From ABDA to Desert Storm and the lesson missed by Bush/Cheney

During the Desert Shield buildup in the fall of 1990, two World War II names came together again for the first time in close to 49 years: Admiral Thomas C. Hart and Witte de With. American Admiral Hart was the first naval commander of ABDA, the American, British, Dutch and Australian unified command set up on the island of Java in January 1942. The Witte de With was a Dutch destroyer in his power. Their job was to stop the Japanese advance on the Netherlands East Indies, now Indonesia.

As part of the Desert Shield almost 49 years later, the American Navy sent the frigate USS Thomas C. Hart with the USS Saratoga battle group. The Dutch stationed two frigates in the Middle East at the same time, one of which was a new HNMS Witte de With.

The frigates Thomas C. Hart and Witte de With became part of a far more successful military operation than their namesakes of 1942.

Admiral Hart attempted to instantaneously weld the four World War II navies into an ABDA Unified Naval Command. But Japanese forces sank most of the Allied ships in their path. The destroyer Witte de With, after escorting the wounded heavy cruiser HMS Exeter from the Battle of the Java Sea, was bombed by the Japanese at Surabaya on March 1, 1942. She was scuttled and abandoned the following day.

ABDA was the first attempt at a multi-national, unified command in the 20th century. Hastily assembled after the Pearl Harbor disaster, ABDA faced the full weight of the Japanese assault in the far east. It failed to stop them at sea, on land, and in the air.

Desert Storm was fought by an international, unified military command. But this time it was a resounding success, capable of capturing far more than it was authorized to subdue.

ABDA involved just four nations in 1942. Those four nations squabbled over tactics and who should be in charge. Their communication systems, training, and ships didn’t mesh into cohesive fighting units. They hadn’t planned and trained together to fight a common enemy. They weren’t prepared.

As a result, in 1942 the British surrendered Singapore and 70,000 troops in Malaya to the Japanese. The Dutch lost their East Indies Empire, two cruisers and all seven destroyers in their far eastern fleet. Australia lost fighting men and the HMAS Perth, a modern light cruiser. And the United States lost the Philippines, thousands of fighting men, the USS Pope, a World War I vintage destroyer and the USS Houston, a modern, heavy cruiser, one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s favorite warships.

ABDA’s inability to stop the Japanese in 1942 wasn’t due to any deficiencies in the fighting men from the four Allied nations. Chris Droste, a harbor pilot at Tjilatjap on the southern coast of Java in 1942, wrote in his book, Till Better Days, that the American and Allied sailors were far from demoralized before the battles. Knowing that the odds were stacked against them, “…they went as hounds to a hunt, agitated only that they might miss the opening clash.”

Desert Storm’s success as a unified command in 1991 is a testimonial to the heroism and sacrifice of ABDA soldiers, airmen and sailors. It was in the waters around Java, on Javanese beaches and in the air over Java in the first three months of 1942 that the Allies learned that cooperation in training, that standard equipment, and communications were required to defeat a powerful and determined enemy.

That knowledge enabled 28 nations, led by the US under the UN banner, to defeat Iraqi aggression in Kuwait. President George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney ignored this valuable lesson when they launched the US attack on Iraq in 2003. The UN didn’t authorize the strike, wasn’t authorized by the American people because of the lies they were fed, wasn’t supported by enough armed forces and wasn’t supported by most of our Allies.

It has been a disaster, launched by men who have never served in the active armed forces (and did everything they could to be sure of that), have never studied military history and have never failed to use deception to get their way.

World War II ‘Spy in the Sky’ dies

Jean L. Chase, the author of The Grasshopper That Roared, published by Southfarm Press in 2005, died on February 11, 2008, at age 86. He was born June 16, 1921, in McMinnville, Oregon. He served in the Army for 20 years and saw service in the Pacific as an L-4 Piper Cub artillery spotter pilot during World War II. He served in Korea after that.

I was going through papers involved with the publication of his book looking for material about Jean that I could share with you about him. We had talked many times on the phone in 2005 before our publication of his book that November. I came across his suggested epilogue for his book, most of which we didn’t use. Now that he is gone, it seems like his own words are the fitting epilogue for him personally.

‘The Army was good to me. It taught me self-discipline, how to approach a problem in a logical sequence and that there is no job you cannot accomplish. But most of all it taught me how to think.

‘I can’t say that I enjoyed every minute of my service, but there were many exciting and beautiful things that I experienced. After retirement, I observed many young men working in banks and business that would be stuck in that position for the rest of their lives. The same old thing every day. I pondered how much of life would they miss?

‘I was afforded the opportunity to see a large part of the world. My education, from a flying standpoint, operating in the mountains, desert, jungle and the flat land of Mid-America, was invaluable to me as a pilot. I learned the hazards of the thunderstorms in the south, the heat and cold of the desert and the high humidity of the jungle that could produce a quart of water in half-filled gas tank overnight.

‘These were things we learned that helped keep us alive, and sometimes we learned them the hard way.

