Book Report: Rogue Warrior: Task Force Blue by Richard Marcinko and John Weisman (1997)

Book coverThis book is ripped from the history books and Obama-era law enforcement documents. The opening bit finds Marcinko’s group storming a hijacked plane where the Secretary of the Navy is being held hostage. Marcinko shoots the SecNav’s bodyguard in the process when the bloke draws his gun during the storming, which is the thing that puts the group outside the wire in their ensuing mission.

A billionaire has drawn a following and has recruited a number of ex-military to his organization. He seems to be amassing a large amount of stolen military weapons and distributing them to a wide variety of unsavory groups, from gangs to the militia-style group that hijacked the commercial plane carrying the SecNav in the first place.

The description of the billionaire could be molded to fit Donald Trump:

LC believed we needed a chief of state who was less the poll-driven, touchie-feelie-I-will-never-lie-to-y’all politician, and more like one of those Latin American caudillos–paternalistic, tough dictators like Trujillo or Bautista. There was a part of me that agreed with him. I want a head of state who is decisive–a man who leads from the front. LC certainly did that–he ran his businesses. He didn’t leave ’em to others to run. An in many areas, our philosophies were similar. He argued that we didn’t need a Department of Defense that ran resuce missions in the Third World instead of staying ready for war. I thought so, too. He thought we should lead, not follow, in world affairs. No argument there, either. He was tough on crime, and believed in education. Right on.
Where I got uneasy with LC was in the constitutional area. He never came out and said it in so many words, but it was kind of like he hinted that we didn’t really need the Constitution. I found that downright scary.
But guess what? Current polls showed that many Americans agreed with him–felt that we needed a strong man running the gummint, and to hell with the Constitution.

Of course, in 1997, the template would have been Ross Perot. But one thing these thrillers from the 1990s shows us that the same thing we’ve got going on in the 2010s has been going around and coming around for a long time. You can’t go back as far as the 80s, though, since those were mostly the remnants of the Nazis in the post World War II fat thrillers (although the thin men’s adventure paperbacks often show themes that continue to recur, like Islamic terrorism, as they spread their villany amid those, ex-Nazis, and militia threats).

At any rate, the book does not balance the fourth-wall-breaking expositon well with the action sequences–it has more of the former than the book can bear. Also, it’s a single twist away from being really good–when the Task Force Blue infiltrates the bad guy’s inner sanctum, they find that the general who has been controlling their shots has a new agenda: not neutralizing the threat, but instead putting the threat of civil disorder under the current administration’s control, for its own uses if needed. Which isn’t that much of a twist in the 21st century, where readers kind of expect that from any administration of opposing viewpoint, sadly.

Marcinko has kept writing these books to the current day. Most of what I’ve read comes from the 1990s so far. I wonder what I’ll find once I get into the 21st century books, as I will, probably, if I find them cheap in book sales. My continued interest in the series is the best endorsement of the book that I can provide. It wasn’t bad enough to turn me off to the series.

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