Weekend Reading: November 21 – 22 Edition

November 21, 2015

Welcome to the latest edition of weekend reading!

Did you miss our talk with SECDEF? WOTR’s Ryan Evans sat down with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in his office this week to chat about how the Department of Defense intends to attract and retain our nation’s top talent – uniformed and civilian. You can listen this podcast here at War on the Rocks or on iTunes, where you can subscribe to our whole podcast series.

Can this company predict terrorist attacks? That’s what Predata claims. They offer a tool that would have predicted last week’s tragic attacks in Paris that took over 120 lives across the city of lights. Or so they claim. We hope the data scientists among our readers will chime and and tell is if it passes the smell test.

Marseillaise on the football pitch. Sports and patriotism are inseparable, especially for our European friends. At the blog of the London Review of Books, Tom Overton begins with the origins of the French national anthem, a portion of which is anti-English in origin, and ends with gives a stirring account of his attendance at the recent France-England match at Wembly, which went ahead in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. His message: “the distance between the composition of the ‘Marseillaise’ and the way it was performed tonight seemed like a promise that intractable hatreds can come to an end.”

Want more on sports and war? Read “Rugby: The Soldier-Making Game,” by Ruben Stewart

“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” That’s what John Kerry asked when he testified before Congress about Vietnam as a young man in 1971. It’s a difficult, if not impossible, question to answer. At Task & Purpose, Sarah Sicard reviews the first and last individuals to die in each of America’s conflicts. It is worth your time.

An inside look at the Islamic State’s media mavens. We do not normally link to major media outlets in “Weekend Reading” because we like to draw attention to articles off the beaten path – or at least off our beaten path – but are making an exception this week. Greg Miller and Souad Mekhennet have written a tremendous article in The Washington Post that gives an in inside look at the Islamic State’s propaganda machine. The Islamic State’s propaganda cadres are well-respected, well-paid, and highly organized. They are revered by fighters and hold senior ranks in the apparatus of this nascent extremist state-let, equal to those held by military commanders. And they are directly involved in planning and strategy, not just in selling it after the fact.

Want more? Charlie Winter wrote a piece for us on how the Islamic State sells itself based on a painstaking analysis of their propaganda output.

A Chinese missile and #NatSec2016. At RealClearDefense, Peter Navarro writes about how the growth of Chinese maritime power, and its ability to potentially sink U.S. carriers, might impact the course of the 2016 presidential campaign.  He calls on debate moderators to step up the caliber of questions they pose to the candidates about the rise of China.

What the ghosts of Gettysburg have to teach us. Does the Battle of Gettysburg have anything to teach us about leadership? The anonymous “Angry Staff Officer” thinks so over at The Bridge. He writes, “The words we use to describe leadership may change over the years, but the tenets of leadership are unchanging.”

Did you miss this week’s content on the Islamic State in the aftermath of the Paris attacks? No worries. We got you covered.

On Monday, we published an article by Clint Watts: “What Paris Taught Us About the Islamic State.”

On Tuesday, we published two articles related to the topic. One is by Doug Ollivant, who just returned from a trip to Iraq as a guest of Prime Minister Abadi, and he penned this: “The War in Iraq Against the Islamic State After Paris.”

The next is by General Dave Barno and Nora Bensahel. They wrote a great piece on what NATO can do about the challenges it faces in the form of Middle Eastern turmoil and Russian aggression: “NATO’s Two-Front War.”

Next, we published an article by Stan Sloan: “NATO and Paris: Why There Will Not Be an Article V Response.

At #NatSec2016, John Amble wrote about how this terrorist incident is affecting the 2016 election cycle.

Over at Molotov Cocktail, Andre Gziryan offers four French cocktails you can imbibe to honor our comrades in Paris. Bottoms up!

Image: Staff Sgt. Jason Hull, U.S. Army