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Tactics of the Crescent Moon: Militant Muslim Combat Methods Paperback – 30 Nov 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Posterity Press (NC) (30 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963869574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963869579
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 947,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Tactics of the Crescent Moon Tactics of the Crescent Moon shows for the first time in any detail how Muslim militants fight at short range. From the vast quantities of intelligence available, its author extracts the small-unit tactical trends. While the enemy's combat method may seem amateurish, they are nonetheless very effective in a 4th-generation-warfare environment. Those methods have already forced the Israeli Army out Full description

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As America struggles to bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan, it must remember that this region has hosted cultures much older than its own. Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
This book appears to have been rushed out to meet the public demand for juicy insights into fundamentalist tactics and culture, at the onset of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Really it's just a pastiche of work from other sources. Some of the sources are good, others are questionable. For example much of his views on the fighting in Lebanon are from a newspaper which persistently refers to the Israelis as "Israelis", using inverted commas. Since the same source is the one claiming all sorts of heroic ninja activity on the part of those fighting the Israelis...

Having said that, it's perfectly readable, and certainly no worse than wikipedia.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 April 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read it soon after the Tiger's Way. In some places the book repeats what was in the previous one, but this is understood as there is some kind of overlap in what both books cover.

Unfortunately what I didn't like in the first one, haunts this one too. There are too many quotes (this is majority of the book - well chosen, but still it looks like a collage). The figures in the book sometimes are illegible - they are not always really illustrating the text. They are just there. 1/5 of the book at best are sources and other academic stuff, that (if you carry your book with you where ever you go) just add weight to it.

There are interesting topics - the whole history and the regional context is very well placed.

Recommended? Mainly for military freaks.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 51 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A must read for those who leave the wire 21 Nov. 2006
By Chris Pascale - Published on
Format: Paperback
During seven months in Falluja in 2005 I spent approximately 150 days in the city. The history alone in this book showed us just how much we may have been underestimating our enemies, and that if they followed their classical influences they could have done much more damage.

The history is priceless dating back to influences of the Samarai and how it came to bring the original Middle Eastern assassins, and how today's suicide bombers are like those in the past, only they have explosives instead of knives, and do not need as much skill.

John Poole had spent close to 30 years in the Marine Corps leading men as both a gunnery sergeant (when enlisted) and a Lt Colonel (when commissioned). He saw Vietnam first hand, and left feeling that he could have done more for the men he'd led. Although the officers that are in charge of teaching battle field skills are not fast to accept his methods the men on the ground who deal with the enemies in the streets of Iraqi cities know he is right.
70 of 89 people found the following review helpful
This book could turn the tide in the war on terror 19 Nov. 2004
By Blacksheep - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is truly remarkable. In Tactics of the Crescent Moon, John Poole provides an incredibly insightful analysis of the Middle Eastern problem and our role in trying to resolve it. He explains extremely complicated issues with remarkable clarity, examining them from historical, political, cultural, military and moral perspectives. Despite the immense scope of the book, his key insights never get lost in the complexity of his subject matter. At the most fundamental level, John Poole provides detailed tactical descriptions of exactly how our Middle Eastern adversaries fight. To illuminate the big picture, he clearly shows how these tactical examples relate to the larger cultural and political issues. He goes on to propose solutions that can help American privates survive, help commanders make better decisions, help generals develop better strategies and even help politicians make better military policies. Most importantly, the book's profound morality offers insight on how to win what might be the most important battle of all, the battle for the moral high ground. We will not win this war on terrorism if we lose touch, even for a moment, with the great and noble values that make us who we are. John Poole reminds us that when Americans go to war we bring with us our honor, our compassion, our love of freedom, and our belief in the equality of all people. Our morality is our ultimate weapon.
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Review: Tactics of the Crescent Moon 8 Oct. 2005
By Jenkki Soturi - Published on
Format: Paperback
To begin this look at H. John Poole's latest work, let's outline what it's not -

- Not a Middle East History tome;

- Not a guide to recent terror operations;

- Not a tactical discussion; and

- Not an approach to military reform.

No, it is not any one of the above - it combines all these into a coherent, concise guide to anyone interested in understanding our military problems in the Middle East.

Section one discusses Muslim military campaigns from Gallipoli during WWI to Israel's expulsion from Lebanon by the Hezbollah. Section two examines the different Muslim militant groups. Section three provides one of the first coherent looks at Muslim militant groups' training and tactical techniques - and tactical approaches to defeating them.

Certain themes, appearing in other works by Poole, as well as in "Tactics...", compare and contrast U.S. military traits and capabilities to our Muslim opponents', to include the following:

"Us" - doctrinally driven, top-down training environment; versus

"them" - bottom-up, experimentally driven.

"Us" - squads depend on artillery fire to advance; versus

"them" - primary groups that can move unnoticed.

