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SKYBIRD:
Dale Brown’s Ops Report
Copyright © 2004, TDPI

SKYBIRD: Dale Brown’s Ops Report
Copyright © 2004, Target Direct Productions Inc.

December 2004

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all my readers!

TACTICAL DOCTRINE: A question of Legitimacy

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Of course it does.

If an election is held but some eligible voters decide not to vote because they are opposed to something or other, because they feel they are “marginalized” because they are a minority, or because thugs in their neighborhood have incited fear, is it still an election?

Of course it is.

The planned elections in Iraq are important to the United States because it is believed that if the Iraqi people themselves form a government, the insurgency will die down or be put down by a people anxious to get their country back to normal, which will decrease (but not eliminate) the security requirement—the United States and its ever-decreasing Coalition partners can concentrate on rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure and securing its borders rather than policing the cities trying to put down guerrilla insurgents.

There are several different types of insurgents in Iraq: Shi’ite clerics, some supported by Iran or Syria, using armed thugs (what the media calls their “followers”) to assert power; former Ba’ath party members who have nothing left but anger; cowardly Republican Guard fighters who ran at the first sign of American troops but who now prefer to take cover in mosques and schools and use roadside bombs, even if it means killing hundreds of their own people; and even some foreign fighters responding to the call to “jihad” and itching for a chance to kill an American in the name of Allah.

These various factions existed in Iraq for centuries, but for the past thirty years they were controlled or repressed by the Ba’athists and Saddam Hussein. Foreign fighters are not new in Iraq: Saddam used fighters from friendly Arab nations such as Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, and Egypt during his almost ten year-long battle with Iran. Support for fundamentalist Muslim factions in Iraq is also not new: post-Islamic revolutionary Iran actively supported Shi’ite clerics in Iraq who wanted to throw off the secular Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein.

What is new is the West’s reaction to the various insurgencies. For some inexplicable reason, many commentators are suggesting that if ANY group, no matter how small or violent, is in any way “marginalized” during the election process, the elections and therefore whatever government is formed in the process is invalid.

This is utter nonsense. The Ba’athist insurgents WANT a delay and hopefully even a cancellation of the elections in order to postpone the inevitable takeover of the government by a more moderate, pro-American version. They’ve enjoyed power over the past two decades because of Saddam’s brutality, and now they’re afraid of payback. The Ba’athists aren’t being marginalized—they’re trying to disrupt the election process in the hopes of somehow holding onto power.

Same with the Sunni Muslim minority. If the majority Shi’ite clerics are placed in a position of power in the new government, they may begin a systematic program of repression against the Sunni minority, possibly with the help of outside forces such as the Iranians. They are doing everything possible to avoid that.

All of this is typical and expected in any democratic election. The United States and the interim Iraqi government should do everything possible to ensure the elections are fair, open, and legal. But no one can GUARANTEE anything. Ultimately it is the Iraqi people who must decide what kind of government they want. Will the people allow bands of thugs to disrupt any attempt at democratic elections? How long will the citizens put up with roadside bombs, gunfights in the streets, and constant fear of terror and looting in their neighborhoods?

It would definitely not be in America’s interests to have a cleric-led government or, worse, and Iran-like theocracy take hold in Iraq. But the Iraqi people can’t afford to sit back and hope for the best. The United States as the occupying force is already on the defensive in Iraq—it can’t police everything. It is also in America’s best interest to get out of Iraq as soon as possible, but only after doing our best to ensure our security and safety. What sort of government is there when we do leave is not up to us.

Only the Iraqi people will make that determination.

INTELLIGENCE REPORT:

Iran: Pyongyang on the Persian Gulf

Give all the credit in the world to the government in Tehran: they are twisting the Brits, the French, and the Germans expertly around their upraised middle finger.

After REPEATED violations of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sanctions, the three aforementioned members of the European Union, known as the EU3, hammered out a so-called “agreement” with Iran to stop enriching uranium. On more than one occasion over the past six months, after just making an agreement in Vienna, the government in Tehran changed the terms; then, after finally agreeing to the terms, they publicly denounced the agreement, said it was only temporary, and insisted that they had the right to do whatever they felt like doing anyway.

