Review: The Cost of Loyalty – Dishonest, Hubris, and Failure in the US Military by Tim Bakken

3 Stars for Deep Whining,  Makes 1 Point Over and Over and Over Again

I am third generation John Boyd, and a harsh critic of military waste and dishonesty — a military that consumes 60% of our disposable budget, cannot win wars, and has ignored the strategic thinking of Doug Macgregor, Tony Zinni, myself, and many others — as well as the acquisition thinking of Pierre Sprey, Chuck Spinney, and Winslow Wheeler. I bought this book expecting to learn something new.

I finished the book and wrote the following:

  • 30% grudge
  • 30% documented shortfalls generally citing others
  • 30% over-the-top misrepresentation and plain dumb-ass ignorance
  • 10% outright whining

The further I got into this book the more annoying I found the author, to the point that I would fire him rather than let him poison more young officers with his combination of grievances and ignorance.

This is a man who conflates conservatism with authoritarianism, and who cannot understand why the US Army would want its Superintendents to be themselves graduates of West Point.

He wants to be eligible for the top positions, considers most if not all of his military faculty counterparts to be underqualified, and is upset over the turnover (which I consider a feature — real world officers are rotated in and out of the faculty).

I went back over the book — being a voracious reader myself I have read and reviewed many of his sources, all of which are better than this book (particularly the US Army Strategic Studies Institute monograph, Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession, 2015).

Here is the book plan:

  • Started with a grudge
  • Fleshed out with countless examples, most from other works
  • Makes some good and important points
  • Overall a tiresome whiney book of no value to the military profession or its civilian critics

The author is delusional in suggesting that a civilian university is in any way better than a US military academy. The dishonesty as well as the perversion and the political virtue signaling and posturing across the academy is broader and deeper than any flaws to be found at any US military academy.

I discussed this book with both one of top three supervisors, a graduate of US Naval Academy Class of 1968, and with an Army Colonel with whom I shared clandestine operations training On balance we agree that the book is more of a grudge book than a solutions book, and, interestingly, that the Uniform Code of Military Justice is part of the problem, because it makes “truthfulness” a form of insubordination if the military superior decides that the “truthfulness” is “disrespectful” in any way.  I found that interesting because I do believe the US military — apart from being wasteful and badly managed — is also given too much latitude by the courts, and patriots serving in the military who wish to challenge treason by their superiors have a very difficult time doing so.


Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Dereliction of Duty (Defense)

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on War Complex—War as a Racket

Review: The New Rules of War – Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder by Sean McFate

Amazon Page

Sean McFate

3 Stars — Company Grade Officer Dabbles as Mercenary, Earns PhD, Pens a Sophmoric Best Seller Catering to Deep State Interests

Reviewed by Robert David Steele

This book is at best a ten page article with ten cute “rules” half of which are wrong. There are some useful observations in the book but it loses a second star and drops to three because it is completely lacking on multiple fronts. There are two kinds of “strategic” authors: opportunists, and visionaries. The author falls into the first category.  He has no interest in — and no idea about — making things better (nor does he have a holistic analytic model), he is simply seeking to profit from “durable disorder” and advance his career within the Deep State / Shadow Government system that promotes people like him instead of people like Col Dr. Doug Macgregor.

The ten rules:

Rule 1: Conventional War Is Dead
Rule 2: Technology Will Not Save Us
Rule 3: There Is No Such Thing as War or Peace — Both Coexist, Always
Rule 4: Hearts and Minds Do Not Matter
Rule 5: The Best Weapons Do Not Fire Bullets
Rule 6: Mercenaries Will Return
Rule 7: New Types of World Powers Will Rule
Rule 8: There Will Be Wars Without States
Rule 9: Shadow Wars Will Dominate
Rule 10: Victory Is Fungible

There is no point to my spending time criticizing this book. I knew immediately after looking at the bibliography and index that this was a book by a man-child seeking to impress his mentors (Petraeus and McChristal and whoever runs Atlantic Council these days) and no doubt he has done so — this is their brand of pablum.  This is an Op Ed book, not a PhD book, and certainly not a book with anything to offer the President of the United States of America or anyone actually desiring to Make America Great Again.

What finally did it for me was reading the author’s pretentious discussion of the deep state, which he gets completely wrong. The “deep state” he discusses is actually the Shadow Government (the combination of political parties and captured institutions that front for the Deep State) and I find it annoying that he seems to be deliberately avoiding any mention of Peter Dale Scott who is (along with David Ray Griffin) the top US authors on the topic of the Deep State. His critical comments, some of which are good, appear to be platitudes and he has managed to not read — or not cite — the works of any of the great critics of US foreign and national security policy or US defense acquisition. There is of course no discussion at all of the degree to which the USA has been subverted by the British Empire, Israel, Freemasons, and others. There is no discussion of the sorrows of empire or how easily we could create a prosperous world at peace if we simply got a grip on our integrity.

