Special Forces

The least-understood branch of our military was born 60 years ago but today is coming into prominence as never before

 

“BUT, DAD, THOSE DON’T LOOK LIKE American soldiers.” My son was right. The bearded young men leaping from a white pickup truck in a TV news clip were dressed in an curious assortment of Western and Afghan garb. Yet even in the few seconds of broadcast images, one could see by their quick, purposeful movements that the newsman’s call was correct: The men securing a forlorn Al Qaeda safe house were U.S.

 
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Spying For The Yanks

The safest, fastest, most convivial operation in the annals of espionage

A little autobiography is needed. I was born a U.S. citizen, in Lenox, Massachusetts, to be precise, and educated in France and England. I therefore speak French with a French accent and English with an English one. Now this is not allowed of Americans. An American can quite legitimately speak with a Latvian, Korean, Irish, German, Italian, or Greek accent and no one cares, you are an okay American. But if you speak with an English one, people ask if you are “really” American.Read more »

The Birth Of The CIA

When and how it got the green light to conduct “subversive operations abroad”

The history of successful ideas is sometimes marked by a trade-off. In his old age General William J. Donovan, founder of the United States intelligence service, may have reflected on the phenomenon. The trade-off goes something like this:

 
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“Our German Wehrmacht Is Being Stopped By A Shadow”

The furious speaker was Field Marshal Kesselring. The time was 1944. And the “shadow” was cast by Italian partisans and a handful of brave Americans from General Bill Donovan’s O.S.S.

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How Papa Liberated Paris

An eyewitness re-creates the wonderful, wacky day in August, 1944, when Hemingway, a handful of Americans, and a senorita named Elena helped rekindle the City of Light. Champagne ran in rivers, and the squeals inside the tanks were not from grit in the bogie wheels

From the war there is one story above others dear to my heart of which I have never written a line—the loony liberation of Paris.

There are reasons for this restraint: a promise once made; the unimportance of trying to be earnest about that which is ludicrous; the vanity of the hope that fact may ever overtake fiction; and the blight of the passing years on faded notes.

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