In Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts , acclaimed journalist Robert D. Kaplan continues his exploration of the American military's challenging and varied commitments around the world. From protecting sea lanes, to providing disaster relief, to preparing for potential military confrontation with North Korea and Iran, Kaplan describes the astonishing, vital, and often unacknowledged operations regularly performed by American military personnel in the air, at sea, and on the ground. Vivid and illuminating, this book takes us deep into the highly technical and exotic cultures of the armed forces, telling soldiers' stories from the perspective of the troops on the ground.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts|
|Release Date: 09-30-2008|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts
America’s African Rifles
With a Marine Platoon
African Sahel, Summer 2004
In the early summer of 2004, just as the United States was dismantling the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, sending home its effective proconsul, L. Paul Bremer III, U.S. Marines and Army Special Forces were in various stages of deploying to the southern fringe of the Sahara Desert, the Sahel, one of the few battlegrounds left in the Global War on Terror for the U.S. military to enter, as it was already deployed in so many other parts of the world.
Local alliances and the training of indigenous troops have been a traditional means of projecting power at minimum risk and fanfare. This was true of Rome even in regard to adjacent North Africa, to say nothing of its Near Eastern borderlands; and it was particularly true of France and Britain, two-thirds of whose expeditions were composed of troops recruited in the colonies.* As Tacitus writes, “We Romans value real power but disdain its vanities.”1 Taking Tacitus to heart, I went to
* See Sallust’s The Jugurthine War, composed between 44 and 40 b.c., and Douglas Porch’s introduction to the Bison edition of Col. C. E. Callwell’s Small Wars: Their Principles & Practice (1896; Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1996). These are but two examples of a vast military literature about how imperial powers used their influence.
the Niger River region of the African Sahel, or “coast,” a belt of savannah and scrub on the Sahara’s southern edge, to witness a version of America’s reach that was radically different from Iraq, certainly more modest, and hopefully more suc