Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Suggested Readings to Spur Thinking and Debate

This is the attempt: theoretically I can update this as new books are added. I shall try to put the approximate date on which I finish the book, however with a good chunk of the ones that I read in Iraq, etc. that will be impossible to remember at this point. I will link to the books on Amazon (please notify me of any missing/broken links) and provide a brief synopsis.


Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World
Expounds on the wester tradition of "just war." Written primarily in support of the war in Afghanistan with a new epilogue written in relation to Iraq.

Baghdad by Bus: Or,.......
(September 07)
First person narrative from two entrepreneurs plying their special brand of ingenuity and charity in Baghdad. Highlights glaring flaws in CPA method of occupation of Iraq.

Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism
(September 07)
Explains the logic/success of using suicide terror against an "occupying force" from a foreign,democratic nation whose religion differs from your own and how religion is an enabler, not a root causation.

Striking Back: The 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and Israel's Deadly Response
(August 07)
What the title says; not the book the movie "Munich" is based on. Mostly a "this is what happened" rather than critical commentary, it does criticize the German government, but doesn't delve too much into the right/wrong of Israel's response.

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
(August 07)
Examines types of killing (close vs. ranged) and their association with PTSD, as well as association of other battlefield conditions with PTSD. Also describes military conditioning to kill and how some aspects of modern society condition violence through entertainment. Everyone in the military should read this.

How to Lose a Battle: Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders

(June 07)
What the title says; also, in a nutshell: get good intel, don't be stupid.

A Rumor of War
(June 07)
Autobiographical, coming of age in Vietnam story from Phil Caputo. Personal as well as historic.

The Collapse of the Common Good: How America's Lawsuit Culture Undermines Our Freedom
(Spring 07)
Describes how lawsuits and fear of them have helped contribute to lack of judgment, fear of making rational value assessments, and loss of authority.

Muzzled: From T-Ball to Terrorism--True Stories that Should be Fiction
(Spring 07)
The ridiculousness extremes of being PC. Goes somewhat along with the Common Good book in exposing how PC contributes to lack of being rational and fear of getting punished for offending someone. I mostly agreed with this book until the last chapter or two; can't remember why, but I'll re-read them again to see.

Heart of a Soldier
The poignant story of Rick Rescorla, British academic/adventurer turned American in the US Army during Vietnam. Later becomes head of security at Morgan Stanley, where his predictions of danger to the Twin Towers go unheeded. Dies on September 11 after evacuating thousands of occupants from one of the towers.

The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America
Historical perspective explaining misunderstandings and distorted world views as the primary reasons for conflict.

Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces
History of the SF from Vietnam to now; reasons, mistakes, future uses, etc.

Battle Ready
The life of warrior-diplomat Marine General Tony Zinni. Part biography, part auto-biography, part political commentary on the use of America's military.


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