There are plenty of books on the market today about insurgency and counter-insurgency. From liberal sociology professors to conservative think tank chicken-hawks, writers around the globe sit and opine about the solution to the problems modern society faces from violent extremists. Few of these writers, however, have any firsthand knowledge of actual conditions in the field. Fewer still have the ear of those in power who are responsible for responding to terrorists and insurgents. David Kilcullen has both.
A career soldier in the Australian military, Kilcullen has spent a lifetime researching insurgent movements around the globe. From Indonesia to Iraq and now Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kilcullen has studied conflicts, not from behind a desk, but from the frontlines. He has spoken to commanders and soldiers on both sides of each struggle. He has interviewed civilians and he has witnessed first hand the horrors of war: "To see better through the smoke, I had torn off my helmet, radio headset and splinter-proof sunglasses when the IED went off, and had gotten a face-full of car-bomb as we worked (flew) over the attack site. The pungent stink of unexpected death