The first week of my paternity leave left me with a lot of time to read, much more than I usually have. So I got some books from the library and the first one I finished was Not a Good Day to Die, by Sean Naylor. It tells the story of the battle for the Shahikot Valley during the Afghanistan war, also known by its code name of Operation Anaconda. What I learned from the book was:
- Giving generals a Predator UAV with a camera on it makes them think they can tell what’s going on on the battlefield as well as the people who are actually there. Then you wind up with somebody in a conference room in Qatar or Florida making the decisions that would normally be made by a Captain or Major on the battlefield.
- Close air support is nice, but it no substitute for artillery or at least a few mortars
- If you’re an al-Qaida leader and want to avoid getting an air strike called down on your head, don’t go up to a hilltop waving a silver flag
- My reader should appreciate this one: Don’t use SEALs for a special operations mission unless there’s water involved, use Special Forces/Delta or Rangers.