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There is a widespread belief that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are in many respects synonymous, that their ideology and objectives are closely intertwined and that they have made common cause against the West for decades. Such opinions have been stridently supported by politicians, media pundits and senior military figures, yet they have hardly ever been scrutinised. This is all the more surprising given that the West's present entanglement in Afghanistan is commonly predicated on the need to defeat the Taliban in order to forestall further terrorist attacks worldwide. The relationship between the two groups and the individuals who established them is undeniably complex, and has remained so for many years. Links between the Taliban and al-Qaeda were retained in the face of a shared enemy following the invasion of Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks, an adversary that was selected by al-Qaeda rather than by the Taliban, and which led the latter to become entangled in a war that was not of its choosing. This book is the first to examine in detail the relationship from the Taliban's perspective based on Arabic, Dari and Pashtu sources, drawing on the authors' many years experience in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban's heartland. They also interviewed Taliban decision-makers, field commanders and ordinary fighters while immersing themselves in Kandahar's society. Van Linschoten and Kuehn's forensic examination of the evolution of the two groups allows the background and historical context that informed their respective ideologies to come to the fore. The story of those individuals who were to become their key decision-makers, and the relationships among all those involved, from the mid-1990s onwards, reveal how complex the interactions were between the Taliban and al-Qaeda and how they frequently diverged rather than converged. An Enemy We Created concludes that there is room to engage the Taliban on the issues of renouncing al-Qaeda and guaranteeing that Afghanistan will deny sanctuary to international terrorists. Yet the insurgency is changing, and it could soon be too late to find a political solution. The authors contend that certain aspects of the campaign, especially night raids and attempts to fragment and decapitate the Taliban, are transforming the resistance, creating more opportunities for al-Qaeda and helping it to attain its goals.
The Western-led efforts to establish a new post-Taliban order in Afghanistan are in serious trouble, and in this book Suhrke sets out to explain why. She begins with the dynamic of the intervention and its related peace-building mission. What were the forces shaping this grand international project? What explains the apparent systemic bias towards a deeper and broader international involvement? Many reasons have been cited for its limited achievements and ever-growing difficulties, the most common explanation being that the national, regional, and international contexts were unfavourable. But many policies were misguided while the multinational operation itself was extraordinarily and unnecessarily complex. Astri Suhrke's main thesis is that the international project itself contains serious tensions and contradictions that significantly contributed to the lack of progress. As a result, the deepening involvement proved dysfunctional: massive international support has created an extreme version of a rentier state that is predictably weak, corrupt and unaccountable; US-led military operations undercut the peacebuilding agenda, and more international aid and monitoring to correct the problems generate Afghan resentment and evasion. Continuing these policies will only reinforce the dynamic. The alternative is a less intrusive international presence, a longer time-frame for reconstruction and change, and negotiations with the militants that can end the war and permit a more Afghan-directed order to emerge.
In May 1968, in the western jungle of Vietnam near Laos, a Special Forces Company under the command of an Australian army captain, supported by a U.S. Marine artillery detachment, occupied an old French fort on a hill known as Ngok Tavak. Though the ensuing battle and subsequent retreat appeared relatively insignificant, they proved to have much wider implications. Nearly every major force in South Vietnam was involved, and the battle's bloody ending came to stand as a microcosm of what went wrong in the war. In its wake Ngok Tavak left issues that cried out for resolution for decades afterwards. After interviewing battle survivors and American soldiers' families, and searching through accounts from official reports that included Vietnamese documents, eyewitness statements, and war diaries, Bruce Davies pieces together the evidence that puts Ngok Tavak in context and addresses questions that still haunt those involved.
This landmark study of the Vietnamese conflict, examined through the lens of the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary movements in the rural province of Long An up until American intervention in the area, offers a human, balanced, penetrating account of war. Two new forewords by Robert K. Brigham of Vassar College and Jeffrey Record of the Air War College explore the book's enduring influence. There is a new end chapter that offers previously unpublished scholarship on the conflict.
During the Vietnam War, both the United States and the Soviet Union supplied all manner of weapon systems to the opposing sides, including tanks and armoured vehicles. Two tanks in particular took momentary prominence in the later years of the conflict. On the South Vietnamese side, it was the US M41 Walker Bulldog; for the communist North Vietnamese, the Soviet-supplied T-54 main battle tank was the core of their armoured power.
