The John Batchelor Show

Saturday 9 February 2013

Air Date: 
February 09, 2013

Photo, above: The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was fought from March 13 to May 7, 1954, and was the decisive engagement of the First Indochina War (1946-1954), the precursor to the Vietnam War. See: Hour Two, below, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall.

From a travel brochure (astounding to people who recall the Vietnam War): "This trip enables you to enjoy the beautiful scenery and popular hill town of Dien Bien close to the Laos border. The trip includes a visit to the historic battlefield of Dien Bien Phu , where the French, after nearly 100 years of colonization and nine years of war, were defeated in 1954 by the Viet Minh, lead by Ho Chi Minh. Also included are the hill tribe villages of the Tai, Thai and H'mong peoples. Today, most visitors who reach this outpost come for the history. But along with the old army headquarters, a museum and monuments, Dien Bien Phu offers pristine mountain scenery and fascinating minority cultures."


Hour One

Saturday  9 Feb 2013/ Hour 1, Block A: From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm and John K. Wood; 1 of 4

These experts in the field challenge commonly held views about the success of the global war on terrorism and its campaign in Afghanistan. Their book questions some fundamentals of the population-centric COIN doctrine currently in vogue and harshly criticizes key decisions about the prosecution of the Afghan war. It is the only book to compare the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan from a national strategic perspective. It questions several key operational factors in Afghanistan, including the decision to give NATO the lead, the performance of both civilian and military leaders, and the prosecution of an Iraq War-style surge. It also contrasts the counterinsurgency campaign styles and the leadership of senior American officials in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A final chapter outlines key lessons of the two campaigns.

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 1, Block B:  From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm and John K. Wood; 2 of 4

"This book should be required reading for all civilian and military national security professionals. The authors provide a highly readable and concise examination of the development and execution of the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns. The insights on two-front conflicts are compelling and should be internalized by all future strategists."

-- Patrick C. Sweeney, professor of joint operations, U.S. Naval War College

"From Kabul to Baghdad and Back is an invaluable addition to the literature on fighting two simultaneous major wars. John Ballard, Dave Lamm, and John Wood--three superb scholar-practitioners--are the first to weave the complex operations in Iraq and Afghanistan into a single conceptual tapestry. There is much new research on both wars. The authors' comprehensive assessment on lessons learned is on the mark. This book will be a standard in war and peace studies for the next decade."

--Joseph J. Collins, professor, National War College, and author of Understanding War in Afghanistan

"A valuable and insightful analysis of America's two wars that pulls no punches, From Kabul to Baghdad and Back offers candid judgments on the U.S.' inability to fight two wars at once, the weaknesses of NATO partners and a bifurcated command structure in Afghanistan, and ultimately the failure to achieve momentum from that surge--unlike the successful surge and counterinsurgency applied in Iraq. Ballard, Lamm, and Wood make an important contribution to understanding the longest period of warfare in U.S. history."

--Linda Robinson, author of Tell Me How This Ends and Masters of Chaos

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 1, Block C: . From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm and John K. Wood; 3 of 4

"From Kabul to Baghdad and Back weaves a comprehensive yet accessible narrative of the U.S.-led military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. The account is enriched by the authors' backgrounds in U.S. defense strategy, providing requisite historical background of the U.S. experience in fighting multi-front wars, waging counterinsurgency campaigns, and formulating policy in the two theaters. The book's greatest contribution is its analysis of increased difficulties in Afghanistan after 2005."

--Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 1, Block D:  From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm and John K. Wood; 4 of 4

Hour Two

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 2, Block A:  . Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall; 1 of 4

“Fredrik Logevall’s excellent book Choosing War (1999) chronicled the American escalation of the Vietnam War in the early 1960s. With Embers of War, he has written an even more impressive book about the French conflict in Vietnam and the beginning of the American one. . . . It is the most comprehensive history of that time. Logevall, a professor of history at Cornell University, has drawn from many years of previous scholarship as well as his own. And he has produced a powerful portrait of the terrible and futile French war from which Americans learned little as they moved toward their own engagement in Vietnam.”Alan Brinkley, The New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

“Superb . . . penetrating . . . Embers of War is a product of formidable international research. It is lucidly and comprehensively composed. And it leverages a consistently potent analytical perspective. . . . Outstanding.”—Gordon Goldstein, The Washington Post

“A monumental history . . . a widely researched and eloquently written account of how the U.S. came to be involved in Vietnam . . . certainly the most comprehensive review of this period to date.”—Wall Street Journal

