Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Berenson’s ‘The Shadow Patrol’: A review

I read most of Alex Berenson’s ‘The Shadow Patrol’ on a flight from Philadelphia to Manchester, England, across the Atlantic Sea. It’s the first “post-Osama” novel I’ve read, which gave it an extra fillip. He occasionally gets military stuff slightly wrong, which was a slight distraction. Here are some of the lines I liked: –“Terror ...

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I read most of Alex Berenson's 'The Shadow Patrol' on a flight from Philadelphia to Manchester, England, across the Atlantic Sea.

It's the first "post-Osama" novel I've read, which gave it an extra fillip. He occasionally gets military stuff slightly wrong, which was a slight distraction.

Here are some of the lines I liked:

I read most of Alex Berenson’s ‘The Shadow Patrol’ on a flight from Philadelphia to Manchester, England, across the Atlantic Sea.

It’s the first “post-Osama” novel I’ve read, which gave it an extra fillip. He occasionally gets military stuff slightly wrong, which was a slight distraction.

Here are some of the lines I liked:

–“Terror and boredom, the twin poles of infantry duty.” Yes, a familiar thought, but expressed quite succinctly here.

–The CIA view of the world. “We killed Osama. And no civilian casualties in the op. Not one. Ten years since 9/11 and no real attacks on American soil. Not even jerks with AKs lighting up a mall. We’ve kept our people safe.”

–Pakistani duplicity. “Truths might be told in Quetta, but never on purpose.”

–On the American public’s lack of interest in our wars. “You go to a bar, guys buy you a round, ask about what you’re doing. But if you tell them, their eyes glaze over. It’s too far away, confusing. Plus they’re ashamed about it because they’re getting drunk in college, mommy and daddy paying the bills, and you’re putting your butts on the line for them every day. They don’t want to think about it.”

–On today’s American generals: “No one ever got stars on his collar by taking chances.”

I’d also be interested in knowing if Joby Warrick thinks of the book. I will ask him.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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