Go ahead, stick a Morton’s fork in it. | rarasaur

Go ahead, stick a Morton’s fork in it. | rarasaur.

This particular topic came out this morning in a WordPress Daily Prompt, many of which light the muse before I get busy and forget about…one of these days, when I win the Lotto, I will sit out on the deck on my personal desert island and churn out all those unwritten or unfinished posts from all those overshadowed, OBE’d catalysts like the Daily Prompt…of course, being potentially out of work from next Friday, very soon I may be able to simply just sit around and that churning would, I guess, keep me off the streets…

Gov11_08Rail032b

So, anyway, the Hobson’s Choice idea this morning…

Daily Prompt: Hobson’s ChoiceIf you had to choose between being able to write a blog (but not read others’) and being able to read others’ blogs (but not write your own), which would you pick? Why?

…was one that gave me serious pause (much like a bad curry) and that I actually thought I would write something on…but then Rarasaur slammed into my inbox with her witty take on the question (that conversation stuff she talks about? It’s just called ‘marriage’!) and I’ve opted to support her by slapping the ‘Press This’ button – don’t really like the ‘Reblog‘ button on the page itself – too skimpy on the interface for me…)…so there…

My take on the question is the opposite to Rara’s…if I had to make the choice, then I would continue to write because that’s what I do…I can always find other catalysts to write about other than other blog posts although it would mean. of course, missing out on some really cool, entertaining and thought-provoking blogs…on the up side, it might encourage me to swing back towards mainstream media as a primary source of information instead of sifting through the blogosphere, although…hmmmm…the difference between contemporary media reporting and some of the crappier blogs might be pretty thin…

But, writing’s what I do and I think that it behoves us all to do what we can to contribute to the broad base of human knowledge and thought – it is all so easy to just keeping it putting it off and off and off til we can’t really remember what we wanted to contribute anyways…it is some important to keep a record of who you are and what you’ve done, even if for no other reason to have something to distract the grandies with…every one has a story to tell and if we gave up writing, that we would one less way of keeping that story alive….so yeah, I swing the other way on this one…

And as I write this I am quite chuffed with myself, having just completed the minutes of the annual meeting I chaired on Monday…a marked improvement on last year’s that I only completed last week! It’s all just a matter of application, of parking oneself in front of the writing device (whichever flavour you favour) and ordering oneself to write…(wish it was that easy…)

PS. OBE = Overtaken By Events

The Accidental Guerrilla

The nice people in G7 loaned me a copy of David Kilcullen’s Accidental Guerrilla to read on the promise that I would give them a book review in return – fair trade, I think, and one which provides me an opportunity to assess the actual time required to review and read a book for future jobs. I missed David Kilcullen’s briefs when he visited in October, having been required to save the free world at the CLAW in the UK that week. While I enjoyed that professionally and personally, I would much rather have had the afternoon listening to him talk…

First impressions of Accidental Guerrilla are that the author has not been well served by his editor…the sections where he talks about his own experiences flow very well; where he launches into more academic discourse, he becomes verbose and complex – if in doubt, use short sentences and don’t be shy to bullet lists – some parts so far (have just finished Chapter 1) are like playing literary Where’s Wally? when trying to filter out key points and themes. I’ve noticed the same in the other book I am struggling with at the moment, Brain Taafe’s The Gatekeepers of Galatas, a great story that deserves to be told – but told better than Taafe does…I track a number of writing blogs and I think it was John Birmingham who couldn’t emphasise enough not only the importance of a top editor but also the need for writers to retract their egos and take aboard the value an editor provides to a successful product…

I have no problem with the concept of the accidental guerrilla but do debate that it is anything new – almost by definition most guerrillas are accidental, born when the outside world, usually brutally, intrudes into their lives….the little people = the little war…Nor is the concept of global terrorist/guerrilla networks that new either…as far back as the American Revolution, global communications have been adequate to support international networks and the Great Game of international espionage and intelligence has been played across the known globe since that time. I agree with Rupert Smith that there are those who might be best described as the ‘franchisers of terrorism’ who target the disaffected and essentially sell their brand of terrorism, with commensurate training, networks and support. These are the people who need to be tracked and targeted a la Michael Scheiern’s ‘individual-based tracking’ concept – manage them and you open up a range of alternate approaches to mitigate potentially accidental guerrillas.

One of the problems I have with The Accidental Guerrilla to date is that it describes Al-Qaeda as an aberration, an exception, to the rules of guerrillas and terrorism, but keeps drawing upon AQ-based examples to support arguments in the book. While it is true that Islamic terrorism has a firm base in the tribes of Afghanistan and Pakistan that includes strong family links as well and that this extends back over a number of generations, I think it is a big leap to state this as standard practice for these type of organisations. This weakens the Infection, Contagion, Intervention, Rejection cycle that Kilcullen proposes, again relying on an AQ example. I agree with the takfiri model and think this would be a better one to promote over specific groups  like Al-Qaeda – more so since his definition of takfir lends itself to causes beyond those based upon an interpretation of Islam…takfir holds that those whose beliefs differ from the takfiri’s are infidels who must be killed. Takfir might apply to ANY hate-based xenophobic cause around the planet and if The Accidental Guerrilla achieves nothing else beyond bringing this phrase into more common usage, it will have achieved something.

In all fairness, I am only at the end of Chapter 1 and should suppress of any feelings of ‘old brass for new‘ and ‘publish or perish‘ til I get into the meat of it…onwards into Chapter Two…