- Focus On
- Why We Served: Part Two
- In February of 2012 I wrote a piece for Command Posts entitled “Why We Served”. It appeared just prior to the publication of my book Blackhorse Riders: A Desperate Last Stand, an Extraordinary Rescue Mission, and the Vietnam Battle America Forgot, from St. Martin’s Press. My next book, Fire Base Illingworth, an Epic True Story [...] [More...]
- Confront and Conceal
- Chapter 5 The Long Game: Getting Out, Without Really Leaving IN NOVEMBER OF 2010, THE MONTH BEFORE HE DIED, RICHARD Holbrooke put the final touches on a plan for negotiating an exit strategy for a war that had already cost nearly fifteen hundred American lives and nearly $400 billion, and that still had no end [...] [More...]
- Focus On
- Six Things You May Not Have Known about Nazis in America
- In the 1930s and 1940s (and beyond) fascism and Nazi loyalty was as American as a proverbial apple pie. Never mind Hitler and his Third Reich were held in political and moral disdain by the Roosevelt administration. There was a substantial counter culture of loyalists to Hitler and his throughout the United States during Depression [...] [More...]
- A Brief Discussion on the History of England with Peter Ackroyd
- PETER ACKROYD is an award-winning novelist, a broadcaster, biographer, poet, and historian. He is the author of Foundation, the first in his series on the history of England, as well as the forthcoming second book in the series, Tudors, available October 8th. Michael Hoak: The history of England is full of watershed moments and events [...] [More...]
- Focus On
- An Announcement: Command Posts Is Expanding!
- As we announced in August, Command Posts is currently going through a transition. I have taken over as Editor-in-Chief of Command Posts. As a huge history buff , I’m very excited by the opportunity to oversee this expansion of Command Posts. We’ll continue providing original articles on military history as well as expanding to encompass [...] [More...]
- Focus On
- The Ghosts of Bungo Suido
- Luzon Strait, October 1944 “Make your depth three hundred feet.” The two planesmen turned their brass wheels together but in opposite directions. “Make my depth three hundred feet, aye, sir,” said the diving officer. Gar Hammond felt the deck tipping down smoothly, but his attention remained on those screwbeats echoing audibly right through the hull as the Jap destroyer kept coming. Steady course and speed. No acceleration. Even better, he wasn’t echo ranging. [More...]
- Focus On
- 50 Years Later, Images from the March on Washington
- On August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans descended on Washington, D.C. to participate in what would become a watershed moment of the Civil Rights Movement. Legendary photographer Stanley Tretick was there with his camera to capture the crowds, the singers, and the speakers who would come to define the movement. [More...]
- Focus On: WWII
- Audie Murphy: “I will learn to work in peace as in war. . . . I will learn to live again.”
Like a horror film run backwards, images of the war flicker through my brain. The tank in the snow with smoldering bodies on top. The smell of burning flesh. Of rotting flesh too. Novak rotting in a grave on Anzio. Horse-Face. Knowed an old girl once. The girl, red-eyed and shivering, in the Naples dawn. And Kerrigan. Kerrigan shuffling cards with half a hand. He was far luckier than Antonio. Yes, Antonio, trying to stand on the stumps of his legs with the machine gun ripping his body. And Brandon dead under the cork tree. Deer daddy, I'm in school. “I’ll never enter another schoolroom," says Elleridge.
He was right. It is as though a fire had roared through this human house, leaving only the charred hulk of something that once was green.
Within a couple of hours, I have had enough. I return to my room. But I cannot sleep. My mind still whirls. When I was a child, I was told that men were branded by war. Has the brand been put on me? Have the years of blood and ruin stripped me of all decency? Of all belief?
Not of all belief. I believe in the force of a hand grenade, the power of artillery, the accuracy of a Garand. I believe in hitting before you get hit, and that dead men do not look noble.
But I also believe in men like Brandon and Novak and Swope and Kerrigan; and all the men who stood up against the enemy, taking their beatings without whimper and their triumphs without boasting. The men who went and would go again to hell and back to preserve what our country thinks right and decent.[More...]
