The Great American Counterterrorism Memo
March 22, 2011 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Employed as a Counterterrorism Analyst, But Think Your Bosses Are Misunderstanding the Problem? Quit your DoD post and write a book! Offer it for free, on the Web. Oh, and do it anonymously. Reddit AMA here.
posted by darth_tedious (29 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Tremble the Devil is the first work of non-fiction that’s available up online in its entirety for free"

Really?
posted by Jairus at 5:26 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yup! The very first, ever!
posted by jtron at 5:28 PM on March 22, 2011


Anonymously? By posting a picture of his "you owe USG $87,932.28" he's pretty much made it very clear to The Powers That Be exactly who he is with a pretty unique number.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:29 PM on March 22, 2011


First thing on dude's website as self linked on reddit:
buy the e-book for your Kindle –(or download the free Kindle app for your PDA) –buy the e-book for your Nook
:/
posted by jtron at 5:31 PM on March 22, 2011


Oh, I see - his website is free to read, "offline" editions cost money. What a carny.
posted by jtron at 5:32 PM on March 22, 2011


What a bastard. Trying to make money. WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS?
posted by eyeballkid at 5:33 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


up online

Certainly not an English analyst.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:33 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


> "Tremble the Devil is the first work of non-fiction that’s available up online in its entirety for free"

That seems to discredit his skill in researching the opposition.
posted by ardgedee at 5:36 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait, is this not markov-generated text? This is serious?
posted by GuyZero at 5:38 PM on March 22, 2011


I haven't read it yet, but if his content holds up to scrutiny, doesn't that justify him trying to find a way to monetize it? Does it need to be free to trustworthy? Or accurate? I'm fairly more concerned with bad foreign policy than with the guy (supposedly) exposing it trying to pay a few bills. Damn, Internet, you cynical.
posted by ten year lurk at 5:38 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would have absolutely zero problem with his charging money for the book if he hadn't made such a big production out of it being so damn free.

I'm looking at this with an especially jaundiced eye because a quick scan seems to show that I agree with dude, at least on a general level.

But when a guy big-ups his terrorism credentials, and then his outline starts
Begin reading at part I to learn about how the history and religion of the Middle East shaped the first modern acts of terrorism,
ignoring the Irish rebels, and the anarchists, AND THE GODDAMN KU KLUX KLAN, I get a bit suspicious.
aaand I'm done posting in here unless dude shows up, or something, I don't wanna be "that guy"
posted by jtron at 5:45 PM on March 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Would someone care to explain what a "Reddit AMA" is? Is that a fancy word for "post"?
posted by indubitable at 5:53 PM on March 22, 2011


AMA = "ask me anything"
posted by lriG rorriM at 5:55 PM on March 22, 2011


Can anyone summarize his thesis? I read a bit, but his non-fiction prose is a bit of a chore to wade through. Turgid, is the word, I think? Yeah, turgid.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:55 PM on March 22, 2011


Turgid, is the word, I think? Yeah, turgid.

It used to be, but it's tumid now.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:00 PM on March 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Create a war, or failing that the fears that piggyback on war, when there really isn’t anything there. Acts of terrorism are meant to create the perception of war and the retaliation and hatred that ensues, when the reality is the guys carrying them out would be hard-pressed to construct a forty-eight piece Lego set without starting two fires and putting an eye out... Terrorists don’t create terrorism – we do.

ok
posted by fuq at 6:12 PM on March 22, 2011


The mere fact that he thinks Ramzi Yousef was with Al Qaida in 1993 shows that he doesn't know shit. Since he was working for the DoD virtually guarantees that he doesn't know diddly.

Overwritten and under-researched: just like the New Yorker and Vanity Fair.

His thesis appears to be that the war on drugs created the Global War on Terra. I could be wrong, since the first two chapters don't seem to have a point and I'm not willing to slog through more of this nonsense in hope of finding a point.
posted by warbaby at 6:17 PM on March 22, 2011


This reminds me of that guy who wrote the 1,900-page-long suicide note, except this guy decided to make money instead of killing himself. Anytime a person develops a broad theory based on their limited study of a specific topic, only money or death can come of it. Hmmm, I think I'll write an ebook based on that topic.
posted by perhapses at 6:30 PM on March 22, 2011


The mere fact that he thinks Ramzi Yousef was with Al Qaida in 1993 shows that he doesn't know shit.

That is the exact opposite of what's in the text; don't know why you misread this.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:34 PM on March 22, 2011


Correction:

Ramzi Yousef was simply a mildly megalomaniacal commando trying to bomb his way to fame. He wasn’t a member of al-Qaeda,

Still reading and I still haven't uncovered the deeply buried lead. I've skimmed three more chapters and it's still just vague definitional stuff.

Seems like this was his first job out of high school.
posted by warbaby at 6:45 PM on March 22, 2011


Yeah, Warbaby, I was going to correct you, but you caught yourself there.

I don't think you're being fair. So far, it's not blowing me away but it isn't without its merits. It does seem to be a bit overwritten, as you say, but since the author presumably isn't an experienced professional author, I think the editing (or lack thereof) may be more to blame.
posted by Edgewise at 6:57 PM on March 22, 2011


I should add, though, that I'm suspicious about this anonymous authorship and his supposed credentials. It's not exactly the kind of writing I'd expect from an analyst. For instance, I don't see any numbers or charts, but then again I've only skimmed it as well.
posted by Edgewise at 7:02 PM on March 22, 2011


"doesn't that justify him trying to find a way to monetize it? "



I'm all for doing end-runs around politics... but is he drawing a salary from / was this work done while being paid by the U.S. government? Then I say, no.
posted by stratastar at 7:19 PM on March 22, 2011


AMAs are the best part of Reddit now.
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 7:39 PM on March 22, 2011


"Because it is only in the stories of our past that we can begin to find the answers to what is happening to us now."

This line makes me wish I was a nun, and the Internet was a 1960s Catholic school, and I had the world's biggest knuckle rapping ruler.
posted by ford and the prefects at 8:36 PM on March 22, 2011


MetaFilter: Now available in the new Redditt flavour; but with added neurons!
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:28 PM on March 22, 2011


Would someone care to explain what a "Reddit AMA" is? Is that a fancy word for "post"?

It's Reddit-speak for "we got trolled".
posted by benzenedream at 10:17 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was reading the AMA. His thesis is that income inequality caused by the War on Drugs will lead to more terrorism. I don't think that really stands up to scrutiny though. It seems like most wealth inequality in this country is caused by rich wall-street tycoons paying themselves billions of dollars they got from the Fed or tax payers.
posted by delmoi at 11:50 PM on March 22, 2011


For comparison, here are some classics of analysis. You don't have to struggle for several chapters to try and guess what the point is. If this guy is an example of "too brilliant to work inside the box" then those inside the box are about as dumb as a sack of wet hammers.

The root causes of terrorism have a lot more to due with brutalized populations than with income inequality or narrow sectors of illegal economies. The hawks tried selling the narcoterrorism nexis back in the the 1980s and it's just as stupid now as it was then.

Long story short, this guy doesn't know enough about his claimed field of expertise to be able to critique the recent history of terrorism studies.

But that's obviously enough to get him some fanboys on the internets. Next he'll be guest starring on infowars.com.

For comparison: Inside Terrorism
posted by warbaby at 7:52 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


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