Technical prblems

Having some difficulties blogging from the road as we tour NASA. I'll be Tweeting when practical, and will give a full report later on.

In the meantime, check out my buddy Dom Misino Thursday night at 10 (EST) on Investigation Discovery, talking about do-or-die hostage negotiating.
Will I survive?

Heading to the D.C. area on a train today with the Guru and Lawless.

You know somebody's gonna be packin' on that trip.

Q: Do I qualify as the sane one in that group?
A: Only by comparison.

Me: Finished cutting wood for today.
Her: What happened to your pants? The knee is totally ripped out?
Me: Got cut up.
Her: From the saw?
Me: Nah. There'd be a lot more damage if it was my saw.
Her: That's reassuring.
If Iran's nuke dreams are blocked . . .

. . .  what then?

A sobering look at what else might happen:

Persian Incursion

My friend Larry Bond's board* game simulating a war between Israel and Iran has been getting a lot of interest lately because of actual political events. NPR recently reviewed it very favorably:

I think one of the unique things about - aside from its incredible detail and accuracy - is the combination of military and political factors. This is one game you don't win merely by bombing the hell out of the other side.

Which makes it a lot like real life, certainly in the Middle East.

(You can get the game at Clash of Arms, here.)

* - and don't forget Chris Carlson. And Jeff Dougherty.
Another forgotten general . . .

Neil McCabe, the editor at Guns & Patriots, points out a book on another "forgotten" general, Curtis LeMay, who played an important role in WWII. LeMay fell out of favor, I think, because of Vietnam, but in many ways he was the father of strategic bombing, and an important figure in the history of air power.

Regnery has a whole series of "thankful for books" on their YouTube channel.
Europe's self-destruction

Watching the Eurozone self-destruct over the past two years or so has been interesting in the same way watching a train wreck is interesting. The wounds are all self-inflicted; the only question is whether they were inevitable.

One thing that seems amazing, given the continent's history, is that the turmoil has not led to serious geopolitical antagonisms -- Greeks (and others) may be angry at Germans, but there's no talk of war or anything remotely approaching that.

There are lessons for the U.S. in the Euro's demise, but they're not the lessons that many people seem to be talking about. And it really must be said, that comparing government's role in running an economy to the way a household or even a business must act is far less than helpful.

And I won't even comment on the politics.

No matter what happens in Europe, we'll be affected by it. Hopefully, there are some other silver linings that aren't obvious at the moment.

The Tornado

I spent a lot of time today watching video of the Tornado, the variable-swept wing attack and interdiction aircraft fielded by Britain, Germany and Italy in late Cold War period.

The plane has a brief cameo in the installment of Dreamland Whiplash I'm working on. I had to refresh my memory - or at least that was my excuse for watching airplane porn all day - since the last time I'd thought about the plane was several years ago in connection with the First Gulf War.

That war, unfortunately, proved that the concept of high-speed, low-altitude attack had been somewhat flawed.  The early Tornado missions suffered high casualty rates, despite the brave and expert crews who manned the planes, and the aircraft's performance, which as far as I know was never faulted. The problem is, a lot of dumb defenses around an important target can defeat anything flying low enough, even if it passes in the blink of an eye.

Fortunately, technology in other areas made the low level attack concept - at least for the high-value targets the Tornado was designed to deal with - obsolete.

I've always thought of the Tornado in roughly the same category as the F-111, which was a bit ahead of it development wise. They had similar missions (at least originally), and of course there were those moving wings. But the Tomcat was probably the real classmate, so to speak, even though the aircraft diverged in significant ways.
What I'm reading . . .

Pearl Harbor, by Steven M. Gillon.

While there have been many accounts of Pearl Harbor and the start of America's participation in WWII - Prang's book* remains one of my all-time favorite reads, period - surprisingly few have taken us to the White House and showed what happened behind the scenes on that fateful day.

Historian Steven M. Gillon's new book, which came out in October from Basic Books, does just that. It gives some insight not only into the start of the war but Roosevelt and America in general.

A quick, brisk read, it's aimed primarily at a general audience, but specialists and buffs who want to get a quick perspective or refresher on FDR and the day won't be disappointed either.

Among many other things, Gillion quickly dispenses with the notion - bizarre to anyone who knows anything at all about Roosevelt - that the President knew Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked. At the same time, he shows that FDR and the military knew something was going to happen. The real failure was one of imagination - too many people simply didn't think an attack on Pearl Harbor was possible.

