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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I actually did some constructive things with my time in the field and got through some very good books. I started the op reading Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, a nonfiction that plots the rise of Islam in the world of politics and documents America’s involvement in the development of radical Islam. I’ll spare you with a term paper on the books argument, but I’ll try and provide a brief synopsis.

After a heavy introduction distinguishing the roles of Islam in society and politics throughout history the book dives straight into the west’s ethnocentric policies during the colonial period. It explains how western nations (namely Britain and France) were some of the first nations to use terrorism to pursue policy, the major case being the South African/Angola affair. It then focuses on America’s use of covert operations and funds to wage proxy war’s in nations around the world, notably Laos, Nicaragua, Iraq/Iran and finally Afghanistan. The major focus of the book is on America’s involvement in the Afghan war against Russia, when American CIA agents helped Pakistan open training camps and religious schools that would produce radical Muslim extremists recruited from around the globe who would fight Reagan’s ‘Evil Empire’ of the Soviet Union. The book asserts that the CIA warped the meaning and purpose of the Jihad in order to serve its purpose. Claims of the CIA’s involvement in the opium trade as a source of funding are also made.

The book was very compelling and the arguments we’re backed up with about 60 pages of citations and footnotes at the back of the book. I’ll hold my judgement on the argument the book makes for your sake.

The next book I read was A Thousand Splendid Suns, by the same author as The Kite Runner. This was the perfect book to read next because it dealt with the lives of two women as they lived through the wars in Afghanistan, first the revolution, then the Soviet invasion and then the mujhadeen revolt and the Taliban takeover. After having lived in a Muslim nation for seven months similar to Afghanistan and seeing what the lives of women are like in a traditional Islamic society, it was an awesome book. Very much on the depressing side, which, if you’ve ever seen a woman wearing a burqa getting smacked by her husband you would understand. But I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants a glimpse at this culture or the recent history of Afghanistan. The author is amazing, I had read The Kite Runner about a year ago and fell in love with his style.

Towards the end of the op the pickin’s on books started to get slim. I kept eying this Clive Cussler novel sitting around, but I remembered that I had promised myself never to read a Clive Cussler novel. Finally sheer boredom won out and I picked it up and started reading it. 364 Dirk Pitt adventure filled pages later I remembered why I had sworn that I wouldn’t read that crap.


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  2. Welcome back Jake. It was a huge relief to see a new post. Glad to hear no one took a potshot at you. Looking forward to more posts and Pics.

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  5. You may want to look at this article for a good history of how the surge is supposed to work, excellent read

    Surge history example

  6. (to "quotecritter", thanks for the GREAT link!) To Jake--What a RELIEF to see you're back on. whew. :)

    I don't know about that book you read, but it sounds like it didn't go back far enough in Islam's history (like to the 7th Century :) and that the author has might have an anti-western bias. but you're a smart guy, and as I tell my boys, just know who's writing what you're reading and what their agenda is.

    Right now, we're in a world-wide war on terror in which the main front is being handled by the best soldiers in the World--Our U.S. Marines with some others helping. I'm fully aware that my 12-yr-old and 10-yr-old sons may be called to duty to fight this war later. I'm not happy about it, but as long as Islamofascists are hell-bent on "killing the infidel", there's not much left to do but fight, because none of us wants to be a Dhimmi!

    Thank you for fighting for us.


  7. Hey Jake, I'm a distant cousin of yours (Linda's daughter, Shelly). Just wanted to let you know how proud we all are that you're representing the family over there. Your blog has become a popular site for all my friends at college, mostly because they think you're so handsome. Stay safe, you're in our prayers.

  8. Glad your back Jake. Those sound like good books and The Kite Runner is very popular, but with all the stuff I read on the net, I'm sticking to fictional books for now. Clears my head for a little while. The rise of radical Islam is not as important to me right now as it's destruction, though it helps to know the enemy. I spent 3 yrs after 9/11 tracking down and reading every jihad website I could find, they were pretty clear about what they want.