Archive for April 22nd, 2009

Iranians In Your Backyard

For a while now, there have been concerns that Venezuela, one of this hemisphere’s more outspoken critics (or, depending on whom you listen to, avowed enemies) of the United States, is cozying up to Iran, and it’s (understandably) troubling. Why? Well, three days out of five, Iran is the greatest threat to global peace and prosperity since that Saddam guy was oh-so-flawlessly ousted from power, and the thought that they’re getting a significant political and economic foothold in the Americas is enough to keep, I imagine, the United States’ counterintelligence nerds awake at night. That’s one half of the threat, of course; the other is that Iran is proving all too happy to provide a wide variety of fairly advanced military hardware to Venezuela, with all the inherent implications for regional stability that suggests.

Turns out, though, that while everyone’s been watching Venezuela, Iran’s been cozying up to an even closer neighbor of ours.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on April 22nd, 2009 | 3 Comments »

Perception Trumps Reality

About a year ago, I praised James. S. Major’s book Communicating with Intelligence, which I still believe is probably the best guide to preparing formal communications in the “real world”. (A blog, obviously, is pretty informal… and there are doubts as whether the blogosphere is very connected to reality. But I digress, as usual.) Anyway, I recently acquired a copy of a newer book by Major – Writing Classified and Unclassified Papers For National Security, whose title is pretty daunting, I admit, and probably a little off-putting to many.

My feelings on the book are actually a little mixed. It’s about half the length of Communicating With Intelligence, but still $40 MSRP. Worse yet, the first quarter of the book is basically a quick (too quick) but not very useful synopsis of the first half of the earlier volume. Great for marketing and cross-promotion, kind of crap for the reader. Nearly half the book, actually – over a hundred pages – is comprised of a usage and style guide, and while it’s more comprehensive (and contains fewer typos) than Mercyhurst’s Analyst’s Style Manual, it would almost undoubtedly have been better off as a stand-alone publication.

Nonetheless Writing does have some considerable bits of value scattered amid its exhaustive guidelines on writing citations, and so on – one of which, at least in my mind, is well worth the cover price.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on April 22nd, 2009 | Comments Off on Perception Trumps Reality