Drone war is counterpoint for a master of combat thrillers
The China Post news staffTom Clancy, who passed away on Oct. 1, deserves the monicker of the most prominent military thriller novelist of his time. The man who never made it into the military became a writer who brought to the world novels intertwined with the machinations of government, especially the U.S. government, at its highest levels, with blood-curdling violence, conspiracies and terrorism. Most of all, Clancy vaunted minute, almost obsessive details about vehicles and devices of war in a whirlwind of high-tech extravaganza to regale the reader.
October 7, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
Spoiler Alert: This editorial contains content which may ruin the enjoyment of some of the best works of the master of military intrigue.
But there was also a sense of unrepentant, determined focus on justice and patriotism that is unabashedly pro-American within his works. Clancy's conception of the order to be defended reflects to a large extent the ideals of “Pax Americana,” in which peace and freedom are upheld by a benevolent, exceptional nation.
Brutality is the norm in Clancy's novels. It might be said that Clancy's works capture in all grit and grime the darker, more lurid and bestial consequences of human nature, playing out in a cross-weaving of conflict between nations and between government and outlaws. Revenge and dealing death are shown as an integral part of the fight against evil — such as when protagonist John Clark 'pulverizes' the heart of an enemy, who participating in murdering his girlfriend, by twisting the blade that he thrust into the hapless guy's chest.
Reading and tracing Clancy's development gives a fascinating witness into who is at once famed for what many praise as his canny ability to predict the future, most notably in the conclusion of the 1994 novel “Debt of Honor,” in which a Japanese pilot seeking to avenge the death of his son in a renewed Pacific War carries out a suicide crash into the U.S. Capitol with a civilian airliner, killing the entire U.S. Congress as well as the president — years before the September 11th attacks.
Steadfast, gauntlet-down moral backing of America's warriors is a central theme in Clancy's works, voicing a disaffection portrayed as selfless sacrifice on behalf of the nation — and incompetent bureaucrats — via chapter names such as “First In” and “Last Out” in the novel “Clear and Present Danger,” glorifying the valor of servicemen. John Clark, the hardened veteran of America's battles in Vietnam, weeps at the news of U.S. infantrymen dying at the hands of Colombian terrorists, “Some rear-echelon motherf***ers are going to die” a bereaved Clark vows.