All this wrangling has been going on for most of 2004, and while the EU3 haggles and Tehran stonewalls, the Iranian military continues refining uranium and reverse-engineering a nuclear device from weapons it purchased from the Soviet Union years ago. The Iranians took several pages from North Korea’s foreign policy and negotiation playbook: threaten and violate until the situation looks bad, then promise to negotiate.

The only reason Tehran is even bothering to speak with the EU3: it fears retaliation by the United States, at best in the form of a resolution and trade sanctions from the United Nations Security Council, and at worst an attack by the thousands of American tanks and armored vehicles ready to go in Iraq and by an Israeli Air Force with itchy bomb release fingers.

The U.S. doesn’t have the manpower to attack Iran, you say? You think we’re too weak, too spent, too exhausted, and too extended to take on another Middle East country? I think that’s exactly what we WANT the world to think. The U.S. military brought down Saddam’s regime in three weeks and put down an insurgency in a city of over three hundred thousand people with a force of just ten thousand troops in just one week—they will have little problem with the Iranians…

…and that’s even before the Israeli Air Force gets into the fight.

Yet with all of Tehran’s obfuscations, my favorite newspaper to hate, the New York Times’ editorial page, calls Iran’s latest agreement “the best available alternative,” and they call upon the United States to “overcome its suspicions,” agree to never attack Iran, stop calling Iran names like “axis of evil,” and come up with some “explicit incentives,” such as giving Iran access to nuclear fuel from other countries, fuel that can only be used in so-called “light-water reactors” that cannot process weapons-grade material.

This is a perfect example of John Kerry and Bill Clinton foreign policy negotiations; a perfect example of how we got into the mess we’re in now with North Korea and are now threatening to do so again with Iran: give in and hope everyone will do the right thing. Kumbaya. Can’t we all just get along?

Iran wants trade agreements with Europe? OK, but on one condition: you must buy fuel for your nuclear reactors from us! We don’t want them to use centrifuges to enrich uranium? Instead of having them destroy the centrifuges, let’s put a camera on them! That’ll show them how tough we are!

Prospects of any concerted international action in the future are slim to none. Two of the members of the EU3 that were trying to negotiate with Iran, Great Britain and France, have veto power in the United Nations Security Council; Russia, who has sold lots of weapons and possibly two nuclear warheads to Iran, has veto power; China, who has sold ballistic missile technology and probably facilitated the construction of Iran’s nuclear program (through its alliance with Pakistan), also has veto power. If any of those countries don’t believe we’ve negotiated long enough with Iran, they may veto any resolution proposed by the United States to sanction them.

The logic of Iran developing a nuclear program of any kind is mystifying. Iran needs electricity from nuclear power plants like the United States needs more coal, corn, or bad Hollywood action movies—they are an exporter of oil and natural gas. The only possible reason they want a nuclear capability is to become a regional force—like North Korea, they want something that makes others in the world fear them.

Iran completely ignores the experience of ex-member of the Axis of Evil, Libya. Just months after giving up its own nuclear weapons program, European nations and the United States are falling over themselves to reopen trade relations with Libya, tap Libya’s considerable oil reserves, and even set up tourism and cultural exchanges. Prime ministers from Britain and Italy were fairly pushing and shoving each other to get to be the first European leaders to visit Muhammar Qaddafi after sanctions were lifted.

The prospect of Iran with the capability to build even a few nuclear devices a year is fearsome and cannot be allowed to continue. Iran’s chance to make a deal, a REAL deal, with the West is dwindling. After what we’ve gone through in Iraq, the United States will not sit still and allow another strategically important yet ideologically-opposed regime develop nuclear weapons.

The EU3, the world, and the New York Times can’t have it both ways. President Bill Clinton tried the carrot approach to dealing with the North Koreans and failed miserably. The only tactic that will work with some nations is the stick. I’m sure Iran knows this: the problem is, some members of the so-called European Union, along with my buddies at the New York Times, don’t.

