US Army Major General Dana Pittard and US Air Force Master Sergeant Wes Bryant are co-authors of the brand-new military memoir Hunting the Caliphate: America's War on ISIS and the Dawn of the Strike Cell. The Pentagon and CIA spent 15 months screening the book, so unsurprisingly it generally follows official narratives. But it does feature some honest admissions that push back against the propaganda. For instance, politicians endlessly demanded that Gen. Pittard create an army of "moderate Syrian rebels"; the pols had a hard time accepting his answer that there basically weren't any: "We can't 'shit' new moderate Syrian recruits willing to fight." In Iraq, he was endlessly frustrated by the reluctance of officialdom (presumably starting with the Obama White House) to allow them to take off the gloves and really fight ISIS: "As the US military leader in Iraq, I did the best I could given the handcuffs placed on us. Our goal was to keep ISIS from overrunning the Middle East and turning the region into a primitive Islamic caliphate and terrorist breeding ground. But the question that kept popping into my mind was: 'Is this any way to run a war?'"
Wes Bryant's memorable contributions to the book include his epiphany in a café in Bahrain, during which he suddenly realized: "How can I hate these people simply because of what they wear, how they look, or the religion they follow?...my combat experiences had made me hate all Middle Easterners, the Arab world, and all of Islam. I'd harbored contempt toward such people for years. But as I sat in that café I had the sudden awareness that they were not really any different from the rest of us. These people are not my enemy. They are not our enemy."
Dana Pittard has earned a B.S. from West Point, a master’s degree from the School of Advanced Military Studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College,
and attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Senior Fellow. Wes earned a bachelor’s in Asian Studies from the University of Maryland University College.
Wes Bryant been a lifelong writer, amateur philosopher, and an avid student of the martial arts.