Sunday, October 19, 2014

The River War, an Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan by Winston Churchill

A war, with little popular support, perpetrated by the strongest military force on earth, utilizing indigenous troops, for the purpose of liberating an Arab country from radical Islamists sounds like current events.  And certainly it is, but it is also old news.  Sudan (spelled ‘Soudan’ in this text) languished under the heel of the self-proclaimed Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad.  Even the false prophet’s sudden death did not spare the long suffering land from abuse at the hands of greedy, brutal, slave trading emirs.  After years of hand wringing Britain could no longer stand idly on the Egyptian border.  Their solution has become a familiar tactic: send a small expeditionary force, recruit local battalions, deploy state of the art weaponry, and then they did something unique to the late nineteenth century—they built a railroad.  In northern Sudan the Nile makes a tremendous loop adding hundreds of miles to it course, and river traffic is further delayed by a series of cataracts, so Sir H. Kitchener, moved his troops and matériel twenty miles per day on newly laid tracks, in a direct line across the desert, while the Kalipha and his emirs watched their doom approach from behind the walls of Omdurman.  The allied combatants consisted of Egyptian and Sudanese infantry, cavalry and camelry (yes, there is such a word even if Microsoft disagrees).  One member of the British cavalry was a young subaltern named Winston Spencer Churchill who participated in a sabre charge against Sudanese Dervishes and survived to become the leader of a nuclear power.

The River War, an Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan, is an extraordinary period piece and a lesson that generation after generation of world leaders cannot learn.  When radical Islam becomes entrenched, it must be annihilated.  Wherever Islam is unchecked will be terrorism, slavery, imperialism and brutal misogyny.  Copyrighted in 1902, Churchill was only four years beyond his participation in this rather sanguine conflict, thus his meticulous detail and transporting description draws the reader into this fight on the Nile.  This remarkable book can be found in all electronic formats, absolutely free, at the Gutenberg Project.  Of course, donations are appreciated.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Limelight Literature

 LE Fitzpatrick, a blogger from Wales, was kind enough to give Face of the Angel shot in the arm today by publishing a character interview with the much misunderstood Doctor Josef Mengele.

Limelight Literature features unique content from self-published authors.  Check it out.

See what the good doctor had to say then scroll down and see who else Lynzie Fitzpatrick is featuring.

Doctor Josef Mengele, medical researcher, surgeon, anthropologist, geneticist and Auschwitz Angel of Death, hid in plain sight for forty years while dozens of professional Nazi hunters blundered around the world trying to capture him. Face of the Angel tells how an educated man of wit, charm and mayhem languished for decades in fear, loneliness and delusion in South America while his pursuers invented preposterous tales about him.

Only $2.99

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Monday, October 6, 2014

13 Hours in Benghazi

Since the embassy is in Tripoli, the United States Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi did not fall under the guidelines of the State Department’s standards for embassy security; therefore, the niceties of bulletproof glass and secure air supply went overlooked in the main residential villa used by Ambassador Chris Stevens during his stay in Libya’s second city.  That was the first blunder.  The second was keeping the American security contractors at a second compound, known as the Annex and controlled by the CIA, ten minutes distant.  Probably the most fatal security breach was employing Libyans as guards.  Most sentient persons know of the storming of the diplomatic compound and the killing of Ambassador Stevens, and three other Americans, on September 11, 2012, but the truthful details of what happened are less clear.  While six heavily armed, expertly trained and highly motivated American security men chafed under the temporizing yoke of the mysterious CIA operative, “Bob,” Islamic terrorists had free range to set alight the Ambassador’s villa with himself and communications officer, Sean Smith, trapped inside the “safe haven.”

13 Hours in Benghazi lifts the cloud of political obfuscation from the facts of this American tragedy.  Mr. Zuckoff’s collaboration with five of the surviving security contractors is an even handed, if gritty, depiction of that catastrophic night in Benghazi.  Failing to do the right things, from the President to the Secretary of State to the embassy staff in Tripoli to the CIA head of station, Benghazi, is a national disgrace.  Furthermore, the still ongoing denials and cover-ups by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and their spokespersons, is nothing less than calling five American heroes liars and denigrating the memory of the four deceased.

This should be required reading for all Americans.  The story is told through the various viewpoints of the participants.  It is concise and well paced.  Sadly, the prose is, shall I say pedestrian—no, I should say atrocious.  One has the sense that a race to market took precedence over good writing.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Will there be Life After Obama?

On September 10, 2014, the president of the United States wasted twenty-one hundred perfectly good words to tell the world that he is not going to do anything new about the Islamic terrorist group, ISIL.  This same president who was perfectly willing to tell the Taliban to lay low until 2015, was unable to say specifically what he is going to do to prevent these Muslim miscreants from establishing a Sharia state from Iran to the Mediterranean.  We will make air strikes, he says.  Well, we are already making air strikes.  We will get somebody else to do the dirty work on the ground.  We are already browbeating the Iraqis and the Kurds to do the dirty work.  We will give them support and training.  Really?  Like what?  How much and when?