‘I was just an ordinary guy that got up in the morning, went out to my little old Piper Cub and then took off on a combat mission, like hundreds of other pilots in those horrible days of the war. The purpose was primary in mind at all times. I was going to work.

‘I have awakened in the morning at home since my retirement, sat on the edge of the bed and thought, ‘What if today, I had to go out and climb into a plane and take off, knowing full well that I would be shot at that morning.’

‘A chill would go up my spine.

‘Whenever I would get a little skittish about flying a combat mission, I would think about that poor infantry guy on the ground who was depending on me to keep the enemy artillery from firing by just flying around overhead. That was pretty easy to do, compared to what the soldier faced on the ground.

‘The advancement in Army Aviation has been tremendous since World War II. But Army pilots should never lose sight of the fact that their only reason for being is for the guy on the ground that takes the real estate.

‘I knew deep down, when I retired, that I would probably not ever fly again. I love it, but my experience in Mississippi where I had some close associations with civilian pilots, taught me that flying now and then on weekends was not for me. I knew how much you lost when you only flew occasionally and I knew how sharp you could be when you flew almost every day.

‘The things I prized most, that I received from my short 18 years as a Liaison Pilot and Army Aviator, is not the decorations or the satisfaction of fighting for my country. It is the friendships I have made and the comradeship I received during those wonderful years. You always knew that you were never alone.

‘My comrades and I will meet again at that high Cub Strip in the sky that is open both ends, full, with no potholes to dodge or ditches along the sides, where the wind is never gusty, it is always straight down the runway, and the sun never stops shining.

‘When my granddaughter Heather was seven years old, she asked me if I would drive her and a friend to a birthday party. As we were waiting outside the friend’s house, a civilian model of the L-17 flew across the sky in front of us. I commented that I had stolen that type of aircraft in the Army.

‘When the little friend came out to the car, we started for the birthday party. Out of a clear blue sky, my granddaughter suddenly spoke.

”You know my granddad was a good pilot when he was flying in the Army.’

”How would you know? You weren’t even around when he was flying,’ the friend replied, looking down her nose at Heather.

‘Heather looked her straight in the eye when she answered.

”He’s alive isn’t he?”

And May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

The Hunger Games introduces us to the post-apocalyptic dystopia that is Panem. Controlled by the Capitol, the twelve surrounding districts are separated into classes and pitted against each other in an annual fight-to-the-death tournament where two children from each region have to participate. Told through the eyes of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games follows the story of the 74th Annual Hunger Games, where Katniss learns there is more to the Hunger Games than what meets the eye.

The book begins on the day of the reaping: the day when the tributes from each district are chosen via lottery at a formal ceremony. When the speeches are done, and the tributes are called, Katniss is terrified to hear her sister’s name and immediately steps up to take her place. The male tribute, they all learn, is Peeta Mellark, Katniss’ schoolmate when she was younger who had given her bread on a day she thought she could’ve died from hunger. The rest of the book then follows the story of Katniss and Peeta Mellark – the tributes from District 12 – in their attempt at survival against all other tributes.

It is in the Arena that Katniss finds that the Hunger Games is merely a game – entertainment value to the people of the Capitol and the only way to survive is to manipulate her way through it. Faking feelings for her co-tribute, Peeta – who admitted in an interview that he had had feelings for Katniss since they were kids – Katniss wins over the Capitol by making them believe that she and Peeta are “star-crossed lovers.”

Over the course of the tournament, the Capitol falls in love with their tandem and are ultimately moved by Katniss’ and Peeta’s Romeo and Juliet act as they hold hands and decide to take their lives as an act of true love. The Gamemaker is enraged and sees this as an act of rebellion, but the Capitol’s excitement cannot be contained.

The book ends with Katniss caught in the dilemma of returning to her old, hunter life with Gale or staying in the fake relationship with Peeta for the Capitol, who is now going to be watching her every move.

This controversial book by Suzanna Collins is the first of the critically acclaimed trilogy and is now available on all digital mediums, just click here for the audiobooks.

The Search for the Best Romance Novel

The Fifty Shades Trilogy became extensively famous around the globe since the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, was published in 2011. The books’ focus on topics related to sexual encounters, love, and BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism) have become the primary attractions for its readers, making it the best seller that it is today. The books – which include Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed – are said to have sold over 100 million copies internationally.

Erika Leonard “E.L.” James is the author of the Fifty Shades Trilogy. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work, including: Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” (2012), Publishers Weekly’s “Publishing Person of the Year”, and the National Book Award’s “Popular Fiction Book of the Year” and “Book of the Year” in 2012. Her work first gained attention as a fanfiction of Twilight Saga, which she wrote under the pen name “Snowqueens Icedragon” and which she referred to as a “reflection of her mid-life crisis and her fantasies.” EL James was a television executive before her big break as an author, and she is married to screenwriter and director Niall Leonard.

