Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins

Kill Chain

Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins by Andrew Cockburn

UG 1242 .D7 C73 2015

“Assassination by drone is a subject of deep and enduring fascination. Yet few understand how and why this has become our principal way of waging war. Kill Chain uncovers the real and extraordinary story: its origins in long-buried secret programs, the breakthroughs that made drone operations possible, and the ways in which the technology works and, despite official claims to the contrary, does not work. Taking the reader inside the well-guarded world of national security, the book reveals the powerful interests – military, CIA, and corporate – that have led the drive to kill individuals by remote control.

Most important, Kill Chain tells this story through people who have lived it, men like Rex Rivolo, the brilliant analyst who found out the truth of what really happens when we try to win a war by assassinating people, or Tom Christie, the Pentagon official whose unsparing report on the true performance of the vaunted Predator drone is revealed in detail here for the first time.

Moving from lavish contractor-financed intelligence community celebrations in Washington, DC, to burning Pakistani villages targeted in the course of a CIA blood feud, Andrew Cockburn shows the reader the true face of drone warfare, revealing the often shocking reality behind programs such as the $300 million drone privately described in the Pentagon as “junk” or the “all-seeing” drone surveillance system that delivers pictures no better than Google Earth.

Drawing on sources deep in the military and intelligence establishments, Kill Chain unveils the true effects, as demonstrated by bloody experience, of when the theories underpinning the strategy – and the multibillion dollar contracts they spawn – are put to the test.”
– publisher description


Undaunted: The Real Story of America’s Servicewomen in Today’s Military


Undaunted: The Real Story of America’s Servicewomen in Today’s Military by Tanya Biank

UB 418 .W65 B53 2013

“Since 9/11, more than 250,000 women have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan – more than 140 have died there, and they currently make up more than 14 percent of the total active-duty forces. Despite advances, today’s servicewomen are constantly pressed to prove themselves, to overcome challenges men never face, and to put the military mission ahead of all other aspects of their lives, particularly marriage and motherhood. In this groundbreaking insider’s look at the women defending our nation, Tanya Biank brings to light the real issues – of femininity, belonging to an old boys’ club, veiled discrimination, dating, marriage problems, separation from children, questions about life goals, career trajectories, and self-worth – that servicewomen are facing by focusing on four individual stories with widespread implications.

Brigadier General Angela Salinas, the Marine Corps’ first Hispanic female general, faces the challenge of commanding an all-male institution. Second Lieutenant Bergan Flannigan finds herself on the front lines of Afghanistan, serving the same military police company as her husband. As a Marine drill instructor, Sergeant Amy Stokley demands the very best from the recruits at Parris Island. And Major Candice O’Brien deals with deployment to Afghanistan, with two young children and a strained marriage at home.

Undaunted is the story of these courageous trailblazers and their struggles, sacrifices, and triumphs in the name of serving the country they love.” – publisher description

Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America’s Wars and Those Who Fought Them

Those Who Have Borne the Battle

Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America’s Wars and Those Who Fought Them
by James Wright

E 745 .W75 2012

“At the heart of the story of America’s wars are our “citizen soldiers” – those hometown heroes who fought and sacrificed from Bunker Hill in Charlestown to Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, and beyond, without expectation of recognition or recompense. Americans like to think that the service of its citizen volunteers is, and always has been, of momentous importance in our politics and society. But though this has made for good storytelling, the reality of America’s relationship to its veterans is far more complex. In Those Who Have Borne the Battle, historian and marine veteran James Wright tells the story of the long, often troubled relationship between America and those who have defended her – from the Revolutionary War to today – shedding new light both on our history and on the issues our country and its armed forces face today.

From the beginning, American gratitude to its warriors was not a given. Prior to World War II, the prevailing view was that, as citizen soldiers, the service of its young men was the price of citizenship in a free society. Even Revolutionary War veterans were affectionately, but only temporarily, embraced, as the new nation and its citizens had much else to do. In time, the celebration of the nation’s heroes became an important part of our culture, building to the response to World War II, where warriors were celebrated and new government programs provided support for veterans.

The greater transformation came in the wars after World War II, as the way we mobilize for war, fight our wars, and honor those who serve has changed in drastic and troubling ways. Unclear and changing military objectives have made our actions harder for civilians to stand behind, a situation compounded by the fact that the armed forces have become less representative of American society as a whole. Few citizens join in the sacrifice that war demands. The support systems seem less and less capable of handling the increasing number of wounded warriors returning from our numerous and bewildering conflicts abroad.