Could ever a speech have been less thinly veiled political hogwash?  The gist of the plan is to do nothing to alarm the electorate before Tuesday, November 4.  This twinkle toes commander-in-chief sees votes in the Senate as more urgent than annihilating an ascendant army of rabid jihadists, who may very well succeed in their goal before the 2016 elections, which is the soonest we can hope—and only hope—for a viable leader.

In deconstructing what he said and did not say, permit me to start with the phrase: “...drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year.”  Our combat mission will certainly not end on December 31, 2014.  Obama is simply pulling the plug and thus negating the unfinished work of twelve years of painful warfare.  A BBC correspondent recently interviewed a band Taliban fighters who candidly admitted that they were interested in joining ISIL.  Who is going to prevent them?  The Afghans can’t even count their ballots.  No one has pacified Afghanistan since Alexander the Great.  The British couldn’t do it, the Russians couldn’t do, and now, we are going to simply say, after more than three-thousand deaths and close to twenty-thousand wounded, that it is just too hard.

Consider Obama’s observation: “...small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm.”  This is especially true when they have U.S. tanks and machineguns that they wrested from an impotent Iraqi army.  Reportedly ISIL took Mosul, Iraq's second city, with one-hundred and fifty men.  Then we were told,  “At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa...”  Although this may have seemed to be the ‘Duh! Moment,’ it gives no weight to Muslim depredations in South Asia and the Philippines.  I guess the fact that Indonesia is the most populous Muslim state should be overlooked because of Obama’s fond memories of boyhood there.

By far the most enlightening thing that he said was: “Now let’s make two things clear:”  What he proceeded to make clear is that he takes us for fools.  The two clarifications he made are: “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’” and, “ISIL is certainly not a state.”  So does he think they might be Jews on holiday?  That our president is a Muslim apologist is a national embarrassment, but it is not half as demeaning to our country as him standing in front of the world making such a ridiculous statement.  If they are indeed not a state and no one recognizes them, how does Obama account for the territory they control, the taxes they collect and the nine-thousand barrels of oil that the BBC claims they export every day?  Those who are buying that oil recognize them as something.  Obama’s justification for denying the Islamic heart of ISIL, “No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.” not only indicates that Barry Soetoro did not pay attention when he attended Islamic school in Indonesia, but the second half of the sentence even denigrates the value of the life of a Muslim.  Is he saying that we shouldn’t worry about ISIL because they mainly kill Muslims?  Perhaps we should give arms to ISIL.

“And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”  Again the President of the United States showed his ignorance.  ISIL—formerly ISIS, the ‘IL’ indicates growing designs on the Levant—has a clearly stated goal of establishing a caliphate in the territories of Iraq and Syria.  Still he wouldn’t stop.  “...these terrorists are unique in their brutality.  They execute captured prisoners.  They kill children.  They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage.”  Barack, this is what the Koran tells Muslims to do.  You really were asleep back at the madrasa, weren’t you?  Furthermore, if you believe atrocities are unique to ISIL, try to remember who beheaded Daniel Pearl, and who dragged the defiled body of Ambassador Stevens through the streets of Benghazi, and who beheaded eight Afghan police officers last spring.  Evidently ISIL really gets around.

“...these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.”  Gee, do you really think so?  Not only is it their mandate, they have financial motivation.  “Jihad is one of the meritorious acts in the eye of Islam and it is the best source of earnings.” (Mishkat al-Masabih, Sunni holy book).  “Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem.” (Koran, Surah 9:5)  As for the tepid ‘could try to return,’ I’d like to remind everyone that the United States can’t keep little kids from crossing the border, and these homegrown jihadi jackasses have U.S. passports.

The great Bush basher missed an opportunity when he said, “...we cannot do for the Iraqis what they must do for themselves...”  If I recall correctly, we put Iraq into its present condition and it was Obama’s arch fiend, George Bush who instigated it.  Then blithely skipping alone the revisionist trail he claims, “...we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”  This will no doubt will occur the same way we destroyed the Taliban and al-Qaida.  Let us not forget that al-Qaida, which is very much alive, spawned ISIL.

I was particularly moved by: "This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”  That is unless you happen to be Edward Snowden or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to beheading Daniel Pearl and is still comfortably ensconced at Guantanamo Bay awaiting prosecution which is not likely to come on Obama’s watch.

Our beloved president herein indulged in much self-congratulation.  ”I deployed several hundred American service members to Iraq...”  Well, it was two-hundred and seventy-five.  In fact, the last five-hundred words had little to do with ISIL and were heavily slathered with self-love.  “I will chair a meeting of the UN...”; “My administration has also secured bipartisan support...”; “I have the authority...”; “I welcome congressional support...”; “I outlined earlier this year...”; “I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different...”  Why didn’t he make this speech at the Reflecting Pool so he could have made his exit by walking across it?

Backtracking slightly, we also had to endure this: “This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for the own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.”  A few sentences later he said, “Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world.”  I hope Ukraine got a copy of this.