In their first major engagement, during Operation Lam Son 719 (February–March 1971), it was the Walker Bulldog in the ascendant, but in later battles the T-54s inflicted heavy losses on their lighter opponents, taking the advantage through their superior manoeuvrability and gunnery.
Illustrated with full-colour artwork as well as rare and revealing photographs from both sides, this book studies these two iconic tanks in Vietnamese service, examining how their differing designs and fighting doctrines affected their performance in this unique theatre of combat.
Veterans of recent conflicts describe their individual journeys from raw recruit to war resister in this collection of testimonials. Although it is not well publicized, the long tradition of refusing to fight unjust wars continues today within the American military. The stories in this book provide an intimate, honest look at the personal transformation of each of these young people and at the same time constitute a powerful argument against militarization and endless war. Also included are exclusive interviews with Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg addressing the U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan and the role civilian and GI resistance plays in bringing the troops home.
Scorched Earth is the first book to chronicle the effects of chemical warfare on the Vietnamese people and their environment, where, even today, more than 3 million people--including 500,000 children--are sick and dying from birth defects, cancer, and other illnesses that can be directly traced to Agent Orange/dioxin exposure. Weaving first-person accounts with original research, Vietnam War scholar Fred A. Wilcox examines long-term consequences for future generations, laying bare the ongoing monumental tragedy in Vietnam, and calls for the United States government to finally admit its role in chemical warfare in Vietnam. Wilcox also warns readers that unless we stop poisoning our air, food, and water supplies, the cancer epidemic in the United States and other countries will only worsen, and he urgently demands the chemical manufacturers of Agent Orange to compensate the victims of their greed and to stop using the Earth's rivers, lakes, and oceans as toxic waste dumps. Vietnam has chosen August 10--the day that the US began spraying Agent Orange on Vietnam--as Agent Orange Day, to commemorate all its citizens who were affected by the deadly chemical. Scorched Earth will be released upon the third anniversary of this day, in honor of all those whose families have suffered, and continue to suffer, from this tragedy.
The first part of this book covers the role of US aircraft carriers and aircraft in stopping the North Korean initial push to the south and also their role in the famous Inchon Landing and Pusan Perimeter Break out. The last part of the first chapter deals with naval operations during the Marine's Chosin Reservoir march to the sea in December 1950. The book goes on to describe the stabilization of the front lines after the Chinese had entered the war during 1951. At this time, the emphasis for naval air operations was centered on interdiction behind the lines. The focus was on trying to stop road and rail traffic from resupplying the communist troops and allowing them to build up to a major offensive. It also includes the entry of the F2H Banshee into carrier operations which gave the USA four major types of aircraft with which to wage the war. During 1952 most carrier air groups spend their time off the coast of North Korea while hitting targets up along the Yalu River, putting them well within the range of the MiG-15s. Navy F9F Panthers were used as top cover while the Corsairs and Skyraiders went after major targets such as the dam complexes up river and marshaling yards north of Pyongyang. During 1953, naval air operations were stepped up in an effort to get the communists back to the truce talks. The number of MiG-15s had grown to a figure many times that of the UN for overhead protection. The deep missions were more dangerous than ever and the Chinese brought in state of the art antiaircraft automatic weapons. The number of sorties flown by the US Naval aircraft increased over the previous year's record numbers. The war ended on July 27, 1953.
This book narrates the history of the different peoples who have lived in the three major regions of Viet Nam over the past 3,000 years. It brings to life their relationships with these regions' landscapes, water resources, and climatic conditions, their changing cultures and religious traditions, and their interactions with their neighbors in China and Southeast Asia. Key themes include the dramatic impact of changing weather patterns from ancient to medieval and modern times, the central importance of riverine and maritime communications, ecological and economic transformations, and linguistic and literary changes. The country's long experience of regional diversity, multi-ethnic populations, and a multi-religious heritage that ranges from local spirit cults to the influences of Buddhism, Confucianism and Catholicism, makes for a vividly pluralistic narrative. The arcs of Vietnamese history include the rise and fall of different political formations, from chiefdoms to Chinese provinces, from independent kingdoms to divided regions, civil wars, French colonies, and modern republics. In the twentieth century anticolonial nationalism, the worldwide depression, Japanese occupation, a French attempt at reconquest, the traumatic American-Vietnamese war, and the 1975 communist victory all set the scene for the making of contemporary Viet Nam. Rapid economic growth in recent decades has transformed this one-party state into a global trading nation. Yet its rich history still casts a long shadow. Along with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Viet Nam is now involved in a tense territorial standoff in the South China Sea, as a rival of China and a "partner" of the United States. If its independence and future geographical unity seem assured, Viet Nam's regional security and prospects for democracy remain clouded.