POST-STRIKE ANALYSIS: Responses to mail from Readermail@DaleBrown.info

6 November 2004

Dear Dale,

Off of the top of my head I must admit that I am a Honorably Discharged navy puke. Perhaps that explains why, years ago, I read Flight of The Old Dog, and just did'nt pick up another Brown novel until about 10 weeks ago. Wandering through my local library, in a really small community in northwest Montana, I was desperatly trying to find something that would not just entertain but truely capture my attention. Well sir, you've done it! As far as I can tell, since that fatefull day I have read well, everything you have written. I'm sure you have heard the expression "Golfers widow", I think that your writting has given the use of bookworm a whole new meaning. All kidding aside, I have found you stories and charectors concise, intreging, exciting and detailed beyound belief. I have always been a fan of novelists whos creations are founded on intrigue, espionage or milatarily based stories. You sir, in my humble opinion, have taken your adventures to new heights that all other writers of fiction should honestly aim for. So this is just a note saying thanks for all the great work and an apology for not enjoying it sooner. Eagerly awaiting the next book.

Thanks for the great e-mail!

Next to using too many swear words, my second-biggest criticism of my work is that I’m too pro-Air Force and too anti-all other military services; in particular, I have a habit of using less-than-flattering terminology to describe members of other services, such as “squids” or “pukes.”

Why do I do this?

The easiest and most politically-correct answer is that the main ingredient of any dramatic work is Conflict, and a built-in conflict in any military story is the rivalry between the services.

Now for the REAL reason: I abhor the old ways of doing things, and I think the U.S. Air Force leads the way in developing technologies and tactics to fight wars better. I am dismayed when the “graybeards” try to impose their outdated ways on this generation or the next using the pretext of “joint operations”—that is, all of the services should cooperate and work together when fighting any conflict.

When it comes to 21st century warfighting—space, precision-guided weapons, information technology, and flexible response--I believe the Air Force leads the way; even when using Cold War-era technologies, such as the subsonic heavy bomber, the Air Force has learned to adapt that technology to fight better and more efficiently, such as using those old bombers to deliver high-tech precision-guided munitions. The other services are adapting as well, but I believe the Air Force is getting it done better.

The Air Force is also trying to lead the way in transforming the force to a leaner, meaner fighting machine, but I believe it’s being hampered by the other services who are willing to sacrifice innovations for their own bigger piece of the pie in the name of “jointness.”

That’s wrong, I’m irked by it, and I say so in my books.

7 November 2004

Hello.

I've read all of you books, as they came out, in hard cover from Flight of the Old Dog to Plan of Attack. Then went to the Dreamland series and just finished "Strike Zone". Some questions that I have is: The last I read of General Brad Elliot was in "Fatal Terrain" were he told Nancy Cheesier to Eject and supposedly flew a megafortress in. Then in "Strike Zone", after at least five books he's in Brunei as a retired General...Did I miss a chapter where he was reincarnated? And is Patrick McClanahan going to stay retired? With all the technology available at Dreamland: Seems like someone can rewire the nerves in Zen Stockards legs to make him move like a triathlon runner. …I have read your books in such places as Barrow, & Deadhorse, Alaska, San Juan, PR, and Miami, Fl., during my time off from working in those Flight Service Stations. Even picked up a copy of "The Tin Man" when I passed thru Sacremento Airport when it first hit the bookselves. After taking a Viking Yangtze River cruise in April 2004 I'm not sure they're the bad guys anymore, but I'm sure the world will have another bad guy wanting to start a war for some reason somewhere. Keep up the good work!!

The “Dreamland” series of books co-written by myself and Jim DeFelice take place after the events in “Day of the Cheetah,” when Dreamland has been threatened with closure as a result of the Kenneth Francis James spy incident. So the “Dreamland” series is a series of “prequels” and don’t chronologically follow my other books.

7 November 2004

Dear Mr. Brown,

First of all, I have to say that like most of your readers, I absolutely love your books, including the "Dreamland" series. Would it be possible to detail in an OPs report how your collaborative effort with Mr. DeFelice works?

