This is our third day of steady rain, and strong winds. A little while ago, a cold front passed over and now we are seeing temperatures plummet from the fifties to the mid twenties. Snow flurries tonight, and we'll be in the teens again by morning. Supposed to be five days of this. One aspect of living in the mountains is that you tend to get snow when nobody else does, which is not always a positive thing.
I've been doing a lot of reading with this cold and wet weather, since there's little else to do.
Unfortunately, it's not riveting reading. Coll didn't start out to write a "popular" narrative. He was more interested in documenting the course of events from the the period of the Russian invasion until the events of 9-11.
He did a great job of it, but you have to be methodical. The book is heavily footnoted, and you need to go and look up every footnote as you go along, and read it at the appropriate moment.
It's a complex story. How we let ourselves be bamboozled by the Pakistani intelligence services into supporting the Islamists. How our own politicians and government officials refused to pay any attention to the warning signs after the Russians left.
Coll is not political. I could not tell you, having read the book, whether he is a Democrat or a Republican. He simply states facts. His analysis of the Clinton years is particularly damning, and having read the book I have to say I lost what little faith I ever had in "Big Government." My country commissioner could have handled the situation better than Clinton and his appointees did. The book did fill in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of how certain things came to be, and it's excellent background for understanding Islamic terrorism today. I think it took me about 16 hours of hard work to get through it, but it was time well spent.
Kill Bin Laden is a rare look into the operations of Delta Force.
Most people know they are out there, but few people know much more than the fact that they are elite commandos. They show up in odd times, odd places, and they often don't look like soldiers at all.
Not much has ever been written about them, and when they appear in movies, such as "Black Hawk Down" and "13 Hours in Benghazi" it's always in a peripheral context.
Dalton Fury was a Delta Force officer, and while his book has been vetted to preserve the security of the organization, it's fascinating. Delta is nothing like the regular military, which is probably why it's so effective at what it does and so disliked by politicians who know nothing about it.
The book covers the early stages of the war in Afghanistan. It's well worth reading, despite the fact that it's quite dated now. Still, the war has been going on there since 2001, so a lot of good material is not "current."
Into the Fire is the story of a U.S. Marine and how he won the Medal of Honor in Afghanistan.
It's also an expose of what happens when battlefield decisions are made by lawyers in oak paneled offices , 3000 miles away from the fighting.
I saw the results of this kind of thing in Lebanon, and I was sympathetic to the authors view from the start.
The further the decision makers are from the fight, the less realistic their view of the battle. When you mix civilians in, the whole thing breaks down. Then you get situations where our own troops, in need of support, don't get it because we might inadvertently kill "civilians" even if those civilians are firing away at our people at the same moment.
It's a quick read, and veterans will recognize the atmosphere right off. Some things don't change, regardless of the time and place. I imagine a Roman Centurion would recognize some of the facets of military life that so infuriated Meyer. It's an old book. I found it on the back shelf of the library, where library books go to die before they are sold off at a quarter apiece.
The New X-Files
I have always been an X- Files fan. Last year the first season of the new series came out, and I thought it was alright. I like the fact that they brought all the old characters back, even if the plot was a little too complex for me. The new season is going now, the second show was this past Wednesday. Fortunately, the power stayed on, and my daughter didn't call in the middle of the show, so I got to watch it all. Not bad. You have to rest your eyes sometime, and this was an easy way to do it.
The Branco Cartoons I missed :
A little music:
The Spring 2018 issue is out. My hand held GPS has given up the ghost, so I was interested in the article on new versions. Not a lot in the rest of this issue that was particularly useful to me, but I keep them all. The hard copies go into the "professional library" which used to be all military books and is now comprised of books that would be useful in the event of some unpleasant event that caused disruption.
New Sportsman's Guide Catalog:
As always, some good things. I ordered a few little items, mainly to keep on their mailing list. I don't buy as much from this outfit since they raised the club membership to $40.00.