Syria, John McCain, and the Ewoks

Okay, now you’re thinking this Nealen guy has gone completely over the edge. “What the hell do Ewoks have to do with anything?” Bear with me.

John McCain agitating to get the US involved in Syria is old news, it is emblematic of a trend I have noticed in American thought for quite a while now and it is a dangerous trend. It is a form of naiveté that has already come back to bite us more than once. The trend is in believing that the underdogs in any conflict are by default the good guys. It’s an attitude that goes back to the Cold War , Vietnam,  and it is foolishly simplistic.

Read the rest at SOFREP.

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“Pete” Ellis – The First Recon Marine

Lt. Col. Earl Hancock “Pete” Ellis is considered by many to be the “First Reconnaissance Marine,” due to his daring escapade in the Pacific in 1921, over two decades before what was to become 1st Recon Battalion was even formed.  A military genius and a careful planner, he was responsible for much of the war plan followed in the Pacific Theater, though he didn’t live to see it.

Ellis enlisted in the Marine Corps in Chicago in 1900.  He made Corporal by February, 1901.  Following a request by Representative Chester Long, and some tutoring in order to pass the tests, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in December of the same year.

Over the next couple of years, he learned the ropes as a Marine officer, including a tour in the Philippines, where he is quoted as saying in a letter, “I think that this is the laziest life that a man could find – there is not a blamed thing to do except lay around, sleep and go ‘bug house’. But the same, I am helping to bear the ‘White Man’s Burden’.”  He shortly thereafter gained a billet on the Kentucky.

Read the rest on SOFREP.

It’s Out!

The Kindle edition of Hunting in the Shadows is live.  The paperback should follow in about a week.

It Can Never Be Simple…
It has been a year since the bloodbath of East Africa. A year since the shooters of Praetorian Security committed themselves to fighting a war the powers that be refused to acknowledge was even happening.
Jeff Stone is now a Praetorian Security Team Leader. The bulk of the company is deployed to Iraqi Kurdistan, ostensibly to protect the oil facilities on some of the few functioning oil fields that are still supplying oil to the West, but also to hunt terrorists on the side. The constant, low-level insurgency that has plagued Iraq since the war has not died down, and now, at the nadir of Western power, appears to be gaining momentum.
Iraq is beginning to fall apart. Tensions between the Iraqi government and the Kurds are threatening to flare up over the perpetual flashpoint of Kirkuk. Worse, the battle for supremacy between the Shia extremists of Iran and the Salafists, loosely gathered under the banner of Al Qaeda, is spreading into Iraq. The chaos is spreading like wildfire.
It’s going to be a rough deployment…

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The Cost of Limited War

Carl von Clausewitz defined war as: An act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will. He goes on to say, “Violence, that is to say, physical force (for there is no moral force without the conception of States and Law), is therefore the means; the compulsory submission of the enemy to our will is the ultimate object.” Most telling for the purpose of this essay, he goes on to point out that, “…for in such dangerous things as War, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.”

The United States, and the West as a whole, finds itself in an age where the “errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence” have overtaken every facet of our warfighting capability. Commanders are not making battlefield decisions based on combat necessity, they are making them based on the instructions of lawyers who endeavor to make war more ‘humane.’

War is, by its very nature, inhumane. War is violence, death and horror. It is serious business. Unfortunately, we have not engaged in it seriously for a very long time, and the costs of that fact have been largely glossed over.

Read the rest at SOFREP.