Let us hope that the Kurds and the Iraqis weren’t listening when he said, “This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.”  It would have been more succinct to say, “We’ll throw you to the wolves while we buzz around at thirty-thousand feet.”  Using the word ‘successful’ in the same sentence with Yemen and Somalia simply defies belief.

In the subsequent “How great I am” section he tells us, “...America is better positioned to seize the future than any other country on Earth.”  Well, maybe, but we certainly aren’t seizing much of anything.  Who do we pay to carry astronauts to the Space Station?  Then, “Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades.”  It is?  Even if it might be, that doesn’t mean we will ever achieve it.  God forbid we should drill a hole or build a pipeline.

I choked when he had the gall to say, “It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny.”  So, Poroshenko old man, how is the rally working for you?  Right after that we had to listen to: “It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons.”  Unfortunately it was Putin who floated the idea, the program is woefully behind schedule and that little word ‘declared’ wafts the scent of chlorine across the Syrian sky.

By far the most depressing sentence in the fourteen minute, thirty second stammer session was, “And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.”  When he says ‘around the world’ does he mean Dearborn?  And what’s that ‘opportunity?’  EBT cards?  This is referring to Obama’s personal pro-Islamic agenda, not anything the American people are clamoring to do.

There is no doubt in my mind that ISIL will thrive and entrench themselves until at least 2016, at which time, if we know what is good for us, we could conceivably elect a real president. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Final Victory

Wade Brogan, Jr., hard-bitten San Francisco detective, suspects that dementia is the source of his failing father’s fanciful tales about his career in the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps during the development of the atom bomb.  Then a Russian derelict, well-padded with years, is found dead in a Tenderloin flophouse.  His room is stacked with shoeboxes full of yellowed documents, many of which bear the fading red stamp, “Top Secret.”  The shroud of skepticism drops from his father’s ramblings about his mother having been a Soviet spy.  Over an evening of beers he shares with his fellow cops the story of how the Japanese and the Russians nearly vaporized the City by the Bay but for the frantic scrambling of Wade Brogan, Sr.

It is a little known fact that the Manhattan Project assembled four nuclear weapons before the end of the Second World War.  One, of course, was tested at Trinity Site, New Mexico, and one each were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as we all know.  The last was held in secrecy for use in the event that Japan did not unconditionally surrender.  Phillip Bosshardt postulates how close to catastrophe we might have come if the Russians and the Japanese had cooperated on information gleaned from the sieve-like security surrounding America’s mad dash to perfect an atom bomb.  This epic length saga tells a chilling tale that rings true at each convolution of plot.  The historical backdrop is expertly woven, the characters fully developed and the pace nearly perfect.  All fans of historical fiction and alternative history are going to love Final Victory. 

251,570 Words (A long one!) 

Price $4.99

I didn't find it at Amazon.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The White Prisoner

Galabin Boevski was too small and not well enough connected for acceptance on the football team at Plaven’s sport school so he opted to try weightlifting.  It was a propitious decision.  He proceeded to set records, earn prizes, wealth and win medals—including Olympic Gold.  Officials both rightly and wrongly accused him of doping, coaches and authorities stabbed him in the back, and when he made the foolish mistake of buying new luggage in São Paulo, he was busted with nine kilos of coke surreptitiously sewn into the lining of the suitcase.  Hefting the bulk of a weightlifter then kept him alive for two years in a Brazilian prison.

The world of Bulgarian weightlifting is certainly an esoteric topic and not one I had given much thought, but sports writer, Ognian Georgiev’s journalistic style lends this story—which is based on fact—a kind of urgency that keeps the pages turning.  Boevski’s rise from obscurity, his financial and professional insecurity; physical setbacks, and ultimately, legal struggles, present a compelling story that could unfold anywhere in any sport.  This book has the earmarks of the Louis Zamperini story, Unbroken.  Whether you are a sports enthusiast or not, this is a great read.  
Price $3.99
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Dalliance Back into the Mainstream

When art dealer, Julian Isherwood, is duped into discovering the tortured body of a spy turned dirty art dealer, Gabriel Allon is strong-armed into investigating by the director of the Italian Art Squad.  Once again Gabriel has to suspend the restoration of a famous alter piece, and abandon his pregnant wife in Venice, to go into the field.  The investigation segues into a quest for a Caravaggio that has been missing for decades and the trail leads to the civil war raging on Israel’s northern border with a chance to deprive the Syrian president of his looted assets.

All of Daniel Silva’s tales involve intricate, twisted plots, but The Heist may well be the most convoluted to date.  The impetus of the story changes directions so many times it leaves the reader with vertigo and throughout is woven the subplot of Gabriel Allon’s pending ascension to the directorship of the Israeli Intelligence Service.  As always The Heist is filled with Allon’s dry wit and his tortured past.  I promise that if you weren’t a follower of Gabriel Allon, after you read The Heist, you will return to read the previous thirteen installments in the series.

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I'm afraid you won't find this one at Smashwords.