In the dust and blazing heat of Helmand, the young men of 16 Air Assault Brigade find themselves in the most relentless battles faced by British troops in recent history. As the only writer to have obtained unprecedented, unrestricted access to the front line, Sam Kiley is with them to bear witness to the most intense challenges of their lives. "Desperate Glory" is an unflinching portrait of the reality of war - the bombs, the shooting and the daily struggles that push them to the very limit of human endurance.
There are many broad studies of the Vietnam War, but this work offers an insight into the harrowing experiences of just a small number of men from a single unit, deep in the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia. Its focus is the remarkable account of a Medal of Honor recipient Leslie Sabo Jr., whose brave actions were forgotten for over three decades. Sabo and other replacement soldiers in Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry (Currahees), 101st Airborne Division, were involved in intense, bloody engagements such as the battle for Hill 474 and the Mother's Day Ambush. Beginning with their deployment at the height of the blistering Tet Offensive, and using military records and interviews with surviving soldiers, Eric Poole recreates the terror of combat amidst the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam. Company of Heroes, now published in paperback tells the remarkable story of how Sabo earned his medal, as Bravo Company forged bonds of brotherhood in their daily battle for survival.
A gripping personal account of success and failure in Iraq during the crucial first year after the fall of the Ba'athist regime This compelling book presents an unparalleled record of what happened after U.S. forces seized Baghdad in the spring of 2003. Army Colonel Peter R. Mansoor, the on-the-ground commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division-the "Ready First Combat Team"-describes his brigade's first year in Iraq, from the sweltering, chaotic summer after the Ba'athists' defeat to the transfer of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government a year later. Uniquely positioned to observe, record, and assess the events of that fateful year, Mansoor now explains what went right and wrong as the U.S. military confronted an insurgency of unexpected strength and tenacity. Drawing not only on his own daily combat journal but also on observations by embedded reporters, news reports, combat logs, archived e-mails, and many other sources, Mansoor offers a contemporary record of the valor, motivations, and resolve of the 1st Brigade and its attachments during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet this book has a deeper significance than a personal memoir or unit history. Baghdad at Sunrise provides a detailed, nuanced analysis of U.S. counterinsurgency operations in Iraq, and along with it critically important lessons for America's military and political leaders of the twenty-first century.
From September 1990 to June 1991, the UK deployed 53,462 military personnel in the Gulf War. After the end of the conflict anecdotal reports of various disorders affecting troops who fought in the Gulf began to surface. This mysterious illness was given the name Gulf War SyndromeA" (GWS). This book is an investigation into this recently emergent illness, particularly relevant given ongoing UK deployments to Iraq, describing how the illness became a potent symbol for a plethora of issues, anxieties, and concerns. At present, the debate about GWS is polarized along two lines: there are those who think it is a unique, organic condition caused by Gulf War toxins and those who argue that it is probably a psychological condition that can be seen as part of a larger group of illnesses. Using the methods and perspective of anthropology, with its focus on nuances and subtleties, the author provides a new approach to understanding GWS, one that makes sense of the cultural circumstances, specific and general, which gave rise to the illness.
