Japan's Stealth Fighter

The Japanese Defense Force unveiled its new 5th Generation fighter (aka 'Stealth Fighter') the other day. The implications for China are obvious, but imagine Japan competing with the U.S., Europe, and Russia for fighter contracts (and more?) in the next decade . . .

Neither snow . . .

East Coast Blizzard, Arlington Cemetery, Tomb of  Unknown Soldier.

The Saudi-Iran yin and yang


Saudi Arabia hates Iran more than it hates ISIS. The conventional wisdom is that ISIS is a radical Sunni group that is being funded by Sunnis in the gulf and opposed by Iran. But Iran is the arsonist and the fire brigade. Iran’s support for Assad and the [Nouri al-]Maliki government in Iraq led to many Sunnis supporting ISIS. It will have to be Sunnis who put out the ISIS fire.

Karim Sadjadpour, in an interview with Slate magazine, available here. Among other things, he highlights the interplay of sectarian and geo-political conflicts in the Middle East.

Two Super Bowl victories, Hall of Fame career - thank you, Coach.

The year that was

Looking back over 2015, I’m amazed at all that’s happened for me personally. It began with the wide release of the movie version of American Sniper, which was a bigger hit than anyone could have wished for. Code Name Johnny Walker came out in paperback in February; in May, Taya Kyle’s dramatic telling of her story, American Wife, was released to wide acclaim. In the fall, Afro Samurai II, a video game I’d worked on, debuted – far earlier and much rockier than we’d wanted, but that’s the way things go.

Throughout the year, I had the privilege of meeting many readers and fans; I’ll always be grateful for their support and well wishes. I’m especially proud that I was able to help at a number of fund raisers this year, for libraries and veterans’ groups, among others. I also had the honor of speaking at the War College in Pennsylvania, and addressing a conference of people who work in our nation’s intelligence communities. There were trips to Texas, LA, and many points in between.

As the year comes to a close, I’m thinking of the many projects that have not yet come to fruition. A few will become a reality in 2016 – a new series with Dale Brown, a memoir detailing the incredible story of Ivan Castro, a blind Green Beret who triumphed over his disabilities by running marathons and going to the South Pole. Many more books, movies, and even a video game or two are in the wings.

I thank everyone for their help, encouragement, and criticism. Thank you for making my journey special, and may yours be twice as good.

On ISIS . . .

While Ramadi has been retaken in Iraq, in no sense has ISIS been fully defeated. That war will continue at least through 2016, and very likely beyond.


This story in the Atlantic ran back in March and is a bit dated, but what it says about the religious "thinking" behind ISIS remains relevant. Especially:

. .  .much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.
That's a recipe not only for fanaticism, but persistence.

Some caveats about the article: They ARE psychopaths, and the territorial gains were only possible because of the specific political conditions in both Syria and Iraq. Nor should "mere" political power be underestimated as a motivator.

And contrary to the article's conclusion, direct, violent, consistent confrontation is the only way to deal with the movement. Unfortunately, it's likely that, once ISIS is defeated, other somewhat similar "movements" will spring up until Islam's civil war runs its course.

One of the biggest problems in understanding what's going on is our understanding of our own history. We've been taught to think of war in terms of the 20th century Western wares, World War II especially. Even Vietnam does not supply the kind of metaphors or framework that truly apply here. And thinking long term while fighting short term is not something most humans are good at.

One of 2015's best . . .

Audible loves the audio edition of American Wife, which not coincidentally, was read by Taya herself.

We're on this page with nonfiction . . .

Thank you, everyone!
Check out Boone

I was on Tipping Point with Boone Cutler recently. Boone's radio and podcast is pretty unique; I can't think another that does so much for military members and their families, present and former.

You can check our interview out here.