Weekend Mashup

It’s been one month since the June 8th launch of “It’s the Tribes, Stupid.” One month since I stepped into the blogosphere, sent my first “tweet” and was introduced to more sites, blogs, and social media participants than I knew existed. It has been a real education.

 As I move forward, every Friday I’d like to offer a mashup of what I’ve been introduced to and learned during the previous week. I’d like to see what you’ve learned too—spread the education wealth.

In this next week, please leave comments to this post with your suggestions of books, films, websites, blogs, “tweeters” or anyone/anything else that you’d like to throw into the mix, which will benefit continued learning overall. You can also send suggestions via Twitter, to @spressfield, or via Facebook.

This week, I’ll start with some of what I’ve been introduced to over the past month, which I hope you’ll check out, too.

 First there were the bloggers responding to the launch, such as Fabius Maximus and Zenpundit, who I wrote about in my post “What I’ve Learned About Blogging So Far.”

 In his post, Fabius Maximus specifically recommended “For a more sophisticated description of tribal societies” reading “Chapter One of Martin van Creveld’s magnum opus The Rise and Decline of the State An excerpt of Chapter One is available here. Hat tip to Fabius Maximus for the suggestion.

Another find was a report of the RAND-sponsored 1962 Counterinsurgency Symposium, featuring COIN leaders, such as David Galula. Says the report: “This April, 1962 symposium was held at a time when Kennedy Administration officials were focusing increasingly on the growing communist insurgency in Vietnam and on the verge of radically expanding the numbers, roles, and types of U.S. military forces in that country. The purpose of the symposium was to distill lessons and insights from past insurgent conflicts that might help to inform and shape the U.S. involvement in Vietnam and to foster the effective prosecution of other future counterinsurgency campaigns.” Sound familiar? What lessons have been learned?

 Reporting from Michael Yon brought to light the conflicts in the Philippines and the roles the tribal communities play there as well. “Until recently, Afghanistan was called ‘The Forgotten War,’” said Michael. “The dramatic domestic, regional, and international politics of the Iraq war largely eclipsed the fact that our people were fighting just as hard in Afghanistan. Although we’re paying attention to AfPak now, off the radar screen an important and related fight has been unfolding in the Philippines.” To read “Philippines: Some Notes, Thoughts, and Observations” visit here.

 Veteran newspaper journalist David Wood is now at Politics Daily. This week I read with interest, and concern, his article titled “New Offensive in Afghanistan Hampered by Shortages.”

 In days since the launch, I was reintroduced to Defense and the National Interest and introduced to Small Wars Journal (check out the forums), the Long War Journal, Instapundit, HG’s World, The Olympian, Information Dissemination, Black Five and Vote Vets. I found that some of these bloggers are friends, while other take turns calling names – above all, there is an interest in, and respect for, the troops.

Along the way, I also met @tamij, a self-named “town crier” for #hhrs, and @actionkj, whose father served under Patton. Also met @overvision, who has the greatest “headshot”, and @ArmyMom101, who should win an award for the largest number of #followfriday tweets. Also received a Twitter tutorial from @radioblogger. The learning curve is steep!

 Above all, there is still more to learn, I know. I’ll share what I’ve found along the way, and hope you’ll do the same.

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  1. Wisner on July 11, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    I have found, probably as most of you, a couple of books (one of which was named already…Not A Good Day To Die) that offer some interesting and disturbing revelations on the ground war in Afghanistan….the Men, the Mission and Me by Pete Blaber; Victory Point by Ed Darak.
    I read an interesting interview http://www.michaeltotten.com. Author Robert Kaplan being interviewed about Sri Lanka and other spots around the Globe. What will world geography look like when the US is able to free its focus from Iraq and Afghanistan?

  2. Gordon Daugherty on July 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I second the above re Kaplan; I have followed him for years. Also check out StrategyPage (www. strategypage.com) for short-to-medium length article on military stuff with new material every day.

    And: Mr Pressfield I’m interested to know when you were in the USMC and what you did. Specifically, were you in/around Camp Lejeune about 1970 or so?

  3. WDF on July 11, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Steven … thanks for the info you have been posting on your site. Have enjoy reading it.

  4. andrew lubin on July 12, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Steve – good to see David Wood and the Small Wars Journal mentioned.

    Dave’ one of the better military journalists out there today; he’s been embedding with the Marines since Mogadishu in ’92 and knows his stuff inside-out, andf Small Wars Journal is often quoted in Newsweek – and made Rolling Stones “Best-50 Blog” this winter.

    The problem with blogs is that too many of them are uninformed opinion pieces; sort of a rant with a keyboard. How refreshing to see yours (and theirs) are “News & Informed Analysis”, which makes it far more interesting to read.

    Keep Attacking !!

  5. da kine on July 12, 2009 at 7:48 am

    A colleague of mine is currently studying in Jordan through a military program and he runs a great (if somewhat infrequently updated) site about cultural understanding, conflict resolution, and counterinsurgency:


    My go-to guy for straight shooting on a strategic level (vs. Yon on the operational/tactical level) is Tom Ricks:


  6. andrew lubin on July 12, 2009 at 8:00 am

    While we debate strategy and tactics, I just recieved news (Sunday 1030EST) that 4 Marines were killed in Helmand today.

    Semper Fi

  7. Historyguy99 on July 12, 2009 at 10:59 am


    I am honored by the recognition. I enjoyed listening to your interview with Hugh Hewitt last week. In a personal note, I have been hooked on the LRDG ever since reading about them as a teenager. I kept a prized model of the very same truck a Chevy 30 hudredweight until I went off to join the Army. In the same vein, Hugh had recently interviewed Thomas Barnett about his new book Great Powers. My contribution to the mashup would be to recommend Tom’s blog as a source of insight to look beyond the next hill.


  8. andrew lubin on July 12, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Correction: It’s 2 Marines killed by an IED, not 4 //

  9. kestrelrising on July 13, 2009 at 6:48 am

    I’ve found your blog very informative. I’m doing quite a bit of research on the current war in Afghanistan for a novel I’m writing and your insights are enlightening. I have wondered, since 2001, whether either the US or UK governments actually bothered to study any history of the region before they went blundering in. My guess is that they didn’t or they did and they ignored it.

  10. Dom Santoleri on July 13, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Also check out:


    Posts are infrequesnt, but his treatise on the Sikhs is well worth a read. Found this via blackfive.

  11. Julie Tallard Johnso on July 13, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Much to appreciate here. Glad you now offer a blog. Much new for me here on and this is a good thing. Julie

  12. Ian Wendt on July 13, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Mr. Pressfield,

    I’ve long heard of your work and will eventually have to move up your titles to the top of my reading list. From the little reading I’ve done here, you offer a lot of insight that seems to be left in undiscovered by a lot of people today. Keep up the good work, I’ll be reading here regularly.

  13. Morgan Atwood on July 13, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Mr. Pressfield – I didn’t see this mentioned in any of your posts, or the comments I read (admittedly I’ve not even come close to reading all the comments), so forgive me if I overlooked it, but in-case its new to you, you may enjoy .

    Have enjoyed your work in the past, and am greatly enjoying this newest effort – Looking forward to the posts to come. You’re saying some vitally important things, and I hope they are being heard by the right people.

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