Nights in the Pink Motel is the first historical account of the strategic process that sought to reverse the negative consequences of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. It offers details and insights into the Iraqi insurgency and Coalition counterinsurgency available nowhere else. This book is a sustained, comprehensive account of all the conflicting factors that have made Iraq such an intractable international crisis and offers an intriguing narrative of how the American-led Coalition returned sovereignty to Iraq in June 2004, while defending Iraq's fledgling interim government against a rising insurgency and terrorism and helping ensure the success of Iraq's first national election in January 2005.The author, Robert Earle--recruited by the first U.S. ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte, to serve as Negroponte's strategist--documents the Coalition's uncertainty about the nature of the insurgent/terrorist enemies, whose aim is to defeat democratization in Iraq. Earle's story explores the impediments frustrating the massive, $18 billion U.S. reconstruction effort and recounts the formulation of a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy issued by Negroponte and Multinational Force-Iraq Commanding General George Casey.The title of the book is derived from the name given to the author's dingy offices a former palace of Saddam Hussein in the Green Zone of Badgad where he wrestled with developing a startegy for peace. Upon drafting the strategy, Earle learns he must be evacuated from Iraq because of massive deep vein thrombosis in his left thigh.This narrative twist takes him from the company of senior diplomats, generals, and Iraqi politicians and places him in the medical pipeline of wounded soldiers.Upon arriving home, Earle thinks his nightmare assignment in Iraq is over, but Negroponte requests that he return to Baghdad to write a long message to the President, explaining that U.S. policy is failing and offering an alternative approach. Casey, meanwhile, also wants Earle to assess the evolution of Iraqi politics and possible outcomes of the risky January 2005 election.Returning to Iraq over the strenuous objections of State Department doctors, Earle occupies the dingy environs he calls the "Pink Motel" and completes his assignments, digging deeper into the realities of the international effort to end the violence and build the peace. Nights in the Pink Motel is a graphic, first-person account of the political, military, and human efforts to dispel the fog of 21st century warfare.The book is an essential contribution to understanding how all elements of national power must be combined to defeat insurgency and terror.
Now that Gen. David Petraeus's troop surge has gained the U.S. much-needed breathing room in Iraq, what should come next? The answer, according to Iraq War combat veterans of the famed 101st Airborne Division Col. Dominic J. Caraccilo and Lt. Col. Andrea L. Thompson, is to turn the fight over to the Iraqis. In Achieving Victory in Iraq, Caraccilo and Thompson examine how the Iraq War has evolved since 2003 and carefully outline the way forward. They argue that a strategy for handing off the battle to the Iraqis existed from the beginning, even though the American-led coalition sometimes muddled its execution and at times did not even pursue it. A renewed effort to create an independent Iraqi security force capable of standing up against the insurgency, they believe, remains the U.S.'s best shot at victory--not winning over the Iraqi people, not crushing the enemy with American military might. Drawing on the authors' on-the-ground experiences training and conducting security operations with Iraqi soldiers, Achieving Victory in Iraq describes how this strategy has already succeeded in parts of Iraq and how it can be expanded in the wake of the surge to bring victory to the entire country.
THE GRIPPING FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNT OF BIN LADEN'S EXECUTION For the first time, read the first-hand account of the planning and execution of the extraordinary mission to kill the terrorist mastermind. No Easy Day puts readers inside the elite, handpicked twenty-four-man team known as SEAL Team Six as they train for the most important mission of their lives. From the crash of the Black Hawk helicopter that threatened the mission with disaster, to the radio call confirming their target was dead, the SEAL team raid on bin Laden's secret HQ is recounted in nail-biting second-by-second detail. Team leader Mark Owen takes readers behind enemy lines with one of the world's most astonishing fighting forces, in the only insider's account of their most spectacular mission. 'No Easy Day amounts to a cinematic account of the raid to kill Bin Laden: you feel as if you're sitting in the Black Hawk as it swoops in' NY Times 'A blistering first-hand account' The Sun
Tyler E. Boudreau is a twelve-year veteran of the Marine Corps infantry. He trained and committed himself physically and intellectually to the military life. Then his intense devotion began to disintegrate, bit by bit, during his final mission in Iraq. After returning home, he discovered a turmoil developing in his mind, estranging him from his loved ones and the bill of goods he eagerly purchased as a marine officer."Packing Inferno "is the spectacularly written story of the ordeal of a marine officer in battle and then coming home. It is the struggle with a society resistant to understand the true nature of war. It is the fight with combat stress and an exploration into the process of recovery. It is the search for conscience, family, and ultimately for one's essential self. Here are the reflections of a man built by the Marine Corps, disassembled by war, and left with no guidance to rebuild himself.This is Tyler E. Boudreau's first book. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works with other veterans on many projects related to war.