Second, my question to you reflects on your use of robotic aircraft. With the technology now available to us, and with the capabilities demonstrated so far with armed Predators and such, just how soon do you expect the real-life version of the Flighthawk to be available? Or should I say, revealed?

Third, whatever happened to the filmed version of Air Battle Force? I checked out the Variety listing, but that was 2 years ago.

Again, like all the rest of your fans, I can't wait until your next story hits the book racks. I was very glad when the "Dreamland" series came about, as it filled a need (gave us Brown junkies a fix?) between stories.

Health to you and your family.

Thanks for your question about the “ Dreamland” series. I’m happy and proud to gush on one enormous talent named Jim DeFelice.

Jim is the real creative genius behind “Dreamland.” I take partial credit for the basic plot of each story, a few of the characters and technologies, and a little bit of the editing work—the rest is all Jim DeFelice. His name belongs over mine in each one of these books.

Second question: Unmanned aircraft technology is definitely the wave of the future. I do continuous research on the topic and yet I think I’m many years behind the actual state of the art.

I read about the capabilities of unmanned aircraft and cruise missiles similar to “Flighthawks” many years ago, and I’m certain their capabilities are even more incredible today and increase exponentially every year.

Third: the film rights to “Air Battle Force” were optioned by New Millennium Entertainment years ago but never executed. I still own all of the visual media rights (film, TV, video) to my works, including the “Dreamland” series

7 November 2004

Hi Dale,

As a Royal Air Force veteran I enjoy all of your books but I must explain, one thing. If we had ever got our hands on B52 perhaps it would have ended up as a megafortress, I refer to the modification we carried out on the Phantom & the H24. Looking forward to the next story.

I’m doing a lot of research on new technologies for the next book, and I’m amazed by the amount of cutting-edge work done by the Brits and Aussies. These nations do incredible work considering the relative difference in the size of our populations and economies!

10 November 2004

How are you? Its a pleasure to be writing to you! I just finished listening to The Tin Man on cassette. It was very exciting! After listening to the first two cassettes, I knew the book was going to be fascinating. On a scale of one to five with five being excellent, You get a five! I simply could not stop listening! I felt like I was actually living the book! Your style of writing is very compelling! Your narrator did an outstanding job. His variety of languages and characters was very stimulating! I want to also give him on a scale of one to five with five being excellent, a five! Your web site Mr. Brown is very enjoyable and I will be listing to more of your books in the future! Thanks

The reader of the Random House audiobook version of “The Tin Man” is Victor Garber, who starred in the motion picture “Titanic” and stars in the TV series “Alias.” He is one heck of a dramatic reader.

11 November 2004

Dear Mr. Brown,

Hi! I am a fan of your books especially Air Battle Force. I love the beginning were the two bombers (B-1 I think) go to destroy the enemy, run low on fuel, and have to crash land without permission. Oh! Also I'm 12 and want to join the Air Force, I want to become an officer and get to fly a F-22 Raptor. See my dad was in the Air Force 7 years ago as an airplane electrician. That is why I want to join and also for the thrills. Another thing I wanted to ask was how old are you and I have the 7th grade writing test that is March 1, any tips to help me?

First: I am a LOT older than you! ‘Nuff said!

My best advice on writing: don’t be afraid to use your imagination. The old saying is that there are only a handful of themes in the world that writers employ, but it is the individual’s imagination that makes a story special and unique.

The difficulty is that writing from the soul can be very personal and revealing, and some folks are afraid to unlock those little secrets of our inner thoughts, fears, and desires and let others read about them. The best writers do it.

Don’t be afraid to let your emotions free! Sounds weird to be saying that to a seventh grader, but that is how great writers are made!

13 November 2004

Dale,

I am currently deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I am an avid reader of your books and have read all up to Tin Man. Just wanted to let you know I have passed the time in the combat zone reading to see what possible adventure Patrick McLanahan can go through next.

