A Current Reading List

In no particular order, or in fact any rhyme or reason, here’s a look at some of the books on my shelf and on my nightstand:

Rampant Raider– An A-4 Skyhawk Pilot in Vietnam (interesting in its own right, it is doubly interesting because his wartime cruise coincided with my father’s cruise on a different carrier. It is weird reading about strikes that I know my father flew on.)

An Army at Dawn– Rick Atkinson and I may not agree on much, but he’s a hell  of a writer, and the story of the Army in North Africa is well told, if somewhat unsettling.

The Day of Battle– Part Two of Rick Atkinson’s LiberationTrilogy. More great reading.

The Civil War: A Narrative– Shelby Foote brings us the best popular work on the Civil War. It is a wonderful primer on maneuver warfare, politics in war, and the way events control politics. A must read.

The Brotherhood of War– WEB Griffin’s tale of the Army  from WWII to the end of Vietnam. Sure, it’s a guilty pleasure, and I plead guilty to finding it pleasurable. And once you get hooked on this series, you get hooked on all his other stuff. I’ve never been on  a trip to the woods with the Army where copies of his books weren’t being passed around.

Moment of Truth in Iraq– pretty much everyone has Michael Yon on their reading list. Having said that, I was disappointed in this book as it is primarly a rehash of columns. I suppose that is a hazard of a columnist writing a book.

Sailors to the End-Greg Freeman does a service bringing this story of valor to our attention, but the book is somewhat facile. I can’t recommend it to historians, but it is a good introduction to the events of the Forrestal fire.

Thud Ridge– Everyone interested in the air war in Vietnam has either read this book, or should.

There’s a War to be Won– Geoffrey Perret’s must-read about the US Army in WWII.

That’s just a thin slice of the bookshelf. What’s on yours?


Now, I’m not a big fan of lawyers. But women who play them on TV, well, I can support that.

Catherine Bell vaulted into our collective conscience by playing LTC Sarah “Mac” Mackenzie on JAG. She’s moved on to the excrable “Army Wives” but hey, a girls gotta work. We’ll just overlook that and move on to the good stuff.

Can I get a plasma rifle in the 40 Megawatt range?

From karkatoa, over at The Mothership, comes word that the Army is once again taking a look at replacing the M-4/M-16 family. Previous efforts have been pretty disastrous. This time, it looks like the Army is going to take a hard look at what is out on the market today, and for once, they are open to looking at rounds besides the current 5.56mm.

The Army’s abrupt change in direction — after long stating it would stick with the M4 until there was a “leap” in technology that would far surpass current carbine performance — comes after nearly two years of pressure on the service to re-examine the M4 and entertain a nearer-term replacement.

Some in Congress have called for the Army to hold a “shoot-off” with several other carbine designs alongside the Colt-built M4 to demonstrate the state of the art in today’s military arms market. Sen. Tom Coburn (R – Okla.) briefly held up the nomination of Army Secretary Pete Geren in mid-2007 to force the service into side-by-side comparisons of M4 competitors in extreme dust conditions.

I’ve said before that I liked the M-16 and the M-4, but I also understand a lot of the frustration with both weapons and the round. What do you want to see the services go to?

Sheer Thuggery

Believe it or not, I’m not a “gun nut.” I’m not a shill for the NRA (nor am I a member). I like guns, I enjoy shooting, but it isn’t a big part of my life anymore. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have strong feelings for the Second Amendment. In fact, I also have strong feelings for the First Amendment. So I find it ironic that after years of listening to folks on the other side of the political spectrum screaming about fascism and jack-booted thugs infringing their civil rights, the most concrete examples I can find are being perpetuated by the Democratic candidate for President.

The NRA has produced a series of four ads addressing Senator Obama’s record on the Second Amendment. Now, if the good Senator doesn’t agree, he’s free to rebut them in any forum he likes. Or just ignore them. Or move the conversation to another topic. But sending an army of lawyers to silence the ads by intimidating TV stations is hardly what I would call robust support for the First Amendment, the bedrock of our civil liberties. Is this the Change we have been waiting for?

And if that isn’t enough, now prosecutors and sherriffs in Missouri who support Obama are threatening to bring criminal libel charges against those who might criticize the junior Senator from Illinois. Is using the awesome power of the state to silence critics what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

All I can say is that if this is the new politics that Obama will bring to America, where is he importing them from? Venezuala or Russia?

H/T: Insty, with thanks to Patterico and Gateway Pundit

Journalism Shield Law?

I saw this over at The Mothership and it gets my blood boiling. In keeping with the journalistic standards of the moronosphere, we will not provide a link to Excitable Andi, but that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss his stupidity.

Andi has repeatedly emailed the McCain campaign for a refutation of the scurrilous smear that Trig Palin is actually Bristol’s son, and not Sarah’s. Now, it isn’t the responsibility of the campaign to spend its time answering every crackpot. But Goldfarb, of the McCain campaign forwarded the emails to Howard Kurtz, presumably to show just what kind of junk they have to put up with.

Andi is now complaining that this is a breach of his privacy, and that Kurtz violated journalistic ethics by publishing them. This is a complaint coming from a guy who linked to the hacked Palin emails.

In addition to the double standard chutzpah shown, Andi is trying to reach an entirely new level of “having your cake and eating it too.”

In effect, Andi is arguing that when he sends an email to a campaign, any answer the campaign may give would be on the record, but his email asking for information is somehow privileged.  With that much irony running around, I’m amazed Andrew Sullivan doesn’t rust.


Usually when I talk about artillery, I make a snarky comment about how brave you have to be to fight from 15 miles away. Or a I comment that the MOS number (13) refers to the average IQ of an artilleryman. But since I’m stealing this video from John at Castle Aaarrgh, a career artilleryman, I won’t do that this time.


One of these days, after I finish up on machine guns, I’ll get around to a post on the various types of tubes (that’s guns, for you non-Army types) shown in the video.