In the mid-1960s, the Soviet Union unveiled the BMP, the first true infantry fighting vehicle. A revolutionary design, the BMP marked a significant departure from the traditional armoured personnel carrier, with a lower silhouette and heavier armament than rival APCs. One of the most fearsome light-armoured vehicles of its day, it caused great consternation on the other side of the Iron Curtain as the Americans scrambled to design a machine to rival the BMP. The result was the M2/M3 Bradley. These Cold War icons first clashed - not on the plains of Europe, but in southern Iraq during the Gulf War of 1991. Featuring specially commissioned full-colour artwork, this is the absorbing story of the origins, development and combat performance of the BMP and Bradley, culminating in the bloody battles of the Gulf War.
"'I never got a chance to be a girl, ' Kate O'Hare Palmer lamented, thirty-four years after her tour as an army nurse in Vietnam. Although proud of having served, she felt that the war she never understood had robbed her of her innocence and forced her to grow up too quickly. As depicted in a photograph taken late in her tour, long hours in the operating room exhausted her both physically and mentally. Her tired eyes and gaunt face reflected th e weariness she felt after treating countless patients, some dying, some maimed, all, like her, forever changed. Still, she learned to work harder and faster than she thought she could, to trust her nursing skills, and to live independently. She developed a way to balance the dangers and benefits of being a woman in the army and in the war. Only fourteen months long, her tour in Vietnam profoundly affected her life and her beliefs."
Such vivid personal accounts abound in historian Kara Dixon Vuic's compelling look at the experiences of army nurses in the Vietnam War. Drawing on more than 100 interviews, Vuic allows the nurses to tell their own captivating stories, from their reasons for joining the military to the physical and emotional demands of a horrific war and postwar debates about how to commemorate their service.
Vuic also explores the gender issues that arose when a male-dominated army actively recruited and employed the services of 5,000 nurses in the midst of a growing feminist movement and a changing nursing profession. Women drawn to the army's patriotic promise faced disturbing realities in the virtually all-male hospitals of South Vietnam. Men who joined the nurse corps ran headlong into the army's belief that women should nurse and men should fight.
"Officer, Nurse, Woman" brings to light the nearly forgotten contributions of brave nurses who risked their lives to bring medical care to soldiers during a terrible--and divisive--war.
Born on the Fourth of July, the New York Times bestseller (more than one million copies sold), details Ron Kovic's life story (portrayed by Tom Cruise in the Oliver Stone film version) - from a patriotic soldier in Vietnam, to his severe battlefield injury, to his role as the country's most outspoken anti-Vietnam War advocate, spreading his message from his wheelchair. This 40th anniversary edition includes a powerful and moving new introduction, setting this classic anti-war story in a contemporary context.
At the beginning of the Vietnam War, the Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) were equipped with slow, old Korean War generation fighters - a combination of MiG-17s and MiG-19s - types that should have offered little opposition to the cutting-edge fighter-bombers such as the F-4 Phantom II, F-105 Thunderchief and the F-8 Crusader. Yet when the USAF and US Navy unleashed their aircraft on North Vietnam in 1965 the inexperienced pilots of the VPAF were able to shatter the illusion of US air superiority. Taking advantage of their jet's unequalled low-speed maneuverability, small size and powerful cannon armament they were able to take the fight to their missile-guided opponents, with a number of Vietnamese pilots racking up ace scores. Packed with information previously unavailable in the west and only recently released from archives in Vietnam, this is the first major analysis of the exploits of Vietnamese pilots in the David and Goliath contest with the US over the skies of Vietnam.
After China's November 1950 intervention in the war and the subsequent battle of the Chosin Reservoir, UN forces faced a new onslaught in the spring of 1951 with over 350,000 veteran troops attacking along the Imjin River.The US 3rd Infantry Division took the brunt of the attack along with the attached British 29th Infantry Brigade which included the Gloucestershire Regiment (the "Glosters"). The heroic defence of the American and British forces would pass into legend, most especially the doomed effort of the Glosters, as they sought to buy time for the rest of the UN forces to regroup and organise an effective defence of Seoul, the South Korean capital city. Featuring full colour commissioned artwork, maps and first-hand accounts, this is the compelling story of one of the most epic clashes of the Korean War.
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