Keep up the good work and I would like to fly a Flag and one of your books over combat here in an F-16 if you would like.

Thanks again!

I’d trade all the books you or your fellow soldiers in the field want for a photo of one of my books in the cockpit of your jet! Thanks!

17 November 2004

Congratulations on creating once again an incredibly rivoting story. I just recently picked up your latest novel and I only have one problem with it... you make your stories so rivoting that I can't put them down! I read Plan of Attack in one sitting and loved it! Keep up the great work.

On an aside, I was wondering how excited you feel when you see some of the "fiction" ideas in your novels come to light in real life. Currently, I am refering to "First Light," the modified Boeing-747 that just recently fired its first blast from an air-born laser. While it was only a fraction of a second burst, it is still none-the-less an important achievement. I know you get a lot of your ideas from current events and technologies, but it still must be exciting to see them come to light.

Again, keep up the great writing and story-telling.

A life-time fan...

Guys and gals, you have NO IDEA how excited I am to see advanced drawing-board-only technology that I researched and then wrote about years ago actually become real: GPS, terrain-comparison navigation, “brilliant” cruise missiles, sensor-fuzed weapons, voice-command technology, supercruise (supersonic flight without afterburners), supercockpit technology, space-based radar and lasers, scramjets, long-range TV-guided munitions, airborne lasers, plasma weapons, and much more—all technologies that were not yet in widespread use or not yet deployed when I wrote about them in a novel.

17 November 2004

I would like to personally thank you for writing such interesting books. When I was away in Electronic Warfare school for the Air Force I began reading your books almost by accident. I wold find myself bored out of my mind on breaks, and I saw that some people brought books with them. One weekend I decided to go to a book store get a book. I saw something that looked interesting and I thought hmmm this sounds good. I read Fatal Terrain first before even knowing their was a whole series before and after it.I liked it so much I read three more books before I graduated EW school. Your books are actually very good for someone going through a school such as mine to be reading. It must of been truly something to have been a bomber pilot cause you certainly describe it well in every book I read. On my vacation to Myrtle Beach I read two of your books Flight of the Old Dog and Strike Zone just while I was traveling to and from the beach. I plan on reading all of your books, but with college and work it will take some time. I just would like to thank you again for all your hard work in writing these amazing stories.

Wow! Thanks for the great e-mail!

18 November 2004

I'd just like to say what a great fan I am of your work, of which I have read almost all. I'm an ultralight pilot myself, nothing like Buffs or Aardvarks for sure, but it's still good old stick and ruder flying! Apart from flying being my lifelong dream, I am also an aspiring writer, though I have not attempted publishing anything yet. I'm still organizing some ideas I have running around in my head - one day I'll just get my stuff sorted out and put pen to paper. I run an ultralight web site here in Malta (small island 100km due south of Sicily) - it would be a great honour for our club if you could sign our guestbook, perhaps write a few words there too when you have the time. The site's address is at the end of this email.

Thanks for the e-mail!

I had the pleasure and thrill of flying ultralight aircraft back in the early 1980’s. I’m sure the Air Force would have screamed bloody murder if they knew I was doing it—especially after witnessing some of my landings (which some referred to as “sudden yard sales”)! I did water takeoffs and landings, chased cattle, and mistakenly flew through the approach paths of many airports.

The nice thing about those early ultralights is that there is only one airspeed to know—25 knots. They take off cruise, glide, and land at 25 knots. I’ve crashed bicycles going faster than I ever flew in an ultralight!

I had fun, but I don’t miss flying those things and would recommend anyone interested in recreational flying in the U.S. to check out the new FAA Sport Pilot license. You’ll get some great training, don’t need an FAA physical exam, fly real airplanes to real airports, and you’ll be able to transition easily to a regular private pilot’s license if you so desire.

THE EB-52 MEGAFORTRESS... click image to enlarge...
[THE EB-52 MEGAFORTRESS] 23 November 2004

Greetings!