Unfortunately, history shows such failures are endemic and enduring.
Everyone wants to blow up . . .

. . . their hometown.

Or so it would seem.

Working on Ace Combat Assault Horizon, the team was extremely cautious about attacks in "real" cities. In the most obvious example, action in New York was completely ruled out because of sensitivity to 9/11.

But now that the game is out and popular, there are posters in the Tokyo subways celebrating . . . the online version where you can protect Tokyo . . . or blow it up.

And everyone wants one.

While we're on the subject, here's a page with the crew that recorded the jet, helicopter, et al sounds, and some of the great American servicepeople who helped. (The words are Japanese, but the pictures are cool. The words say pretty much what you'd expect them to.)

I am kind of wondering what they thought of the B-29, but I haven't had a chance to ask.

Headline in today's NY Times:

The Deficit Deal That Wasn’t: Hopes Are Dashed

What hopes are they referring to? I don't know one person who thought they would actually make a deal, and I can't recall even a single airhead pundit thinking it would work out.

I guess, "Deal we thought would tank from day one tanks as predicted" wouldn't fit in the headline space.

Shamelessly shameless (self?)-promotion

Is it not "self" if there are a lot of others involved?

At least I can safely say I'm shameless...
Writing documents

A letter from a (very young) reader. Kids? Reading? There's hope for us all . . .
Where we're at today . . .

A-10Cs in the next Dreamland plus 1 (Does that make sense? It's the one coming out next year...)
When is a central bank not . . .

. . . a central bank?

When it's in the Euro Zone. One reason the Euro is toast:

I'm not actually convinced from reading the story that the bank president, let alone the reporter, know what the function of central banks historically has been. The story is set up in a way that completely demeans it and inherently criticizes it.

(Even Wikipedia gets the historical function of a central bank more or less right. See here for definitions: )

I suspect that the reporter thinks that Ireland's problems were caused by profligate spending, and the Italy was running a huge budget deficit before its current troubles - both common beliefs, apparently, and both false. As the guy who taught my auto mechanics class used to say, ya gotta know the problem before ya can fix it.
Speaking of which . . .

You can get it here, at B&N, among other places.

China lake . . .

Most Americans probably missed the news stories the other day about the U.S. and Australia firming up military ties. And in fact, it really isn't much news that America and Australia have a military alliance; Aussies and Yanks have been fighting and training shoulder to shoulder for quite a while.

But the announcement itself was significant, even beyond the details, because it's part of a counter to China's increasing development of a blue-water navy, and its continued assertion that the South China Sea is, bascially, a Chinese lake.

Those developments are behind (and embedded in) the plot of the Red Dragon Rising series. (Plug alert: book two just came out in paperback; book three is out in January.) But one of the best general discussions I've seen of the real issues involved were in this SRATFOR video, here:

You may not agree with any of the speakers, but they're worth listening to.
Writing documents

Rough outline for vid script (book trailer for The Helios Conspiracy, due out in February 2012).
Writing documents

Notes on illustrations and other things for the enhanced ebook of American Sniper.

Don't mess with my tacos


But isn't the strangest thing about this the fact that it led the local news?

Trending upwards . . .

I'm told the ebook version of Black Wolf, the next installment of Dreamland Whiplash, has been pushing its way up toward the top-100... which is kind of cool, since you actually can't get it for another two weeks. (It was number 85 in contemporary fiction this morning.)

The ebook is cheaper than the paperback, which I guess makes sense. But even though I have a Kindle, for some reason I find myself reading "real" books more and more.... slipping further and further behind the times, I guess.

(You can get the ebook here. Now that I've linked to it, sales will no doubt sink... And yes, the wrong cover was up there earlier. My bad...)
Writing documents

Pronunciation notes for the audio edition of American Sniper. (The voice actor is outstanding.)
 How good was Bradley (take 2)?

One of the questions that I keep getting asked about Omar Bradley is: How good a general was he really?
I keep struggling to answer the question not because I don’t think he was an excellent general – he certainly was – but because it’s so hard to put the answer into context.

The truth is, what we require of a general changes greatly depending on the general’s role. Bradley was a peacetime division commander, an army corps commander, an army commander, and finally an army group commander. Each of those jobs is more than a little different.