- Focus On: Intel
- Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change
America's long "regime change" century dawned in 1893 with the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. This was a tentative, awkward piece of work, a cultural tragedy staged as comic opera. It was not a military operation, but without the landing of American troops, it probably would not have succeeded. The president of the United States approved of it, but soon after it happened, a new president took office and denounced it. Americans were already divided over whether it is a good idea to depose foreign regimes.
The overthrow of Hawaii's queen reignited a political debate that had first flared during the Mexican War half a century before. That debate, which in essence is about what role the United States should play in the world, rages to this day. It burst back onto the front pages after the invasion of Iraq.[More...]
- Focus On: Fiction Fridays
- The Eleventh Commandment
Connor Fitzgerald has an impressive resume. Military hero. Devoted family man. Servant of his country—as an assassin. Just as he’s about to put his twenty-eight-year career at the CIA behind him, he comes up against the most dangerous enemy he’s ever faced: His own boss, Helen Dexter.
As Director of the CIA, Dexter has always been the one to hold the strings. But when her status is threatened by a greater power, her only hope for survival is to destroy Fitzgerald. Meanwhile, the country braces itself as tensions with a new Russian leader reach the boiling point…and it’s up to Fitzgerald to pull off his most daring mission yet: To save the world. Even if that means risking everything—including his own life—in the process.[More...]
- Focus On: Middle East
- Operatian Kadesh: The Suez Canal Fiasco
Gamal Abdel Nasser, the president of Egypt, sought to become the leader of the Arab world by maintaining constant pressure on Israel and defying the once-great colonial powers Great Britain and France. Nasser sponsored fedayeen terrorist attacks against Israel, closed the Red Sea's narrow Straits of Tiran, and effected a military alliance with Syria. His military movements were buttressed by massive infusion of Soviet aid, principally heavy weapons. In 1955 Egypt received 200 armored troop carriers, 100 self-propelled guns, 230 tanks, 200 warplanes, 500 artillery pieces, and a miniature navy of destroyers, submarines, and patrol boats. Soviet technicians began training the Egyptians in the use of the equipment in what was the first extensive Soviet foothold in the Middle East. For Moscow it was a dream come true: a position in the Mediterranean.
The newfound strength and the promise implicit in the Soviet ally gave Nasser courage. When the United States reneged on its promise to fund the Aswan Dam, he announced on July 26, 1956, the nationalization of the Suez Canal and the abrogation of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty.
The blow to Anglo-French prestige was insufferable, and a decision was made to retake the canal by a military operation. Britain and France were aware that Israel had been forced into planning a preemptive attack on Egypt. In response, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan formed a joint military command to fight Israel.
It must be made plain that Israel was not an innocent bystander in the world of politics. Israeli agents had bombed both U.S. and British installations in Egypt as a part of plot to tarnish Nasser's image.
The Israeli leadership decided in July 1956 that war was inevitable and that they would launch it sometime that year." France and Great Britain secretly invited Israel to cooperate in a joint operation. To Israel, isolated so long and surrounded by hostile forces, the invitation was truly as manna in the desert.[More...]
- Focus On
- July 22, 2003: Finding Uday and Qusay Hussein
Forgotten amidst the debates surrounding the planning and execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom is the reality that the war was initiated with the strategic objective of removing Saddam Hussein from power.
Also forgotten in the retrospectives of the war is how vital the fate of Saddam’s sons—Uday and Qusay—was considered to be to U.S. strategic success. When President George Bush announced his final ultimatum on March 17, 2003, the only condition under which Saddam could avoid war was that he and his sons leave Iraq within 48 hours.
Qusay, although the younger brother, ran Saddam’s Special Republican Guard and Iraq’s intelligence agencies, and was considered the dictator’s heir apparent. Uday oversaw other Ba’athist security and communications entities, and was known for his exceptional brutality, even by Saddam’s standards.[More...]