Re: Military/CIA book reviews (Modern)
I just finished A J. Venter's WAR DOG Fighting Other People's Wars The Modern Mercenary in Combat.
Venter has a lot of experience in reporting African conflicts, and that is the central location for most of his book. It is a study of modern private military contractors, as well as an interesting consideration of the roles of private companies, their personnel, and the future of private militaries.
Part One deals primarily with Neall Ellis, a South African who flew a handful of Mi-24 Hinds and Mi-17s in support of the Sierra Leone government, against Foday Sankoh's RUF insurgents. At 188 pages, it is a thorough account of the challenges and dangers faced, and the innovation and skills used by the contract crews.
Part Two covers experiences in Bosnia, Lebanon, Congo, and Biafra.
Part Three begins with Executive Outcomes' experience in Angola and moves on to Sierra Leone. The small force of former elite South African and Rhodesian soldiers engage far larger enemy forces, defeating them with solid tactics and combined arms.
In the Epilogue, Venter discusses various contractors in Iraq, and other parts of the world, and finishes with a consideration of their usefulness in future conflicts of asymetrical nature. There is also an assessment of EO nations' militaries capabilities to carry out such operations.
Besides the above, this book is a rich account of the characters who are a part of these wars - contract soldiers, UN types, corrupt government and military leaders, various intelligence agency types of many countries, politicians, Russian pilots and mechanics, as well as details (some grudgingly admiring) of insurgents' qualities and tactics.
There is also an honest assessment of the usefulness of aircraft (often converted trainers), gunships (mostly Russian), and AFVs (mostly BMP-2s) in the conditions and terrain encountered.
Not the definitive study of the subject, but I think, a very valid component of the history and debate. Enjoyable read, and highly detailed.
What you do
When it counts---The Masao
- Ryan Bonaminio lived his life this way -