Embers of War is simply an essential work for those seeking to understand the worst foreign-policy adventure in American history. . . . Even though readers know how the story ends—as with The Iliad —they will be as riveted by the tale as if they were hearing it for the first time.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“A remarkable new history . . . Logevall skilfully explains everything that led up to Vietnam’s fatal partition in 1954 . . . [and] peppers the grand sweep of his book with vignettes of remarkable characters, wise and foolish.”—The Economist

“Fascinating, beautifully-written . . . Logevall’s account provides much new detail and important new insights. . . . It is impossible not to read the book without being struck by contemporary parallels.”—Foreign Policy

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 2, Block B:  . Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall; 2 of 4

“[A] brilliant history of how the French colonial war to hang onto its colonies in Indochina became what the Vietnamese now call ‘the American war.’”—Charles Pierce, Esquire

“Huge and engrossing . . . [Logevall] writes with an ambitious sweep and an instinct for pertinent detail. . . . If Logevall’s earlier work stood up well in a crowded field, Embers of War stands alone. . . . What if [Embers] had been mandatory reading for Kennedy and his policy makers?”—The National Interest

“Very much worth the read, both for the story and the writing. . . . Embers of War has the balance and heft to hold hindsight's swift verdicts at bay. . . An excellent, valuable book.”—The Dallas Morning News

“An encompassing, lucid account of the 40-year arc in which America’s Southeast Asian adventure became inevitable . . . Logevall’s prose is clean, his logic relentless, his tone unsparing, his vision broad and deep, his empathy expansive.”—Vietnam Magazine

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 2, Block C:  . Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall; 3 of 4

“The most comprehensive account available of the French Vietnamese war, America’s involvement, and the beginning of the US-directed struggle. . . . [Embers of War tells] the deeply immoral story of the Vietnam wars convincingly and more fully than any others. Since many of the others, some written over fifty years ago, are excellent, this is a considerable achievement.”—Jonathan Mirsky, New York Review of Books


“Magisterial.”—Foreign Affairs


“The definitive history of the critical formative period from 1940 to 1960 [in Vietnam]. . . . lucid and vivid . . . As American involvement escalated, Bernard Fall, the highly respected scholar-journalist of Vietnam’s wars, wrote that Americans were ‘dreaming different dreams than the French but walking in the same footsteps.’ Fredrik Logevall brilliantly explains that legacy.”—Gary R. Hess, San Francisco Chronicle

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 2, Block D:  Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall; 4 of 4

Hour Three

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 3, Block A:  The Honored Dead: A Story of Friendship, Murder, and the Search for Truth in the Arab World by Joseph Braude; 1 of 2

The Honored Dead is a rare treasure in which every word does quadruple duty. It’s a crackling whodunit, an incisive political thriller, and a vivid travelogue, told by a complicated, memorable, and eminently likable protagonist. Spectacular.”

—Dan Baum, author of Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans

" of the most affecting, sympathetic accounts of Arab culture in recent memory.” – Kirkus, starred review

"A scholarly and perceptive observer, Braude intersperses the cloak-and-dagger narrative of the murder mystery with digressions on Morocco's history, geopolitics, and culture; the country's rich Jewish heritage; the role that magic, sorcery, and dream interpretation play in Moroccan society. This lyrical and engrossing book puts a human face on this 'moderate, constructive player' in the politics of the Middle East, giving readers a firsthand glimpse of its glittering religious, intellectual, cultural history--and its future."--Publishers Weekly

“One of the smartest nonfiction titles for summer reading ... Journalist Joseph Braude draws on his unusual experience embedded with a Moroccan security squad to tell the story of a murder investigation that becomes a fascinating journey into the backrooms and byways of an Arab society.” – Christian Science Monitor


Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 3, Block B:   The Honored Dead: A Story of Friendship, Murder, and the Search for Truth in the Arab World by Joseph Braude; 2 of 2

Joseph Braude is the first Western journalist ever to secure embed status with an Arab security force, assigned to a hardened unit of detectives in Casablanca who handle everything from busting al-Qaeda cells to solving homicides. One day he’s given the file for a seemingly commonplace murder: a young guard at a warehouse killed in what appears to be a robbery gone wrong. Braude is intrigued by the details of the case: the sheer brutality of the murder, the identities of the accused—a soldier—and the victim, a shadowy migrant with links to a radical cleric, and the odd location: a warehouse owned by a wealthy member of one of the few thriving Jewish communities in the Arab world. After interviewing the victim’s best friend, who tearfully insists that the true story of the murder has been covered up by powerful interests, Braude commits to getting to the bottom of it.

