The AK-47 is the world’s most identifiable gun, playing a significant role in every major military conflict in the past fifty years. C.J. Chivers, a Marine veteran and senior New York Times writer, has authored a refreshingly unconventional history of the weapon. Check out Foreign Policy’s extensive interview with him.
Gerald Blaine — the Secret Service Agent assigned to protect President Kennedy at the time of his assassination – has written a memoir. Blaine was protecting President Johnson in the hours after the Kennedy assassination, and writes that he almost mistakenly shot the new president. Spooky stuff.
Terrorism expert Jarret Brachman offers an interesting account of al-Qaeda’s successes in self-promotion using the internet. Brachman’s article features the story of his correspondence with Islamic radical Zachary Chesser, who threatened South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for “representing” Mohammad in a cartoon bear costume on their show. Chesser recently pleaded guilty to three counts of material support of terrorism and will likely spend decades in US prison.
Even in the post-Cold War era, it is well-known that the President is expected to carry launch codes for the US nuclear arsenal at all times. However, General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, alleges that President Clinton lost the codes for a period of months. David Hoffman, a Pulitzer-prize winning author and editor of Foreign Affairs, disputes Shelton’s account.
George W. Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, will soon be released, and an exhibit on his presidency has opened at Southern Methodist University, where his presidential library will be housed. The exhibit hosues 50 items, just a “sliver” of his 42,000 artifacts, 70 million pages of paper records and, 80 terabytes of electronic records.
Last week, journalist Juan Williams was fired from NPR for comments he made on Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor. NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller addressed the move in an internal memo, which has leaked.