In terms of training up a division, he had an excellent record, attested to not only by the assignments he was given but by the success of his divisions, most notably the 82nd Infantry, which was considered highly rated enough to be formed into the elite airborne division. (Obviously, the credit for the division’s achievements go to the cadre of officers and men who took it from an infantry unit to the elite 82nd Airborne we know of today.) Bradley’s role in reshaping the 28th Infantry – a National Guard unit that was in terrible shape just before the war – is often overlooked. (I’m guilty of that to some extent myself, giving it pretty short shrift in the biography. The 28th, incidentally, got badly mauled in Huertgen, and ended up being shifted into a quiet sector for rest – putting it right in the way of the German advance in what became the Battle of the Bulge.)

His results stand in great contrast to Patton’s snarky remark about him having “failed to obtain discipline” at Benning, a line often taken out of context by historians who think that Bradley was some sort of milquetoast pushover who couldn’t organize a garden party. On the contrary, Bradley got results without terrorizing people or aggrandizing himself, something Patton never completely understood. (And in fairness to Patton, that remark was written in a fit of pique toward Bradley. His actual opinion of Bradley was much more complicated and generally complimentary.)

Bradley never led a division in combat, and while we have a lot of testimony about his abilities as a tactician, we really don’t know exactly how well he would have fared at that level. Extrapolating from the advice he appears to have been giving division commanders in Africa and Sicily (and to some extent later), it would appear that the accolades were warranted, but frankly there’s just not enough direct data there about what he said or did to decide whether he would have been X amount better (or worse) than anyone else.

As a corps commander in Africa and Sicily, his record is much clearer. (Corps commanders were responsible for two to three divisions during the war. They would generally determine tactics and troop dispositions in their sector, coordinating the divisions and – most importantly – the allocation of units that weren’t part of the division, say “extra” armor or artillery, etc. These attachments were actually a critical part of the war, something often overlooked by regular historians. Bradley’s flexibility, especially as an army commander, has gone largely unnoticed and uncredited; it’s a shame, because that flexibility was critical to winning the war.)

Bradley’s record as corps commander is fairly good, though on Sicily he’s severely handicapped by an overall plan (and a botched execution) that not only relegated his corps to a secondary position but quite honestly made little sense.

He was army and army group commander in northern Europe. Cobra, the breakout from the peninsula, was literally his plan; he single-handedly devised it. It stands as one of the great Allied operations of World War II. He also revised the Allied plan after the breakout, deciding to send Patton directly after the main German army rather than trying to secure Brest and ports on the Atlantic. That was another key decision in the campaign, one that results in the liberation of France and the destruction of much of the German army. (On the downside, it can also be argued that it contributes to the temporary stalemate at the frontier in late fall and early winter, until the Battle of the Bulge.)

But the real measure of an army and army group commander’s abilities isn’t so much the result of an individual battle but rather the outcome of the war he’s engaged in. You can say Robert E. Lee was a great general handicapped by a, b, and c, but at the end of the day the successful army commander was Grant. And to take Grant’s measure, you simply have to compare him to any of his predecessors.
Bradley, obviously, won the war. Anyone who thinks that was inevitable given the Allied advantages should look first at the results of the original plan for the breakout from Normandy, and then at Market Garden – two failures by any measure. (Both, not coincidentally, led by Montgomery, but that’s another topic.) Examine the campaign in Italy, and then comment on the inevitability of victory in France and Germany.

There’s an old saying to the effect that amateurs evaluating war (and generals) focus on tactics, while professionals focus on logistics and supply. But to really evaluate a modern army group commander, we have to focus on the achievements of his underlings – the army and corps commanders, the division leaders and finally the men themselves. Here Bradley’s record is truly remarkable.

Patton’s achievements in France under Bradley are in direct contrast with his conduct on Sicily under Alexander. Now we all know – because we’ve been told over and over – that Patton is a great general, so perhaps he would have achieved those things without Bradley. How then to account for 1st Army, whose leader never got anywhere near the accolades that Patton did?

But maybe the best argument for Bradley is actually on the German side of the war. A few minutes examining the relationship between Rommel and Rundstedt shows exactly how difficult the job is, and how easily – and fatally – a war can be lost by a failure of leadership at the highest levels.

So what does, finally, leadership at the highest level consist of?

The ability to bring out the best in others, whether they are geniuses or merely able. The ability to do it with a minimum of distraction, under fire, long enough to achieve a distant goal.

