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Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else by James Meek
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, business continuity plan, call centre, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, Etonian, HESCO bastion, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Martin Wolf, medical bankruptcy, Mikhail Gorbachev, post-industrial society, pre–internet, price mechanism, Right to Buy, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Washington Consensus, working poor
During the four days I spent in Tewkesbury a month later I cycled past the works each day on my way to and from the B&B where I was staying. It was surrounded by a temporary flood barrier built of components I’d last seen in Kandahar in Afghanistan in 2006, where they protected British troops and their allies from attack: textile and steel-mesh bins, filled with sand or earth, made by the Leeds company Hesco Bastion. Edward Shewell’s youngest son, Arthur, a lieutenant-colonel, was killed in Kandahar in 1880, rescuing a wounded comrade outside the Kabul Gate. His father didn’t live long enough to hear about it; he died in 1878, two years after the town commissioners were replaced by a more democratic council and a few months before that same council finally bought the water company out. It would be easy to caricature Edward Shewell and his cronies as corrupt old Tory buccaneers, damning the poor and holding back progress.
Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution in Modern Conflict by Eli Berman, Joseph H. Felter, Jacob N. Shapiro, Vestal Mcintyre
basic income, call centre, centre right, clean water, crowdsourcing, demand response, drone strike, experimental economics, failed state, George Akerlof, Google Earth, HESCO bastion, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, Internet of things, iterative process, land reform, mandatory minimum, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, natural language processing, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, statistical model, the scientific method, trade route, unemployed young men, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey
The medical staff had to establish new procedures for the destination base, including landing zones for helicopters and evacuation routes, with the goal of being able to transport injured soldiers to the main base within sixty minutes—the crucial “golden hour” during which lives are saved or lost. All this was just for a partial or temporary move. Establishing a new base for an entire battalion required more effort and attention to a larger set of considerations. The location had to be accessible by supply lines for ammunition, fuel, food, and water. Engineering support needed to establish a safe perimeter around the base with sandbags, concrete barriers, and HESCO bastions (collapsible wire mesh barriers filled with earth, sand, or gravel). Contractors had to build kitchen and sanitation systems. Troops needed to conduct patrols and get to know the area, which again drained combat power from offensive operations in their prior location. Transferring a heavy, mechanized unit with M1 tanks and Bradleys was slower, more involved, and more prone to fall under attack than was a light infantry or an airborne unit—especially if the move was over more than ten miles.
Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq by Peter R. Mansoor, Donald Kagan, Frederick Kagan
Berlin Wall, central bank independence, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, HESCO bastion, indoor plumbing, land reform, open borders, RAND corporation, Saturday Night Live, zero-sum game
The dismounted reconnaissance through the zone had located and cleared numerous weapons caches and piles of unexploded ordnance. Palm Groves and Blast Barriers 123 Operation Sherman had been tough, dirty, exhausting work, but by the end of September we had all but eliminated the mortar threat to Baghdad Island. The troops moved into climate-controlled tents soon thereafter, whose exteriors we protected with Hesco bastions: prefabricated, wire-reinforced containers ﬁlled with sand. Over the next seven months, Baghdad Island was hit by mortars and rockets on only a handful of occasions, and no soldier living there was killed or seriously wounded by enemy ﬁre. The defensive fortiﬁcations were important, but our oﬀensive operations, engagement with the population, and control of the battlespace around the forward operating base were the best force-protection measures.