Review: Operation Dark Heart–Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan — and the Path to Victory

5 Star, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Impeachment & Treason, Insurgency & Revolution, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Justice (Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Public Administration, Religion & Politics of Religion, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Terrorism & Jihad, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars USG Blows It, Makes This a Best-Seller

October 5, 2010

Anthony Shaffer

EDIT of 7 October 2010 to address the negatives.

I can see I need to spell this out more clearly.

1) Let’s distinguish between the book and the heavy-handed (late) censorsorship. The book is an earnest personal effort by an experienced officer who knows what he is talking about. The book as now published does NOT violate even the late heavy-handed censorship. I consider the book to be an excellent overview of where US intelligence and special operations are today, along with General Mike Flynn’s powerful critique “Fixing Intel-A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan,” (free online at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog).

2) Now on to the officer’s loss of clearances and heavy-handed censorship.

2a) First, his loss of clearances was ABUSIVE, unwarranted, and totally reflective of the pathological operational decrepitude of our entire clearance system. I am not speaking of those who administer the system, they do the best we can. I am speaking of Colonels and Flag Officers who abuse the system to punish and silence and bankrupt–this is a form of political assassination akin to CIA’s “Fitness for Duty” physicals that seek to declare any person with ethics unwilling to go along with insane or unconstitutional practices to be “crazy” and unemployable.

2b) Secondly, the book was CLEARED for publication, it is only after the fact that someone (if I had to speculate, I would guess General Ron Burgess, Director of DIA) decided that the book might make them look bad and sought desperately and foolishly to find a way to get it off the market. One of the real problems we have in our Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information world is that it turns intelligent adults into morons (Daniel Elsberg said this to Kissinger, I am just borrowing it). They actually end up with the delusion that they can “control” anything by making it secret.

The US is hosed strategically, financially, operationally, politically, and ethically. What we “do” at vast expense to the now bankrupt Treasury that has wasted over 14 trillion on the bank bail-out and over 4 trillion on an out of control Pentagon that can no longer build ships or airplanes or even provide squads with effective personal weapons or immediate area surveillance devices, is not in the public interest. Poverty has skyrocketed under this Administration precisely because it continued the previous Administrations two wars, both wars justified to the public by 935 lies led by Dick Cheney while Colin Powell stood silent.

This book is valuable, it merits five stars on its own, and now that Pentagon and CIA clumsiness have made a free online side by side version of the book available, one side as written, the other as redacted, the public has the added advantage of being able to see with great precision that 90% of the redactions are idiotic and have nothing to do with national security anything–precisely the kind of ineptitude that 90% of our expensive and unwarranted secrecy seeks to cover up across the $75 billion (going on $90 billion) secret intelligence archipelago.

I have not deleted the review and welcome the negative votes as a reminder to myself that we have differing views and that many do not see the world as I see it based on my very broad experience and very broad reading patterns. I am loyal to the Republic, to the Constitution, and to the idea that is America. Much of what we do today is inconsistent with the Constitution and the idea that is America. This book is a checkpoint in our road back to being in a state of grace with our Founding Fathers. IMHO.

Below I list five links that complement this book’s offering.
Surrender to Kindness (One Man’s Epic Journey for Love and Peace)
War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier
The Fifty-Year Wound: How America’s Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency

At Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, in support of my latest book (free online there but better if bought in hard copy here at Amazon: INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainaabilty, I have two massive free lists of lists, the first everything that is wrong with America (according to other authors); the second everything that could be right with America (according to other authors). I am but a bridge to the thinking of others, and I commend to everyone’s attention, these lists.

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Positive)
Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Negative)

Bless you all–too many of you think of the author of this book, and of me, as being part of the enemy force. Not so. We are the good guys who have been left wounded on the battlefield by comrades who should have known better. Neither the chain or command nor careerism are worth dying for, but today our brave troops are dying for precisely that: ideologically and politically justified decisions divorced from reality; and flag officers prostituting themselves to careerism and not doing what I as a young lieutenant knew was my job: protecting my troops from other officers and their bad judgments.

Semper Fidelis,
Robert Steele
Maj USMCR (Ret)

Free Side by Side Version Online

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