If that’s how you judge a general, I can’t think of anyone better than Omar Bradley.

Writing documents

Plot notes for the next Rogue Warrior: Blood Lies. (Probably out next summer or early fall.)

Relentlessly trying to kill . . .

. . .  the hands that feed it.

According to the Authors Guild, Amazon's "free" library feature violates every contract it had with publishers, essentially stealing from the writers. More information here.

The idea is to sell Kindle e-readers and Amazon Prime. Destroying the economics of competitors (aka, traditional publishers) - and writers - in the process is just a coincidence.

Writing documents

One of the drafts of American Sniper, Chris Kyle's story, to be published in the beginning of January, 2012.
Bradley's show

There were slides that went with the presentation airing on CSpan3 American History this weekend. I ditched them for that talk because I was afraid of technical glitches.

You can see them here, courtesy of YouTube; at some point I'll put words and images back together.

Speaking of that Marist presentation, I have to thank the college as well as CSpan for all their work and help. Marist was an extremely generous and welcoming host. The CSpan crew was professional, easy to work with, and I owe them all a few rounds of drinks.

Jim Johnson, who introduced me that night, is an historian and scholar who also served our country as an officer in the Army. A West Point grad, he was a knowledgeable, reassuring host, and I was grateful for his company that day. He heads the Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist, an important resource on history and the Valley in general. The website is at

I also have to thank Tim Massie for making the arrangements that brought CSpan to the Marist campus. People in the area as well as the national news media know Tim as the spokesperson for one of the best colleges in the Northeast. But he's a lot more than that, shepherding not only the college's image and outreach, but also looking after the students who take the courses he somehow manages to squeeze into his schedule each semester. (You can follow him on Twitter: @tcmassie)

Thanks also to the folks at Regnery for their help in this, especially publisher Alex Novak and publicist/media whiz Laura Bentz.

(You can catch the show Sunday, Nov. 13 at noon. It's online here: And no, I have no idea why I was moving around so much - all the doors were locked so I couldn't run off stage.)
Omar Bradley on C-Span

Actually, it's C-Span3 and it's not the General himself but me talking about the General.

The show airs on C-Span 3's American History channel at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, and again at noon Sunday, Nov. 13.

Hopefully, I didn't make too much of a fool of myself.

We remember

Iran and the bomb

From Global Security:

Iran says it "will not budge an iota" from its nuclear program, rejecting a United Nations report strongly suggesting Tehran is engaged in nuclear weapons development.
In a speech addressing thousands of people in the central city of Shahr-e Kord and broadcast live on state television on November 9, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad suggested that the UN's nuclear watchdog had discredited itself by siding with what he maintained were dubious U.S. claims that Iran was seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
"Why do you damage the agency's dignity because of America's empty claims?" he said. "It will be in your interest to be a friend of the Iranian nation. History has shown that Iran's enemies have not tasted glory and victory."
"We do not need an atomic bomb," Ahmadinejad added. "The Iranian nation is wise. It won't build two atomic bombs while you have 20,000 warheads. This nation will build something that you will not be able to match, and it will be morality."

(Article here; subscription based. But there are plenty of other sources.)

There are two choices:

1) Strike now, and gain anywhere from two to five years before Iran has a bomb (presumably using that time to strengthen anti-missile and detection technology), or . . .

2) Accept that Iran will have warheads, and learn to live with them.
Omar Bradley & Veterans Day

As the ground war in Europe was coming to a close, Omar Bradley tried to get a transfer over to the Pacific to take part in what at that point looked it was going to be a hell of a battle.

Douglas MacArthur made it clear he didn't want him - or Patton, for that matter.

Why? Basically because MacArthur didn't want anyone else stealing the glory.

Bradley seemed destined to take over Eisenhower's job - at least he seems to have thought that's where he was going - but instead, he got a call from President Harry Truman.

The Veterans Administration had been wracked by scandal, and though reforms were already underway, Truman needed someone of stature to make them stick - and, more importantly, to give the organization a much needed pr boost. Omar Bradley - who by the time had earned the nickname of "GI General" - was perfect.

Or so Truman thought. Bradley had other ideas. One was the fact that the job was an administrative position, and he didn't want it. Another was that it wasn't exactly a clear shot from there to head of the Army, which was the job he really wanted. Nor do I think it was lost on Bradley that the position was primarily a political one, and politics were not his long suit.

But Bradley was a soldier, and when your commander asks you to do something, you do it.