Aside from its popularity in digital format, Fifty Shades Trilogy is also a favorite among audiobooks, which you can download here. It’s not difficult to understand why; after all, who wouldn’t want to hear Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, particularly during their most intimate moments? Producing the trilogy in audiobook format has become a massive hit as it gives life to the characters, and helps the readers to take their imaginations one step higher, thus giving them the full impact of every word written. The three books are also available on Kindle as an e-book, giving the readers the convenience to have a copy of the books wherever they go, anytime they want.

The books are such a massive success that the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey will be released in less than a year. Fans of the books are all going gaga over the teasers posted on the internet, and a lot of debate and guessing have been done before the cast was revealed. The movie adaptation has provided a new stir for the books’ audience, and it is sure to draw the attention even of those who have not read the books. If the books – where the sex them had to be read – became such a huge success, then there is no doubt that the movie will become a sure blockbuster hit.

All About the Harry Potter Audio Books

Harry Potter is a fantasy-novel penned by British writer J. K. Rowling. It is a series of seven books, each one a narrative of every year that Harry Potter spends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Central to the plot is Harry’s attempts to defeat Lord Voldemort. Lord Voldemort is the dark wizard whose principal objective is to achieve immortality, triumph over all wizards, subdue ordinary human beings, and wipe out everyone who tries to foil his objectives – Harry Potter in particular.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the very first novel which was released to the reading public in June 1997. To say that the book was well-received is an understatement. The novel became immensely popular, capturing the imagination of readers all over the world. It was not just commercially successful; it received quite a lot of praise and recognition from critics, as well. It has since become one of the most sensational best-sellers of all time, translated into close to a hundred languages due to strong and exacting requests from readers across the globe. The series seems to respond to readers’ enthusiastic interest in adventure-mystery-romance.

Every single one of the series has been released in a digital version, which can be found at Harry Potter HQ when you visit the website. The audiobook formats are receiving quite a following both in the UK and in the U.S.A.

The story has been adapted for the full screen by Warner Bros. Pictures – the film series raking in money as blockbusters, breaking all previous sales records. It has also sparked many related Harry Potter-inspired products and merchandise – all fast sellers. It has also generated video-games.

J. K. Rowling has become spectacularly rich because of Harry Potter – the book as well as the other merchandise it has inspired. She has also received a series of noteworthy honors because of it.

In the Diverse World of Divergent PDF

For e-book lovers, Divergent PDF will often be the preferred choice when trying to enjoy the book of the same title that was initially written by novelist Veronica Roth. There should hardly be any different especially when it comes to the plot of the story.

In Divergent PDF, just like in the book version, the reader is presented with the story of Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior, a young 16-year old living in what remains of the city of Chicago shortly after the great war. Under her present society, people have been grouped into five different factions depending on their one defining trait. Thus, selfless people were consolidated under the Abnegation party, the brave fell under the Dauntless, those found to possess honesty were called the Candor, people who prefer a peaceful way of life were referred to as the Amity, and intelligent people were singled out as the Erudite.

As a teenager on the verge of adulthood, Tris is required by existing laws to choose the group where she has to live the rest of her life eventually. However, before she can determine her defining trait, Tris finds out that she possesses three different aptitudes or qualities. She soon discovers that she is Divergent, and this is where her conflict begins.

The novel has been highly successful as its theme catered to a generally large population, that of the young adults. Given this, it was inevitable that Divergent had to be compared with several other written works that touched on the same theme, including The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series.

Additionally, the novel has found its way to the silver screen where many Divergent fanatics were thrilled to see their heroes coming to life. Before the film version, though, the e-book or digital format, particularly Divergent PDF, also enjoyed immense popularity. This is especially true for those versions that are being watched on Kindle as the device works well with most mobile units.

Review of Looking for Alaska eBook

Thanks to the well-received feature film of ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ people know about John Green now more than ever. But as popular as that title is, another of his works, Looking for Alaska, is gaining momentum for being a poignant and truthful story all on its own.

Looking for Alaska is a Young Adult novel that follows Miles Halter as he attends a boarding school in Alabama for the first time. There he meets friends and, in particular, the stunning, enigmatic and self-destructive Alaska Young. She whisks him away into a world of danger and discovery, romance and literature. It’s not long before Miles is head over heels in love. But this is far from a typical teen romance. One night, Alaska is suddenly killed in a car accident. Miles and his companion, Chip, suspect she may have killed herself. They delve into the circumstances of her death to solve the mystery of both the accident and the girl herself no matter how much it may hurt to find out the truth. How well do we love people? How well do we see them? What does it take to know the whole of a person? These questions and more are explored to their obvious truth by the ever-talented John Green.

The book skyrocketed in popularity across all formats because of Fault in Our Stars. The Looking for Alaska PDF, ePUB, MOBI, and any other digital/ebook type you can think of has sold both amazingly and consistently well. It has been praised for its sensitivity, depth, compelling characters and heartbreaking honesty. Green has an almost certain knack for capturing the inner minds and hearts of teenagers the world over. And when you look at his massive popularity among that exact demographic, it’s hard to argue. Looking for Alaska is available wherever books are sold.