Braude’s risky pursuit of the shocking truth behind the murder takes him from cosmopolitan Marrakesh to the proud Berber heartland, from the homes of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country to the backstreets of Casablanca, where migrants come to make fortunes, jihad, and trouble, but often end up just trying to survive with dignity. The Honored Dead is a timely and riveting mystery about a society in transition, the power of the truth, and the irrepressible human need for justice.

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 3, Block C:  . We Got Him!: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein by Steve Russell; 1 of 2

"An extraordinary personal glimpse of the war. A monumental credit to himself, his troops, and the United States of America." --the late Robin Moore, author of The Green Berets and The French Connection.

"A moving, gripping account of one of the most remarkable achievements of soldiering in a generation." --General Tommy Franks, author of American Soldier

"Steve delivers the most accurate account I have read to date."

--General Raymond T. Odierno, 4th Infantry Division (2002-2004), III Corps and Multi-National Corps - Iraq (2006-2008), Multi-National Force - Iraq (2008-2010)

"When I was embedded with Russell's battalion...I watched them tighten the noose on Saddam, but I never knew how they did it - until I read this book." --Brian Bennett, LA Times DC correspondent and former Baghdad bureau chief of TIME magazine

"A ground eye view... and a model for the way [regular and Special Operations Forces] have worked together since. --Kim Dozier, AP, former CBS News correspondent and author of Breathing the Fire --This text refers to an out-of-print or unavailable edition of this title.

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 3, Block D: We Got Him!: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein by Steve Russell; 2 of 2

Hour Four

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 4, Block A:  Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America's Elite Warriors by Don Mann; 1 of 2

Don Mann (CWO3, USN) has for the last thirty years been associated with the Navy SEALS as a platoon member, assault team member, boat crew leader, or advanced training officer; and more recently program director preparing civilians to go to BUD/s (SEAL Training). Up until 1998 he was on active duty with SEAL Team 6. Since his retirement, he has deployed to the Middle East on numerous occasions in support of the war on terror. Many of the active duty members of SEAL Team 6 are the same guys he taught how to shoot and conduct ship and aircraft takedowns, and trained in urban, arctic, desert, river, and jungle warfare, as well as Close Quarters Battle and Military Operations in Urban Terrain. He has suffered two broken backs, two pulmonary embolisms, and multiple other broken bones, in training or service. He has twice survived being captured during operations.

Co-writer Ralph Pezzullo is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning playwright, screenwriter and journalist. His books include Jawbreaker (with CIA operative Gary Berntsen).

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 4, Block B:  Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America's Elite Warriors by Don Mann; 2 of 2

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 4, Block C:  The Democratic Contradictions of Multiculturalism by Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt; 1 of 2

"Eriksen and Stjernfelt have written a splendid and important book, honest and humane, but never sentimental; in elevating the majority/minority debate to a higher level of reflection than usual, it points towards a society where it is a common future and not mythical pasts which provides the basis for solidarity and belonging."

--Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Professor of Anthropology, University of Oslo

"The Democratic Contradictions of Multiculturalism is a very important book in this day and age. It provides a thorough, systematic survey and analysis of contemporary versions and trends within multiculturalism, discloses its origins, and looks at its place in current politics, philosophy, and religion. A book not to be missed by anybody interested in the state of the world. That means, not to be missed by anybody."

--Vincent F. Hendricks, Professor of Formal Philosophy, University of Copenhagen and Columbia University

"In its 'soft' meaning, multiculturalism is, according to these authors, quite compatible with the idea of democracy and liberal-democratic political culture. It concerns the freedom of an individual to choose culture, religion, worldview and identity that suits him/her, as long as that person does not represent an obstacle to freedom of others who also wish to affirm, or determine, themselves within their own individual rights, values, proclivities and norms. However, problems arise in the context of a 'hard' interpretation of multiculturalism seen as a system that advocates inviolability, and even sovereignty, of collective cultural rights. In other words, as Eriksen and Stjernfelt argue, this is a version of multiculturalism based on the holiness and immunity of different cultures as their collective rights."

--Milan Vukomanovic, Hostages of Culturalism

"What would a society be like in which the ideals of 'hard multiculturalism' are made real--a society in which communities may enforce their own mores and traditions on their members, may even mobilize their own police force and legal system? In this brilliant book, Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt, well known for their studies of Bosnia and Serbia, explore from both an empirical and a theoretical point of view what happens when culture becomes a political ideology." --Barry Smith, Julian Park Professor of Philosophy, SUNY/University at Buffalo

Saturday 9 Feb 2013/ Hour 4, Block D:   The Democratic Contradictions of Multiculturalism by Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt; 2 of 2

..  ..  ..



Hour 1:  Persia

Hour 2:  Land of the Dead

Hour 3:  Tears of the Sun

Hour 4:  Black Hawk Down