He did obtain a promise that the job wouldn't interfere with his future, and in fact Bradley did end up becoming head of the Army, and then the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff.

Truman's appointment actually worked out very well.  Given the huge number of returning veterans and the programs they were eligible for - VA loans, education, the hospitals - this was an incredibly important job at the time. The VA shaped up tremendously. It's not clear exactly how much credit should go to Bradley, who was there for less than two years, and came in after changes were already underway. But it is clear that he tackled the job with his usual efficiency, and he was certainly more than a figurehead.

He also did something that was fairly uncharacteristic, at least to that point - he started going around the country giving speeches to business groups, asking them to hire veterans for jobs.The pitch was usually along the lines of: These men survived battle; they can handle anything the business world throws at them.

Not a bad thought, actually. In fact, one that's still true today.
Speaking of American Sniper . . .

We have a really good voice actor for the audio version, John Pruden. You can hear some of his work at his website,

If you're into audio books, you're going to want to get his version of Sniper; it's sure to be a winner.

Goodnight . . . (??)

Coming this January . . . what war was really like.

You can pre-order on B&N here . . . it's already in the top 100 there, or at least was yesterday, when it was right under . . . Goodnight, Moon.

Somehow, that juxtaposition is just a little . . . troubling?

Can I get a 'duh' . . .

United Nations weapons inspectors have amassed a trove of new evidence that they say makes a “credible” case that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device,” and that the project may still be under way.
(Times story.) 

The only real question now: when will the attacks begin?

For @YankeesInk and everyone who doesn't believe in what Johnson said . . .
Some Bradley posts . . .

Besides the material on my web site, I've written a bunch of short blog entries on Omar Bradley.

Here are a few:

Oh yeah, I also wrote a book. To order it online, go to this page: and click on your favorite on-line retailer. You can also get a sample chapter there.

Telling the truth

. . . can get you fired, even when you're a two-star general.

To wit:
In an interview with Politico, Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, deputy commander of the American-led NATO effort to train and equip Afghan security forces, called key elements of the Afghan government “isolated from reality,” described Karzai as “erratic,” and said officials there “don’t understand the sacrifices that America is making to provide for their security.”

Whole story here. (Original remarks here in Politico - worth reading.) Nothing, but nothing, General Fuller said is off-base - if anything, he was being kind.

The Connie

The Constellation's lines have always seemed to me the sleekest expression of propeller-driven aerodynamics; the aircraft is more majestic than most of her contemporaries, single-engined fighters included.

BTW, one of the pilots on that first flight was Howard Hughes . . .
Amazon's lending library

The other day, Amazon started a new "library" feature as part of a plan to (supposedly) push sales of its Kindles.

The only problem is, authors aren't being paid for the books. (Publishers are, but that's a really strange arrangement as well - in some cases, Amazon is actually buying single copies each time a book is loaned out. Most major publishers are pretty much up in arms over the whole enterprise, which has the potential to hurt them in any number of ways. But we'll let them speak for themselves.)

So once again, the people who actually created the work are after-thoughts, while others make money on them.

From Publisher's Lunch:

 The Association of Authors' Representatives has issued a statement on the new initiative:
"The agent and author community have not been consulted about this new sort of use of authors' copyrighted material, and are unaware of how publishers plan on compensating authors for this sort of use of their books, which is unprecedented. But we think free lending of authors' work as an incentive to purchase a device and/or participation in a program is not covered nor was anticipated in most contracts between authors and publishers—nor do most contracts have any stipulation for how an author would be compensated for such a use. Without a clear contractual understanding with their authors, it is unclear to us how publishers can participate in this program. We take very seriously our role to protect the interests of our clients, and at this stage it is difficult to see how this program is in the best interests of our clients."
Speaking of Red Dragon . . .

The theme music for number 4, due out a year from now (or so) . . .
Red Dragon Rising

The base image for the cover of the next Red Dragon Rising installment. The artist really blew me away with this. The work on the entire series has been fantastic.

Looking cool is most of the battle

I'm not sure there's a cooler looking plane than the Russian Berkut, the reverse-winged aircraft whose fictional cousin (from Ace Combat) is above.*

In real life, the plane was a '90s era experimental testbed, demonstrating the potential for forward swept wings. (And other systems, but we'll focus on the wings.)

