Book Review: Atomic Energy for Military Purposes

“Atomic Energy for Military Purposes” by Henry D.. SmythThis document was released to the general public by the United States War Department on August 12th, 1945, just days after nuclear weapons had been dropped on Japan (Hiroshima on August 6th and Nagasaki on August 9th). The author, Prof. Henry D. Smyth of Princeton University, had worked on the Manhattan Project since early 1941, was involved in a variety of theoretical and practical aspects of the effort, and possessed security clearances which gave him access to all of the laboratories and production facilities involved in the project. In May, 1944, Smyth, who had suggested such a publication, was given the go ahead by the Manhattan Project’s Military Policy Committee to prepare an unclassified summary of the bomb project. This would have a dual purpose: to disclose to citizens and taxpayers what had been done on their behalf, and to provide scientists and engineers involved in the project a guide to what they could discuss openly in the postwar period: if it was in the “Smyth Report” (as it came to be called), it was public information, otherwise mum’s the word.

The report is a both an introduction to the physics underlying nuclear fission and its use in both steady-state reactors and explosives, production of fissile material (both separation of reactive Uranium-235 from the much more abundant Uranium-238 and production of Plutonium-239 in nuclear reactors), and the administrative history and structure of the project. Viewed as a historical document, the report is as interesting in what it left out as what was disclosed. Essentially none of the key details discovered and developed by the Manhattan Project which might be of use to aspiring bomb makers appear here. The key pieces of information which were not known to interested physicists in 1940 before the curtain of secrecy descended upon anything related to nuclear fission were inherently disclosed by the very fact that a fission bomb had been built, detonated, and produced a very large explosive yield.... [Read More]


This Week’s Book Review – The War for the Sea: A Maritime History of World War II

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.

Book Review

Readers to discover, understand World War II’s naval battles

By MARK LARDAS... [Read More]


Tearjerker alert

Vietnam Marine veteran in New Mexico hospice care reunites with beloved dog one last time

This may be the other way around, he may be waiting at the “Rainbow Bridge” for his beloved pet.

Sorry, but this brought tears to my eyes, this veteran is just about a year older than I am and I think that maybe sharing it is the right thing to do.... [Read More]


Bringing back our girls

No, not those girls from Chibok.   At least 150 of those girls have never been heard from.

This was 22 girls who were freed by the Nigerian military, along with 125 boys, from a “school” where they were imprisoned hostages.

Continue reading “Bringing back our girls”


Andrew McCarthy on Turkey and the Kurds

On October 8th, 2019, National Review ran an editorial, “Trump’s Syria Mistake”, which concluded,

Sometimes, however, there are obviously incorrect decisions. Trump made just such a decision Sunday night, and if Turkish military action is already under way, it may be difficult to correct. He should try. Kurdish troops have fought and died alongside Americans, combatting our common jihadist enemy. Moral decency and strategic wisdom dictate that we don’t abandon then now. The Kurds deserve better than still more death, this time at the hands of Turkey’s authoritarian regime.... [Read More]


This Week’s Book Review – The Walls Have Ears

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]


This Week’s Book Review – The New Battle for the Atlantic

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]


Book Review: Civil War Two

“Civil War Two” by Thomas ChittumThis book was originally published in 1993 with a revised edition in 1996. This Kindle edition, released in 2018, and available for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, appears to be identical to the last print edition, although the number of typographical, punctuation, grammatical, and formatting errors (I counted 78 in 176 pages of text, and I wasn’t reading with a particularly critical eye) makes me wonder if the Kindle edition was made by optical character recognition of a print copy and never properly copy edited before publication. The errors are so frequent and egregious that readers will get the impression that the publisher couldn’t be bothered to read over the text before it reached their eyes.

Sometimes, a book with mediocre production values can be rescued by its content, but that is not the case here. The author, who served two tours as a rifleman with the U.S. Army in Vietnam (1965 and 1966), then fought with the Rhodesian Territorials in the early 1970s and the Croatian Army in 1991–1992, argues that the U.S. has been transformed from a largely homogeneous republic in which minorities and newcomers were encouraged and provided a path to assimilate, and is now a multi-ethnic empire in which each group (principally, whites and those who, like most East Asians, have assimilated to the present majority’s culture; blacks; and Hispanics) sees itself engaged in a zero-sum contest against the others for power and the wealth of the empire.... [Read More]


Donald Trump Tweets KH-11 Spy Satellite Image

Yesterday, President Trump tweeted an annotated image of the Iranian launch site where an explosion apparently destroyed a satellite launch vehicle during launch preparations.

Continue reading “Donald Trump Tweets KH-11 Spy Satellite Image”


Review: War Is a Racket

“War Is a Racket” by Smedley ButlerSmedley Butler knew a thing or two about war. In 1898, a little over a month before his seventeenth birthday, he lied about his age and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, which directly commissioned him a second lieutenant. After completing training, he was sent to Cuba, arriving shortly after the end of the Spanish-American War. Upon returning home, he was promoted to first lieutenant and sent to the Philippines as part of the American garrison. There, he led Marines in combat against Filipino rebels. In 1900 he was deployed to China during the Boxer Rebellion and was wounded in the Gaselee Expedition, being promoted to captain for his bravery.

He then served in the “Banana Wars” in Central America and the Caribbean. In 1914, during a conflict in Mexico, he carried out an undercover mission in support of a planned U.S. intervention. For his command in the battle of Veracruz, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Next, he was sent to Haiti, where he commanded Marines and Navy troops in an attack on Fort Rivière in November 1915. For this action, he won a second Medal of Honor. To this day, he is only one of nineteen people to have twice won the Medal of Honor.... [Read More]


Muslim jihad in Africa July 2019

This post is a follow-up to my Ramadan Bombathon and June posts about Muslim jihad in Africa. This is a story of great violence wrought by jihadiis in a dozen countries. This violence is a continuation of centuries of violence along the edges of Muslim lands, but the scene in Africa has become increasingly deadly in the years since the 9/11 attacks on America in 2001. That event seemed to precipitate fresh infusions of cash from oil-rich Arabs, who gave support to Wahhabi madrassas that taught violent jihad, and who gave money for purchase of black market small arms to give to jihadiis all over the world.

Below I am simply listing incidents of violent jihad in Africa that made it to Christian niche media in the weeks since my post in mid-June. There were undoubtedly additional acts of violence that went unreported. None of this made it into mass media journalism in America, so all of it is probably news to y’all.... [Read More]