A masterful work of history, Those Who Have Borne the Battle expertly relates the burdens carried by veterans dating back to the Revolution, as well as those fighting today’s wars. And it challenges Americans to do better for those who serve and sacrifice today.” – publisher description

The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War

The InsurgentsThe Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War by Fred Kaplan

U 241 .K37 2013

The Insurgents is the inside story of a small group of soldier-scholars, led by General David Petraeus, who plotted to revolutionize one of the largest, oldest, and most hidebound institutions – the United States military. Their aim was to build a new Army that could fight the new kind of war in the post-Cold War age: not massive wars on vast battlefields, but “small wars” in cities and villages, against insurgents and terrorists. These would be wars not only of fighting but of “nation building,” often not of necessity but of choice.

Based on secret documents, private emails, and interviews with more than one hundred key characters, including Petraeus, the tale unfolds against the backdrop of the wars against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the main insurgency is the one mounted at home by ambitious, self-consciously intellectual officers – Petraeus, John Nagl, H. R. McMaster, and others – many of them classmates or colleagues in West Point’s Social Science Department who rose through the ranks, seized with an idea of how to fight these wars better. Amid the crisis, they forged a community (some of them called it a cabal or mafia) and adapted their enemies’ techniques to overhaul the culture and institutions of their own Army.

Fred Kaplan describes how these men and women maneuvered the idea through the bureaucracy and made it official policy. This is a story of power, politics, ideas, and personalities – and how they converged to reshape the twenty-first-century American military. But it is also a cautionary tale about how creative doctrine can harden into dogma, how smart strategists – today’s “best and brightest” – can win the battles at home but not the wars abroad. Petraeus and his fellow insurgents made the US military more adaptive to the conflicts of the modern era, but they also created the tools – and made it more tempting – for political leaders to wade into wars that they would be wise to avoid.” – publisher description


Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow

UA 23 .M17 2012

“‘One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier,’ Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other founders could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of “privateers”; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rusting nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine.

Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow’s Drift argues that we’ve drifted away from America’s original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we’ve arrived at such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today’s war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe. She offers up a fresh, unsparing appraisal of Reagan’s radical presidency. Ultimately, she shows us just how much we stand to lose by allowing the priorities of the national security state to overpower our political discourse.

Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seriously funny, Drift will reinvigorate a “loud and jangly” political debate about how, when, and where to apply America’s strength and power – and who gets to make those decisions.” – publisher description

Soldiers’ Stories: Military Women in Cinema and Television Since World War II

Soldiers’ Stories: Military Women in China and Television Since World War II by Yvonne Tasker

PN 1995.9 .W6 T375 2011

“From Skirts Ahoy! to M*A*S*H, Private Benjamin, G.I. Jane, and JAG, films and television shows have grappled with the notion that military women are contradictory figures, unable to be both effective soldiers and appropriately feminine.  In Soldiers’ Stories, Yvonne Tasker traces this perceived paradox across genres including musicals, screwball comedies, and action thrillers.  She explains how, during the Second World War, women were portrayed as auxiliaries, temporary necessities of “total war.”  Later, nursing, with is connotations of feminine care, offered a solution to the “gender problem.”  From the 1940s through the 1970s, musicals, romances, and comedies exploited the humorous potential of the gender role reversal that the military woman was taken to represent.  Since the 1970s, female soldiers have appeared most often in thrillers and legal and crime dramas, cast as isolated figures, sometimes victimized and sometimes heroic.  Soldiers’ Stories is a comprehensive analysis of representations of military women in film and TV since the 1940s.  Throughout, Tasker relates female soldiers’ provocative presence to contemporaneous political and cultural debates and to ways that women’s labor and bodies are understood and valued.” – publisher description

If We Must Die

If We Must Die: African American Voices on War and Peace

edited by Karin L. Stanform

UB 418 .A47 I4 2008

If We Must Die is a narrative and compilation of commentaries by African American leaders, intellectuals, and average citizens on wars fought by the United States.  The book uses the rich material and political and social commentary as it seeks to articulate the concerns, moods, and memory of African Americans in the context of global political realities.”

–back cover of book

Link to catalog record: