Last night it occurred to me that I actually did know what John Robb was talking about when he lumped me in with the “counter-terrorism money/fantasy” in Washington, and it isn’t the creature Dan and Curtis think it is.
Talking with the “conference crowd”, or reading their work, on terrorism, there are certain themes that remain constant despite evidence to the contrary, that conform to popular thinking in Washington. This ideologically insular world is the “money/fantasy” machine, repeating nearly the same mantra over and over, that contributes to the stalled, to put it mildly, strategy in the [insert your favorite name for conflict/war/condition here].
Robb and I are alike in that we’re both creating new awareness (attacking is too strong but might be a better word) of the realities of today’s environment. I’m not in the conference crowd he’s referring to, but an outsider that only occasionally gets inside the ring, and less often than I would imagine Robb does.
To change the thinking, sometimes you need to subvert from within. Robb’s book is an attack on the popular wisdom and ultimately seeks to change the conference crowd by adjusting the preconceptions of the crowd’s clients, the thought leaders of the crowd, or both. Debunking existing “myths” most effectively requires understanding the existing conceptions. And that’s different from modifying insurgent/terrorist behavior how?