Thanks for taking the time to comment on my book. I'd just like to respond to a few misunderstandings in your comments (in the order in which you raise them):
1. I'm not responsible for pricing the book. As the author I'd obviously like it to reach the widest possible readership (although I expect you might disagree with me on this) but I guess the economics of publishing mean that such high prices are necessary to recoup costs. Hopefully, with some good reviews and strong demand for the book it will come out in paperback and then you might be able to read the whole book.
2. While none of the contributors are former career military figures this book was partly the product of a conference held at the Royal United Services Institute in London (the opening address was given by General Sir Mike Jackson) and engagement with the military community. There is considerable discussion of the writings of soldiers on counterinsurgency (particularly Thompson and Kitson). As I write in the introduction, the idea was to present an alternative perspective on the debate over counterinsurgency by using area and thematic perspectives (p. 3). The association of the military with masculinity, for example, has a long history.
3. I was not writing in the `Harvard method' I was referencing in the Harvard style. We include references and quotations in the book in order to show that we have evidence to back up our arguments.
4. The introduction is the part of the book where you introduce the themes of the book and explain how the book fits together. As I say on p. 3 there are a number of contributors who have different views on counterinsurgency so it would have been wrong of me to impose my arguments on their work. However, in my chapters in the book I do present competing perspectives and more overtly give my views on counterinsurgency. In the Conclusion, for example, I argue, `Britain's success' in counterinsurgencies in Malaya and Northern Ireland has encouraged the simplistic application of their `lessons' to Iraq and Afghanistan with disastrous consequences for the British military as well as the people of Iraq and Afghanistan' (p. 382). This is why the area and thematic approach seems to me to be a beneficial contribution.
5. I address your point on `hearts and minds' directly in the book (pp. 6-9). The definition of what a `hearts and minds' approach really means is not irrelevant semantics but guides the use of force in conflict situations with implications for the loss of life.
6. I don't ignore the argument about independence for Malaya I address is directly on p. 13: `The defeat of the insurgents in Malaya has also been attributed to the emerging democratic political system and the prospect of decolonisation and Malayan independence'.
7. You seem not to want to describe as `crimes' mass resettlement, arrests, detention without trial, deportations, food control, arson, censorship, collective punishment and indiscriminate shooting, is that just semantics? Because other states may have been even more brutal (but see recent revelations about Kenya) does that justify Britain's role in Malaya and the use of it as a model for Iraq and Afghanistan?
8. On Northern Ireland I provide evidence of the tension in civil-military relations during the seventies period. The IRA was not a spent force by 1978. A secret report by Brigadier Glover, `Northern Ireland Future Terrorist Trends' (1978), which was leaked, reported that the IRA far from being a `spent force' found that the IRA was `deeply committed to a long campaign of attrition'. He concluded that `The Provisionals' campaign of violence is likely to continue while the British remain in Northern Ireland... We see little prospect of political developments of a kind which would seriously undermine the Provisionals position' - fortunately he was wrong about this.
9. Because Piers Morgan was sacked it doesn't mean that he was wrong. I'd be very interested if you could provide me with the evidence that `proved beyond a doubt' that the photos were faked.
10. I don't suggest that the Taliban `were just about to arrest Osama Bin Laden' what I write is `The Taliban did discuss giving up their guest, because his attack on the US had been a breach of customary Pashtun hospitality but the US invaded before these diplomatic avenues could be fully explored' (p. 28). I point out that the British ambassador to Afghanistan and contributor to the book, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, `has given further credence to the idea that the Taliban were moving towards expelling bin Laden on the grounds of expediency and justice' (p. 28).
11. You are most outraged by my reporting of The Times 9th June 2010 and suggests that by paraphrasing I have somehow distorted the meaning of the report. This is verbatim from The Times 9th June 2010 in an article called `Cut off, outnumbered and short of kit: how the Army came close to collapse: In 2006 just 3,300 troops went into Afghanistan to occupy an area larger than Wales. They were soon fighting for their lives' by Tom Coughlan:
`It was only in June 2006 that it was explained to Mr Daoud that the British force was not 3,300 infantrymen, but 700 fighters with the rest made up of logistic and support troops. The same mistake was being made in London, where one senior adviser to Tony Blair was reported to have been incredulous on hearing the news. "You're s****ing me," he is reported to have said. To field 3,300 frontline troops, it is estimated, would have needed a total force of at least 10,000.'
The point was not to denigrate `logistic and support' troops or suggest that they are never involved in fighting but to point out that there was a lack of understanding about the fire power that was available to the British in Helmand. This proved problematic when the soldiers were surrounded in their platoon houses.