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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.
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.