"Us" - occuppies ground; versus

"them" - consolidates regions.

"Us" - training instructors stick to standardized procedures; versus "them' - training techniques developed through experience.

"Us" - enhance control by standardizing tactical procedures; versus "them" - disseminating battle-tested techniques for refinement through practice.

"Us" - handicapped by inane bureaucratic procedure; versus

"them" - copying tactical ideas from any source and experimenting under simulated battle conditions... A lot of America's adversaries, of late, seem to have these traits.

Poole also notes that to beat the Muslim terrorist in the military domain, our forces must, among other things -

- recognize the strategic significance of non-combatants and not treat them as so many expendable sacks of potatoes;

- provide the infantry squads with a much higher level of tactical training; and

- learn to evolve tactically on the primary group level.

Military reform has been bantered about in terms of "hi-tech" improvements to military infrastructure and precision "first-strike" weapons; Poole looks at the wars we fight now and notes that success will depend more on the "software" in the brain-housing groups of our infantrymen than that in our computers. Fourth Generation Warfare doesn't depend on hi-tech hardware and inexhaustible supplies of munitions - the guarantor of Western hegemony in the Twentieth Century - it depends on keen intelligence networks - humint as well as techint - agile tactical evolution of the mix of forces, their methodologies and training, and decentralized command. Most of our recent technology has facilitated ever more centralized direction of forces.

Will the U.S. war colleges and staff academies be looking carefully in Poole's recommended directions for military reform? Perhaps not - but Poole is addressing the conflict we'refighting. Anyone headed to Iraq or Afghanistan will find "Tactics of the Crescent Moon" a worthwhile read.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
After reading this book I sent it to my old ROTC school 27 Nov. 2006
By Bill Hensler - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would highly encourage any person who is Battalion staff or lower to read this book. All Army and Marine personnel should read this book on the jet flying them to Iraq or Afghanistan. This book will give a typical soldier or marine a good snap shot of how the Eastern combat mind thinks. Also, unlike much propaganda to the contrary, the Islamic soldiers fight using Eastern techniques. There is more hand-to-hand fighting than in the past. American's just can't call in their massive fire support because the targets may not be easy to hit.

This book is great for privates, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains. I don't know if the advice will be taken if it's read at the level of battalion or above. That is where the "rubber no longer meets the road". The staff disconnect from the soldiers begins.

For all war fighters this book is a must read. All ROTC departments, Marine, and Army infantry should have this book as required reading.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Peering Into the Shadows 27 July 2006
By Ian B. Leary - Published on
Format: Paperback
H. John Poole takes up the banner he flies in his earlier work The Tiger's Way. He addresses the challenges of what he calls Eastern-style light infantry fighting a Western-style force with the added wrinkle of Middle Eastern guerilla/insurgency. Poole's work in Crescent Moon is needed. Westerners look down our collective noses at Middle Eastern military capability. Poole attempts to shake us out of our arrogant torpor by analyzing just how the Afghans defeated the Soviets, how the Chechens are defeating the Russians, and how the Iraqi insurgency is making progress in Iraq. Unfortunately, Poole does not offer many specific solutions. However, I can overlook this shortcoming because I believe Poole's real focus is on convincing his readers that there is a problem. No solution will be palatable to Westerners until Westerners believe a solution might be needed.

Poole's model of Eastern light infantry emphasizes low-level decision making, flexibility, and an emphasis on deception, camouflage, surprise, ambush, and misdirection. Eastern light infantry fight their Western opponents by hiding from Western firepower in the earth. Eastern light infantry fights at night using infiltration along thoroughly-reconnoitered routes. Whereas the Western commander uses map reconnaissance, preparatory bombardment, and positive control from the top, the Eastern commander sends his people to scan every inch of the target area, then solicits their input into the plan before having his infantry launch their assault from hand grenade range.

Placed in a Middle Eastern guerilla context, Eastern light infantry becomes a highly decentralized force that concentrates where and when it wishes. When circumstances aren't favorable, the Middle Eastern fighter melts away. The Middle Eastern fighter uses the ground for protection and concealment, much like his Far Eastern counterpart. The Middle Eastern fighter uses the civilian population for concealment, and he draws support from the civilians. Suicide bombers are a Middle Eastern twist that has a lengthy history.

According to Poole, defeating Middle Eastern insurgents will mean taking them and their methodologies seriously. As long as Westerners dismiss their Middle Eastern foes as unwashed Muslim fanatics, Westerners will fail to see how and why Afghans drove out the Soviet Union, Chechens have fought Russia into a bloody stalemate, and Iraqi insurgents continue to plague US forces in Iraq. Understanding the enemy is the first step towards defeating him. Poole offers us Tactics of the Crescent Moon so that we might understand who the shadowy foes of the West are.
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