Monday, March 26, 2007

Websites about Afghanistan and War

Doonesbury - The Sandbox

Gary Trudeau has a long history of writing/drawing about soldiers. The Sandbox is made up of blogs of soldiers about life in general. Generally high quality writing, only the better posts make it here. Most compilations of blogs group like-ideologies together. This is just about quality of writing about what it is like to serve in theater.

The Strategy Page

Lots of articles about the practical aspects of war. Explains reasons behind choices that people make, both physical and social. There are a couple of headings devoted to editorials, but the focus is on practical matters of decisionmaking.

BBC News - South Asia

The standard source for news internationally. Afghanistan is roughly on the border between the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East. As its history is closer to Pakistan than Iran, the BBC puts it here.

Small Wars Journal

If you are serious about taking a peak at American military personnel thinking about war, this is a place to look. (Note: there is nothing "small" about small wars); By some retired Marines who thought this sort of thing needed an outlet not filled by the various military war college journals. The Research Links page is a good annotated reading list.

ISAF Mirror

Monthly newsmagazine put out by the NATO International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF). Public Relations pieces by NATO for all the folks back home.

Birding Babylon

Actually about Iraq. The writer of this spent a year deployed in Iraq as part of the Connecticut National Guard. He spent his downtime birding. This blog has become a gathering point of Iraqi naturalists in general.

Other Reading

John Nagl, Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife

This was a PhD dissertation turned into a book. The author was a US Army Battalion Operations officer in Iraq, then went again as a Battalion Commanding Officer. Looks at the British experience in Malaysia and the American experience in Vietnam. 1st edition hard to get and expensive (it was a PhD dissertation). 2nd edition is a paperback and readily available.

David Kilcullen, Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-level

Kilcullen is an Australian officer with experience in East Timor amongst other places. He writes this for company level officers (usually a ~28 year old captain in charge of ~100 men) who had some trouble reading and distilling T.E. Lawrence, David Galula, the new Counterinsurgency manual, and the other 1000s of pages of reading on counterinsurgency that was in their reading list. This short article is easily found on the web.

Thulcydes, The History of the Peloponnesian War

The first true history book. About the war between Athens and Sparta (and both of their alliances) after the greeks beat back the Persian invasion of Greece. Free versions abound. Also at any library. And any publisher of classics has an edition.

Other sites I like

Kevin and Kell

My favorite comic. I met the artist when he came to Pittsburgh last year and helped coordinate his patron (fan club) dinner.


A podcast music show built around covers (think music version of a remake). Available as an downloadable audio file. I get it via iTunes podcast.

Baen Free Library

This is a potentially a HUGE time sink, so be warned. Baen is a publisher of science fiction, and have a large back catalogue that they have made freely available in electronic form. Of course, there are a variety of tastes so you would have to browse. I like the Belisarius Series by Eric Flint and David Drake. There is a big focus on the moral and material sides of war as opposed to the technical. Of course, part of the reason I like it is the focus on logistics, which is frequently the hinge on which a plot turns, a lot like real life.
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