is a tool.  When you hammer a nail as you build a bed frame, what take responsibility for it?  The hammer?  I would say no.  It must be the person hammering the nail.  To that effect, the Soldier is a tool, he should not bear the majority of the pain or blame […]

Courage, a study

Can you spot the courage?

Operation Market Garden, 70 Years Ago

Immortalized by Ryan’s great book, A Bridge Too Far, it happened seventy years ago this week: …Montgomery developed Operation Market-Garden. A two stage operation, the plan called for troops from Lieutenant General Lewis Brereton’s First Allied Airborne Army to land and capture key bridges in the Netherlands. While these troops held the bridges, Lieutenant General Brian Horrock’s XXX Corps would advance up Highway 69 to relieve Brereton’s men. If successful, Allied forces would be over the Rhine in a position to attack the Ruhr, while avoiding the Westwall by working around its northern end. For the airborne component, Market, Major […]

The Long War

When I was studying in France back in 2009 one of the many unique opportunities I had was to attend the Collogue Guerre Irreguliere/Irregular Warfare Conference at Camp Coetquidan.  And one of the things a British General said was that NATO knew Afghanistan would be a 20 year war.  That it would take an entire generation to fight and rebuild that country. The reason I bring this up, one of our categories here on OPFOR is The Long War.  I’ve had this sneaking suspicion that my generation’s war never ended.  That this irregular enemy, the non-state actor, would continue to […]

INCHON DAY!

15 September 1950. Amphibious landing, the way it ought to be done– a stunning stroke of operational art. Could we do it today? Not on that scale, we don’t have the amphib lift, nor do I think we have the true capability, even adjusting for improvements in ships and weapons systems. Check me if I’m wrong but be sure to justify your answer.

George Santayana doesn’t blog here

But our readers and commenters here at Op-for.com have taken to heart the prescriptions of the venerated American man of letters, philosopher, essayist and novelist. Thank you to George Warren and others for the reminder. From Austin Bay: Expansionist dictators take until stopped by superior power. For these beasts, peace is war by other means, and the other means always involve deception. Idiots walking. Indeed.