One of the ideas in putting a jet's wings backwards, so to speak, is that you are able to increase the maneuverability (mostly at low speed) while not penalized high speed performance. That combination has historically been important in a dogfight and, occasionally, in air attack regimes as well.

One difficulty designers of supersonic aircraft have always had to confront was the fact that going fast and making really hard turns suggests two different solutions. To give kind of gross example of what I'm talking about, consider the F-104 Starfighter - in my mind of the coolest Cold War aircraft ever - and the A-10A (now A-10C) Warthog - oh excuse me, the official name is Lightning II. (Also an extremely cool aircraft.)

The Starfighter is svelte and skinny, with tiny wings. It goes very fast - in a straight line. It turns - let's just say you dial that turn in way before you make it.

The Hog is ugly** for a lot of reasons. Its long straight wings aren't part of that, I don't think, but they sure do make the plane look like a throwback. No jet aircraft had had straight wings since the very early days of development during and just after WWII.

But those wings are one reason the Hog is such a maneuverable aircraft at slow speeds. The A-10 truly is stick and rudder beast, as close to a gymnast in the sky as you'll see. (And brother, you do NOT want to be in front of her when that cannon starts turning.)

Designers have tried to reconcile the problem of speed and maneuverability through all flight regimes in a variety of ways. In the 1970s, American engineers started playing with this puppy, the X-29:

That is one seriously weird and beautiful aircraft.

At least in theory, forward-swept wings would solve a good portion of the speed/maneuverability equation. But like everything else in aerodynamics, they come with their own set of peculiarities. The primary one is that as both speed and maneuverability increase, separately or together, the amount of force exerted on the aircraft increases. And forward swept wings generate, at least in most configurations that I've seen, even more force than the more conventional choices.

You can fight those forces in a number of ways - strengthening the wings, for example - but you pay a price for those fixes. If you make the wings stronger, you make the plane heavier. If you add more control surfaces, for example, you add complexity. (Both strategies were part of the forward-swept wing equation.)

It was thought in the '70s and '80s that new lightweight and incredible strong materials, along with computerized controls, would solve the problem. They didn't - or at least they didn't to the point that they provided a solution that is any better than more conventional designs.

(Note here that we're not talking about canards, those cool forward winglets that are on both of the aircraft above, and can be seen on everything from the Su-29 (and successors) family to the F/A18 Rhino's snake-like cowling. In fact, the canards are at least a partial solution to that problem, without some of the more significant drawbacks.)

Presumably, the Russians came to basically the same conclusions that the U.S. did when they built the Golden Eagle - that's what Berkut means - in the 1990s. But the aircraft looked so cool and so unusual, plus had so much potential, that it took on a life of its own among aficionados. Then the Internet came along, and games (including Ace), and a star was born.

Today, the real problem with the forward swept wing designs isn't so much the difficult engineering problems that it raises. The problem is that the equation it tries to solve no longer needs to be solved, or I should say doesn't need to be solved at this moment.

Speed and high-g agility are critical in close-up dogfights or "furballs" - your basic aerial knife fight at close range. And those simply don't happen any more. The most important system in an aircraft today - after the pilot - are the radars and detection devices that reach out and touch the enemy beyond visual range. Way beyond it. A modern dogfight between the best aircraft in the world - say the F-22 and the PAK-FA (or PAK-50, etc.) if it ever becomes operational, or the Su-35xx if it doesn't - would take place without the airplanes ever seeing each other. Same for a fight between an F-16 and a MiG-29, etc.

That's why stealth - or relative stealth - and fancy detector arrays are the "sexy" things in modern air combat. Alas, they don't really make for a lot of romance of the skies.

But that's real life. We still have the romance of close-in dogfighting in books and movies, and games like Assault Horizon. And in those places at least, the forward-swept wing may indeed dominate.

* - In the game, the Berkut is the Su-47. In real life, it had a few different designations.
** Good ugly. I really do like the Hog - after all I did write six books about it.
Modern war

You can't fit everything in a book, even a novel.

I lost this bit yesterday (or the day before - they blur together down toward the end).

“Modern war is five percent fighting and ninety percent public relations,” President Greene told Dickson. “I haven’t figured out the other five percent yet.”

Neither have I.

(It's from the Red Dragon Rising, book 4. Book 2 just went to paperback; book 3 will be out at the end of the year.)
Still doubt China?

Some will look at this and say China is a couple of decades behind. Others will look at this and say China is catching way up.