I am reminded of Thomas Barbett’s book, The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century  that was better than this book but still half-baked — it took Barnett about three years to distill and refine his emerging ideas into something truly valuable. Perhaps the same will occur with McFate.

The author appears to have zero familiarity with any works outside his narrow Op Ed focus — such as those on non-military threats, non-military solutions, true cost economics, ethics, information peacekeeping, etcetera. His focus is “mercenary lite” — how do we shift funding from the conventional military to the private sector “ronin” that seek to gain budget share within the US military-industrial complex. I find his dismissal of both CIA paramilitary capabilities (when done right) and Special Operations Forces capabilities (when done right) to be cavalier and typical of the arrogance of the untested young who are being nurtured by powerful mentors as their next generation “insider” puppies.

The final reason I give this book three stars instead of four is for its lack of ethical gravitas and what I find to be unwarranted pretense in relation to his claimed exploits as a mercenary. It is in fact possible to create a prosperous world at peace, you simply have to — as General Al Gray wrote in 1989, in the article I ghost-wrote for him but he improved — invest in peaceful preventive measures. This young man is very ignorant across the board, and particularly in relation to the world of intelligence done right (which rarely occurs). I put the book down with annoyance.

This book is a mix of well-intentioned PhD prescriptions and street corner bluster.

Below I provide Al Gray’s article as I ghost wrote it and he improved it; my first strategic appraisal for the US Army’s Strategic Studies Institute, and my most recent book on reinventing national security.

1989 General Al Gray with Robert Steele on Global Intelligence Challenges

2001 Threats, Strategy, and Force Structure: An Alternative Paradigm for National Security

Robert Steele: Open Letter to the President: Reinventing National Security – New Book

Readers seeking vastly more substance than can be found in McFate’s book can consider the books in the lists below that I summarize.

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Positive Future-Oriented)
Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Negative Status-Quo)
Worth a Look: Recent Books on 10 High Level Threats
Worth a Look: Recent Books on 12 Core Policies

As an after thought, here is one graphic on why get get it wrong (how we spend money) followed by a few graphics on how to get it right.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

How we spend money matters. How we spend money depends on our ethics — our values. Ethics is an operating system.  Right now the US Government and US society are running without ethics — we are a cheating, lying culture.

Review: Before Our Very Eyes – Fake Wars and Big Lies from 9/11 to Donald Trump by Thierry Meyssan

Amazon Page

Thierry Meyssan

5 Star Brilliant and unique truth telling from three points of view: Arab, French, US — an Indictment of Empire

I have been a deep admirer of the intelligence and integrity and local knowledge as well as strategic acumen of  Thierry Mayssan ever since he accurately understood 9/11 as an inside job, long before I did.

In a nutshell, Mayssan is the anti-thesis of what we have today in the secret intelligence world that relies on a combination of corrupt policy consumers who could care less about intelligence (decision-support) while caring more about the bribes and blackmail that Zionist Israel (and Qatar and Saudi Arabia) put on them; young ignorant analysts, poorly educated with little time in the real world and especially little time in the countries  they pupport to study; and excessive reliance on technical collection that is not processed and hand-outs — more often than not lies — from foreign intelligence services with their own agenda.

US intelligence is, in two words, both corrupt and stupid.

It is in that context that this book and this author are priceless. If I were President, I would place more value on this one man than I would on the entire $100B a year secret intelligence world.

The book could be improved with presidential-level executive summaries for each chapter, necessary in part because the chapters are deep and complex and culturally nuanced and you really have to read every word or miss half the points.

Here is the publisher’s official description that is better than anything I could devise at this point in  time:

In “Before Our Very Eyes” he chronicles the onslaught against Syria and Libya, from the viewpoints of three camps: the foolish ambitions of the French neocolonialists, the fanaticism of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the lust for world domination of the Anglo-Zionist-American Empire. We see how the Anglo-American axis (the US, UK, and Israel discreetly behind the scenes) deployed their iron grip on the world’s money and media to propagate a fake scenario of human rights violations. This was the cover story for the real scheme — to utterly disable the Muslim world by bringing it under the sword of fanatics like the Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Vassal regimes like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and the Emirates were assigned to do the heavy lifting. For public relations purposes, the US pretended to fight half-heartedly against ISIS – which in fact it had intentionally created in Iraq, to divide and conquer the insurgency. The US then covertly ferried the terrorists into Libya and Syria. It continues to prop up ISIS by devious means. Thus the wars on Libya and Syria were based on treachery and fakery from start to finish – but the suffering of millions of innocent victims is all too real. A most murderous masquerade!

