Grouchy Guy Magnum Opus

If you are a junior officer, intelligence analyst, policy maker, policy wonk, or just a concerned citizen, go buy Ralph Peter's new book Lines of Fire.

I have been reading Mr. Peters' works for nearly five years, and this volume-a compilation of his best columns and articles from the last 15 years- is simply outstanding.

To be clear, Mr. Peters is curmudgeonly, cantankerous, and sooooo not politically correct...which is of course, why I love his work.  NOT to say I don't disagree with him, or actually consider him a pipe dreamer on some issues (see his article on "Blood Borders").

But anyone who is intellectually honest can only be duly impressed with his prophetic writings on terrorism, insurgency and the types of enemies and conflicts the US would be fighting in the 21st century...from his writings in the early to mid 1990s!  Mr. Peters was clearly a man ahead of his times and his concepts and understanding on the emotional, religious, and tribal nature of terrorism and insurgency are not only profound, but the truth!

The distinction he makes between political and apocalyptic terrorists should be posted on the inside of every government office that deals with terrorism.  His ideas will make people on the right and left very uncomfortable-not surprising since I think Mr. Peters pretty much drew fire from both Code Pink and Don Rumsfeld over his columns during the Iraq War-but he calls it like he sees it and makes it clear what needs to be done to win against Islamic terrorists and their supporters.

Two essays really stand out...his 25 Do's and Don'ts of fighting terrorists (see the article "When Devils Walk the Earth")is almost worth the price of the book, just to use as a comparison for how the US is and has dealt with Al Qaeda and Islamism in general.  His other essay on the "12 Myths of 21st Century War" is one of many articles that should be required reading of every serving officer in the US military.

What I really enjoy about his reading is his writing style, ability to create intellectual snark, and the way he can gut an idiotic touchy-feely notion with literary flair.  The book was not only a joy to read, but a thought-provoking look at the threat we face, where our military and intelligence community have failed to understand how the world is and works and more importantly, how the politicians have ignored the nature of our enemies and what must be done to secure America.

Pick up this book and read it, re-read it, highlight it, and think about it.  You will be glad you did.