I just recieved the coolest birthday present I have ever recieved. Thank you so much for signing the books My Girfriend sent to you. I knew It was "Something to do with Dale Brown", but this blew me away! I have been reading your books since I borrowed Night of the Hawk From Staff Sgt Vincent Lobello whom I worked with while I was with the California National Guard, and whom you mentioned in the acknowledgments of that book for showing you around the AH-1 Cobra. After Night of the Hawk I had to go chase down Flight of the Old Dog , and all of the other ones. I hope you continue this series for a very very long time. I was wondering if we will ever see A Dale Brown novel made into a movie? I think It would be an incredible movie. I can only imagine the special effects. One last question before I go. When you designed the Megafortress, did you ever wonder if it could really fly if one were to be modified to your specs? was just curious. Once again thank you so much for helping Wendi make this a very very cool birthday.

It was my pleasure to help your girlfriend with your birthday surprise.

The EB-52 Megafortress was based on several different modifications of the B-52 “test bed” aircraft, testing advanced engines, stealth technology, composite structures, communications, self-defense, and weapons. I just combined all the mods I saw into one bird!

24 November 2004

Dale,

Just a note indicating my appreciation of your books. I'm just a common reader who was in the USAF '59-'63 and worked on the fire control systems (tail turret) on the 52's, 47's and 66's. That was back in the days of vacuum tubes and discrete components - no solid state stuff. I can relate with the aircraft and thoroughly enjoy your tales.

Thanks,

Thanks for reading and taking the time to write!

28 November 2004

Dale -

I just finished Plan of Attack this afternoon, and wanted to thank you for what I think is one of your best works in a long time. The past 2 or 3 books got a little deep into the political plot-making for my tastes and didn't dive straight into the pure-action rollercoaster rides of your first several books, but once I got about half-way through Plan of Attack I couldn't put it down! Thanks for a great read -- actually thanks for the last 12 or 14 books you've done - I have every one of them in hardback. Someone has got to pay for that plane of yours! Ha.

I'm a instrument-rated private pilot here in Dallas.... I don't get much time to fly in this job, but after reading your books I feel like I should (almost) be logging some time!

Glad to see you have a new deal with Harper Collins. If you have a mailing list, please add me to it - I'd be glad to come if you do PR or book signings around the Dallas area.

Keep up the good work!

Thanks for the e-mail. I haven’t done any flying for the past several months (other than flying a Beech Baron 58 in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 on the computer), and I’ll have to retrain when I’m ready to fly again. Maybe a week at Simcom Orlando this spring for initial training in a new plane. Can’t wait!

Thanks for reading and sending your e-mail! Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

GBA, Dale Brown
www.DaleBrown.info

Click here for more on Plan Of Attack!

[AMAZON.COM]
Get Plan Of Attack At Amazon.Com!

Plan Of Attack (MAY 2004)

The unthinkable is about to happen in this high-flying novel of adventure and suspense.

In Air Battle Force, Dale Brown introduced U.S. Air Force aerial warfare expert Major General Patrick McLanahan and his air combat unit of the future. Armed with a force of these robotic planes, the general and a handful of commandos were secretly deployed to the oil-rich nation of Turkmenistan to stop a Taliban invasion. And though the Americans won the battle, the war is far from over....

To punish McLanahan and his fleet of robot warplanes for their audacity, Russian president General Anatoliy Gryzlov decides to do the unthinkable: a sneak attack on America-unlike anything ever believed possible-that devastates her strategic air forces.

McLanahan has collected information that not only foretold the Russians' daring plan, but also gave him the data he needs to plan a counterstrike that could stop the Russian war machine dead in its tracks. But Patrick is no longer in charge of Air Battle Force, and the Russian sneak attack has left the embattled U.S. president with few options: retaliate with every weapon in his arsenal, even if it triggers a global thermonuclear war, or to a cease fire on Russia's terms...

...or listen to a disgraced and discredited young bomber commander's long-shot plan of attack.

"The novels of Dale Brown brim with violent action, detailed descriptions of sophisticated weaponry and political intrigue... His ability to bring technical weaponry to life is amazing."
--San Francisco Chronicle

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