December 16, 2001

Tom Clancy - The Bear and the Dragon

Praise for Tom Clancy - A few days after Sept. 11, I bought Tom Clancy's novel from 2000, The Bear and the Dragon, as a relatively painless way to learn the current state of American war-fighting technology. It ends with a detailed description of how 21st Century American air power pulverizes a Chinese armored invasion of Siberia. I finished it and said, "Okay, we're obviously going to crush the Taliban from the air. No problemo." (My biggest worry then became that the Taliban would hand over Osama to us before we could devastate them, which we had to do in order to encourage the other regimes to not allow anti-American terrorists to operate from their territories.) Thus, I was incredulous when so many pundits decided around Nov. 1st that the Taliban were winning. "Don't they know anything about our current air power? Don't they read Tom Clancy novels?" A week later, of course, the fearsome Taliban threw down their weapons and ran for the hills. The answer to both questions about our commentariat I realize now is "No. They didn't know anything about military technology and one reason was because they hold Clancy in contempt." Well, now the joke's on them.

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