Saturday, September 04, 2010

You just can't get away from political ads these days.

I'm reading The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq, and enjoying it. The author is obviously passionate about his subject and has spent plenty of time in Iraq, so I'm assuming that he's not talking out of his butt.

I'm learning a fair amount, too. you'd think that with a war going on right in front of my virtual nose, I'd be all aware of at least the locations and dates of the major battles and such, but I was surprised at how much I hadn't encountered before. In retrospect, it makes you wonder how anybody alive in, say, '41-'45 even heard about the China-Burma-India theater of the war, especially in the absence of CNN and the internets.

However, it felt like about once per chapter or so there was a forced campaign ad for John McCain. Seriously. Everything would be flowing along nicely when suddenly, apropos to the narrative or not, would come a quote from Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ).

I checked the publication date. Ah. 2008. That explains it. Can't blame the author for having strong feelings on that topic, I guess.


Lewis said...

My only sources on the Burma-China-India front were "A Connecticut Yankee in the 8th Gurkha Rifles" and George McDonald Fraser's "Quartered Safe Out Here."

If the Flashman books, or "The Steel Bonnets," weren't enough to win you over to Fraser, "Quartered Safe Out Here" ought to do the trick. Or "Lights Out At Signpost," for that matter.

About Sen. McCain, no comment, no comment.

Anonymous said...

Bing West does have good/great creds on Iraq. McCain, not so much...

D.W. Drang said...

Was talking to Mrs. Drang's uncle, he was in the New Guinea campaign. Was impressed that I had heard of it, enough to comment "Wow, that was pretty nasty, can't understand why it's so obscure." His reply: "Well, there were no Marines involved..."
And MacArthur was in his dugout in Sydney...

WV: login

Anonymous said...

D. W., for a good read about that horror, Bergerud's book Touched by Fire is excellent.

Al T.

wv - misses - glad your Uncle was missed by the bad guys.

Anonymous said...

My dad served in CBI. Liked China, hated India and was happy to get out of Burma in one piece.

Lot's of Burmese disliked the Brits and sided with the Japanese. My father said there was a fair amount of sabatoge going on especilly cutting phone lines at night.

His buddy Zuckie went out one night to lay an ambush with two others where the lines had been cut over a ravine o several occasions. When they heard the line being cut again they lit the sabatour up in a spotlight.

Zuckie missed a Burmese cutting the line with all 500 rounds of 30 caliber machinegun ammo at 200 hundred yards as local climbed down the pole.

Next day the company captain called a formation and gave Zuckie a medal made from a can of peaches as the worst shot in the entire US Army.

Zuckie always wonder what the Burmese guy said to his family when he got home.


Anonymous said...

A very interesting book about a short part of the Burma campaign is:"The Chindit War, Stilwell, Wingate and the Campaign in Burma:1944" by Shelford Bidwell.

It is a very good history and critique of those unique operations that, in a sense predated, the "mobility operations" we got during the Viet Nam war.


FTNuke said...

I was reading "The Strongest Tribe" in 2008, but I'm not sure where it got off to. If you want an interesting account of the 2003 invasion you should read the book he co-wrote about it, "The March Up". That one was a good read for me, because even though the invasion was covered constantly in the news media I didn't get to read any of it since I was in a submarine participating in the "shock and awe" portion of it (but we didn't know they were calling it that at the time).

Desertrat said...

While most of the news was about the island-hopping and the sea battles, there was some information in the newspapers about events in the CBI. Most of the Newsreels had more footage from the ETO than of the Pacific, as near as I can recall.

The thing folks don't realize about the war was the censorship, for one thing. An unending refrain was, "Loose lips sink ships." The sprawled-out distances of the Pacific Theater didn't help matters, either. And there was just one hell of a lot less babble from the newsies of that era.

Timmeehh said...

I remember my Dad telling me about the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. Everyone (in Scotland) was saying, "Oh, those poor Chinese".

Firehand said...

Once looked at a Enfield .38 revolver that belonged to a doctor. He'd been in the CBI theater and traded a Brit officer two cartons of cigarettes for it. Considering what I've heard of the British 'sign out for everything' attitude, he either got it off the books or was really desperate for a smoke.