Friday, July 9, 2010

Iraq in 2012, Book Recommendation

July 9, 2010

AFA members, Congressional Staff members, Civic leaders, DOCA members, earlier this week I read an interesting piece by former Secretary of the Air Force Wynne. It is entitled Iraq in 2012: An Update in Perspective. In the piece, Sec Wynne brings out many points – to include the importance of the US to many of the countries in the gulf. To quote his last paragraph:

Already, the thinking part of Iraq is asking the US: 'Don't put Iraq in the rear view mirror'. Since they really mean watch over us, as we have in the past, this has implications to our aging and shrinking Air and Naval deterrent capability. With our seeming blindness to deterrent capability while we pursue 'balance and the current war we are in' could prove costly in the multi-polar era we are entering. One continues to hope for 'Peace in our time', but what we have seen work for the past peaceful period, is 'Speak softly; but carry a Big Stick'.

You can find the piece here.

Secondly, I am finishing a great book by Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman. [You might remember the name of Reed - he was Secretary of the Air Force in the Ford and Carter Administrations ... at the very least, many of us had to memorize his name ...] The book is entitled: The Nuclear Express - A Political History of the Bomb and its Proliferation - it came out last year. It traces how the technology, developed in the Manhattan Project, spread around the world. A few things I did not know ... (or had forgotten)

  • The Manhattan Project was really a multi-lateral effort with scientists from UK, Canada, France, and US ... plus former Germans ... involved.

  • The US did not share the technology with the British/French after the war.

  • The UK developed its weapons in fear of a US retreat (return to isolationism) after WWII

  • The French did so after its defeat at Dien Bien Phu ... and US heavy-handedness during the Suez Crisis

  • PRC was helped initially by the Soviets ... but perhaps most by a British spy

  • Israel and France collaborated on the Israeli bomb

  • The PRC helped Pakistan because of a border war with India that it won in 1962. India decided to pursue the technology for the same reason plus the PRC nuclear and thermonuclear tests in 1964/1967

  • Pakistan and AQ Khan were inspired by an Indian test in 1974.
    And ... lot's more. It's an interesting read.

Side note: Two weeks ago I sent the above section, recommending the book, to the Commander, US Strategic Command, Gen Kevin Chilton. Gen Chilton responded that he had already read the book and it was on the STRATCOM Commander's reading list. I checked out the list and it, too, is superb. While I have not read all of the books on the list, the ones I have read are outstanding. What also struck me about Gen Chilton's list is its wide selection which represents STRATCOM's varied set of missions. You can find the list here.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

1 comment:

ABS said...

As a retiree who bleeds Blue but other than receiving the excellent AF Magazine each month, tends to feel disconnected from the AF, I applaud Gen Dunn's proactive effort to connect with the membership through his occasional emails. Helpful and dignified content. Please keep 'em coming! ABS