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This is just one of those moments where you stand back and wonder…..what were they thinking?!?! I played and enjoyed Call of Duty: Black Ops, I reviewed the plot line here on Reflexive Fire and found it to be very original. It tapped into contemporary history and blended it with conspiracy theory to create something fresh and exciting. Hey, sort of sounds like some other fictional work we know of… Moving on. Call of Duty: Black Ops II is nothing like the first game.
When I saw the trailer I was shocked that they pretty much threw out everything that made Black Ops unique to cash in on yet another silly Future War type video game of which dozens already exist. Call of Duty: Ghost Recon here we come. Drones, oh, so scary! This was definitely a big disappointment for me. It’s been done a million times already.
Now let’s take a quick look at this stellar “documentary” that Black Ops II had made to promo the game:
Well, well, well. Our buddy Ollie and an academic fear mongering and trying to scare the hell out of the public. Hey, it’s big business. In order to drive billion dollar defense contracts you need a reason for them. If there isn’t one, just invent one. Fabricate the political capital needed to drive the contracts and fill the coffers. The direction the Pentagon should be going in is smarter, not harder. We need tactical thinkers who can operate in a decentralized manner. See John Robb and HJ Poole for more on this.
I’m not saying there isn’t any threat from cyber-terrorism. It is something we need to keep an eye on and do a better job of developing defenses against. However, the manbearpig of cyber-terrorism has yet to claim perhaps even a single life. Denial of Service attacks are like setting a flaming bag of dog crap on your neighbor’s front door, ringing the bell, and booking it. Mildly amusing, but not terrorism.
As for the content of the video, exoskeletons? Highly unlikely in our lifetime unless we ramp up our search and development of so-called “free energy”. Cloak of invisibly? I’ve talked to the CEO of HyperStealth about it and he says he can do it right now, $100 a soldier. Directed Energy? I highly suspect that High Powered Microwave weapons have already been used by Israel and the United States to spoof enemy radar systems.
So what about the deinstitutionalization of violence? What about decentralized Infantry operations? About about the collapse of the modern state and the implications that has on warfare? The future of warfare will be post-political, the only real goal being a type of full-auto capitalism rather than people fighting for ideologies. In future wars, franchised hunter/killer cells made up of cartel gunmen, terrorists, or Private Military Company shooters will kill each other for a paycheck with no guiding ideology or strategic goal in mind.
Now that’s a terrifying scenario.
This novel details what is essentially a pilot program run by select members of the CIA. The first Maverick Team is composed of former Special Forces operatives led by a intelligence contractor, Derek, who worked tactical intelligence for Tier-One Special Operations units, giving him the boots on the ground experience needed to lead such a team.
Derek’s team is under the radar and off the books, funded by the black budget and outfitted to be completely deniable. The author’s background in intelligence gathering brings a large degree of authenticity to this work. Having served eight years in Army Special Operations myself I didn’t find any goof ups or gaffes that lesser writers often fall into.
That said, I would question the tactical validity of some of the actions taken by the Maverick Team. For instance, why infiltrate via HALO into Pakistan’s lawless tribal area when the team’s primary Area of Operations is in Afghanistan? There are plenty of drop zones in Afghanistan, and one would need to be established near by for resupply anyhow.
I suppose this is where I have some mixed feelings about The Maverick Experiment. As a novel, I give it five-stars, no questions asked. As a non-fiction field guide I would disagree with much of it. I only mention this because we live in an era where our political leaders quote Jason Borne and Jack Bauer as if they are real people. There is no indication that the author has a similar disconnect between fiction and reality, but I would hate to see people read this book and think that this sort of thing is actually a good idea.
While off-the-books covert action teams are needed, and I completely agree with the author’s assessment that risk aversion is destroying our defense capability, the Maverick Team has an absolute license to kill and maim anyone in their way, to including innocent civilians. As a soldier I was often upset with political correctness, however, I never saw the rules against murder to be prohibitive to us accomplishing our job. There is a lot of middle ground between say, the Rules of Engagement levied on Europeans fighting in Afghanistan, and the kind of “weapons hot” attitude of the Maverick Team.
But as stated above, as a work of fiction, The Maverick Experiment stands out in this genre. The action is authentic and original, including assassinations and a pretty cool jail break from an Afghani prison. The characters could have been a little more fleshed out, but I think that this book is intended to be the first in a series, so perhaps we will learn more about them in the sequel.
If you are looking for a Special Operations or espionage thriller that is a cut above the rest. I’d recommend this work to people who are looking for something with a harder edge. The Maverick Experiment is gritty, hardcore, and brutal. Not for the feeble or weak hearted as they say.