THE WAR AFTER ARMAGEDDON BY RALPH PETERS

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In the near future Israel has been destroyed by a nuclear attack from Iran. Terrorists have exploded dirty bombs in a dozen major European cities causing a backlash against the Muslim population. The result is a mass expulsion of Muslims from the continent. Nuclear bombs go off in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The terrorist attacks bring into power a fundamentalist Christian government. Their goal is the liberation of the holy lands from the infidel. The government forms a new branch of the military, the Military Order of the Brothers in Christ (MOBIC).

The book opens with General Flintlock Harris off the coast of the former state of Israel now known as the Emirate of Al Quds and Damaskus. Harris is the commander of the regular Army and Marine contingent. His moniker is from his insistence on his soldiers learning old fashion skills like reading a map. This comes in handy on this battlefield. Computer viruses, EMP bombs and electronic jamming reduces the battle to World War II level.

Harris’s main threat isn’t the jihadists that he fights. It is the MOBIC allies that want to replace the Army and Marines as America’s sole military force. Harris wants the desperately prove the worth of his beloved army. Unfortunately he fails to realize that the government and constitution he has sworn to protect no longer exist. A nuclear attack by the jihadists unleashes a genocidal war and an ultimate betrayal of Harris and his command.

Well this is a pretty grim book. It has a real grim ending. Powerful but grim. I don’t really buy into the Christian fundamentalist government. Still he gets it right on the dangers of terrorism and the growing spread of nuclear weapons into unreliable countries. Also his portrayal of the over reliance on high-tech that could be a disaster in any future conflict.

Like I said this book has a real downer ending. I admit to liking happy endings. Still this is a really good book. The various cast of interesting characters, realistic battle scenes and a fast paced plot make it a worthwhile read. If you can handle a very depressing ending I highly recommend it.

As I write this an insurgency that is more brutal than Al Qaida is gaining ground. I hope that the events are fiction but it does get one to thinking.

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THE WAR IN 2020 BY RALPH PETERS

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In this alternate timeline the US sends in troops to defend Zaire from South Africans in 2005. A young lieutenant George Taylor pilots an Apache helicopter. On patrol his unit is attacked by South Africans using new advanced Japanese weapons. Taylor is shot down and must make journey through hostile territory. He arrives and finds out that the US has suffered a humiliating defeat. Later he contracts a new disease that horribly scars his face.

Jump forward to 2020. A decaying Soviet Union is on the brink of collapse. Islamic rebels aided by Japanese armed Iranians and Arabs are poised to take everything east of the Urals. Enter Colonel George Taylor commander of the US seventh cavalry. His regiment is clandestinely brought into the country to prevent the Soviet Collapse. In their arsenal is a new weapon system.

Initially the seventh cavalry scores stunning success against the Japanese equipped Islamic armies. The Japanese retaliate with a devastating weapon on a Soviet city. Now Taylor must make a desperate raid on Japanese headquarters in Baku to avoid defeat.

Now this is obviously a bit dated. When the paperback came out it was one month since the Soviet Union officially dissolved so it was already obsolete then. The evil Japanese were also a fixture in books and movies of the late eighties and early nineties. Their growing economic might make them great villains during this period. I work for a Japanese company and they never struck me as villainous. Anyway the recession they had and China’s rise has demoted them as the evil villains.

What isn’t obsolete is the concept of the US blundering into something without the proper forces and suffering a defeat. I feel that we are heading toward this scenario sometime in our not too distant future.

Ralph Peters is a former Army intelligence officer specializing in Soviet and East Europe. He has a real understanding for this part of the world and his characters are fully fleshed out. His descriptions are realistic and the scenario was highly plausible at the time he wrote this. I highly recommend this for the interesting world that thankfully did not materialize.