The author himself provides a compelling overview in his article on his own book, “Right Before Our Eyes,” and that is recommended as an introduction. I particularly like his reference to peeling the onion. CIA does not peel onions or do nuanced holistic analytics with true cost economics.  They put salt and pepper on shit and serve it to the President claiming it is a filet mignon. Our President — and Mike Flynn — are absolutely right to be interested in a radical reconstruction of our over-priced under-performing intelligence community.

This book is in many ways the modern counterpart to my much simpler Burundi Exercise for the Aspin-Brown Commission, in which I defeated the entire secret intelligence community with six phone calls to open sources; and this man and this book are in many ways an icon for what an Open Source Agency — long fought by the CIA — would offer the President: the truth at low cost, shareable with Congress and the public.

BRAVO ZULU. Thierry Meyssan is an ethical, historical, and intellectual giant.

Review: Hidden in Plain Sight – Beyond the X-Files

Amazon Page

Richard Sauder, PhD

4 Stars – The most recent of three books, the one to read if you read only one, but does NOT repeat all the maps, photos, and diagrams from first two

This book was published in 2010 and is the most recent of the three books that I bought and read, all quick reads.

It covers underground bases, undersea bases, long range magnetic levitation and pneumatic tunnel high-speed transport, and extraterrestials.

The author offers a conversational presentation, he does not use hyperbole, and does  his best to be balanced with what he can show is known.

See Especially:

Richard Sauder: Overview of Secret Deep Underground and Underwater Bases Connected by Mag-Lev Trains & Tunnels

See Also:

Extraterrestrial Book Reviews @ Phi Beta Iota

Extraterrestrial Posts @ Phi Beta Iota

Review: Underwater and Underground Bases

Amazon Page

Richard Sauder, PhD

4 Star Second book in series, focus on underwater cities and bases with emphasis on submarine pens and secret cross peninsula tunnels

As with the first book, this one published in 2001, it is a quick read and it includes diagrams, maps, and photographs. While not definitive, and the author is careful to distinguish between what he knows and what he speculates, this book is as good as it gets in terms of open source information covering what may be  the single most secretive (and Congressionally not authorized) program in the US inventory — the other would be the secret space program, also not authorized by Congress.

This book substantially expands on what we can know about long-range high-speed underground tunnels across the USA and even below the oceans (e.g. New York to London in one hour).

I have no direct knowledge but I have been persuaded by my reading of non-fiction over the past few years that the US federal government is completely out of control — the Executive has run amok, Congress has abidcated its responsibilities, and the Supreme Court consists of a bunch of spinless posturers doing nothing to rein in Constitutional abuses.

See Especially:

Richard Sauder: Overview of Secret Deep Underground and Underwater Bases Connected by Mag-Lev Trains & Tunnels

See Also:

Extraterrestrial Book Reviews @ Phi Beta Iota

Extraterrestrial Posts @ Phi Beta Iota

Review: Underground Bases and Tunnels – What is the government trying to hide?

Amazon Page

Richard Sauder, PhD

4 Star The original overview from 1995 first serious book about deep underground military bases (DUMB)

Although Amazon lists this book as published in 2014, that is a reprint date.  This is the original 1995 publication, and the author, a PhD who does not drink or do drugs, is the original open source intelligence investigator of a trillion dollar plus secret program that is off the books — neither authorized by Congress, nor the funds declared to Congress.

While the book is a quick read, it represents years of work by the author, and includes explicit detail including diagrams, locations, names, and more. It also includes photographs and explanations of tunneling capabilities used to create underground cities that could be as many as 20 levels and miles below the surface of the earth.

Also covered is magnetic levitation pneumatic technology that makes possible very long distance travel, underground, in short times.

There is a bow toward extraterrestrial possibilities but these are not documented as well as the facilities and tunneling are.

The author is careful to distinguish between what he knows and what he is speculating might be true. I myself have doubts about the extent of all of these things, but in the past two years I have been persuaded that trillions of dollars have been spent on a secret space program (also not authorized by Congress) and secret underground capabilities.

See Especially:

Richard Sauder: Overview of Secret Deep Underground and Underwater Bases Connected by Mag-Lev Trains & Tunnels

See Also:

Extraterrestrial Book Reviews @ Phi Beta Iota

Extraterrestrial Posts @ Phi Beta Iota