Category: Tactics

Positive reinforcement.

And I’m speaking of dog training.

p1160472Over the week-end Jean and I were down in Medford at this event promoting my book Learning from Dogs.

Inevitably, we saw many dogs and their owners come in to the store for we were positioned just inside the main door. Likewise, inevitably we saw a whole range of ‘relationships’ between those dogs and their human companions.

It reminded me of a recent TED Talk that was given by Ian Dunbar about dog training. For those who have not previously come across Mr. Dunbar, his bio reads as follows:

Veterinarian, dog trainer and animal behaviorist Ian Dunbar has written numerous books, including How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks and The Good Little Dog Book. He has also hosted several award-winning videotapes on puppy and dog training.

So here’s that brilliant TED Talk.

Uploaded on Aug 21, 2008 Speaking at the 2007 EG conference, trainer Ian Dunbar asks us to see the world through the eyes of our beloved dogs. By knowing our pets’ perspective, we can build their love and trust. It’s a message that resonates well beyond the animal world.

Veterinarian, dog trainer and animal behaviorist Ian Dunbar understands our pets’ point of view. By training dog owners in proper conduct (as much as he trains the dogs themselves), he hopes to encourage better relationships with dogs — not to mention their friends and children, too.

Why you should listen

We may call dogs man’s best friend, but according to Dr. Ian Dunbar, humans often fail to reciprocate. Dunbar’s decades of research on hierarchical social behavior and aggression in domestic animals truly give him a dog’s-eye view of human beings’ incomprehensible and spontaneous — if involuntary — cruelties.
Dunbar says we might break our unseemly, unflattering habits and usher in an “era of dog-friendly dog training” by coming to understand why dogs do what they do — Is Fido misbehaving, or just being a dog? — and the repercussions of our actions toward them. (We might foster better relationships with our fellow humans, too.) His Sirius Dog Training company focuses on training puppies to be playful, yet well-behaved. His second organization, Animalin, promotes games for dogs and puppies at an international level.

What others say

“There is no single person on the face of the planet to whom dog trainers and owners (not to mention dogs) owe more.” — Jean Donaldson, author, The Culture Clash


I will close with another photograph from the PetSmart event.

p1160469(Sorry about the cardboard boxes under the table!)

That fickle finger of fate!

Coping with an emergency includes looking after our dogs.

Most of us live our daily lives without paying too much attention to the likelihood of an emergency. But as Hurricane Hermine and the recent explosion of that SpaceX rocket show the unexpected does come along.

All of which is my preamble to a recent item over on the Mother Network Nature site that reviewed taking care of our beloved pets when an emergency does strike.

I have pleasure in sharing it with you.


5 steps to ensure your pet is cared for in an emergency

Jaymi Heimbuch August 31, 2016

When an unexpected problem pops up, have a back-up plan for your pet. (Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)
When an unexpected problem pops up, have a back-up plan for your pet. (Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

A car crash, an arrest, a natural disaster or a medical emergency. While no one wants to think about these awful possibilities, sometimes we should to protect and provide for those we love, in case one day we can’t make it home as planned. And those we love include our pets.

Imagine something happens to you and you can’t get home to your dogs, cats, birds or other critters. You need a way to not only alert others to the fact that you have pets at home, but also the information they need to care for your pets in your absence. Here are five ways you can ensure that your pets will be looked after.

Carry a card in your wallet

Create a card that you can carry in your wallet or purse. If you’re ever in a medical emergency, a rescue worker or paramedic looking through your wallet for identification will also know that there are animals at your home that need care.

The card can be as simple as a note that you have pets at home on one side, and on the other side lists contact information for friends or family members you’ve designated to care for them. Or it can be detailed, listing how many pets you have at home, their names and the kind of animal each pet is, your address, and emergency contact information for two people you trust to care for your pets. How much information you want to include is entirely up to you.

You can create your own card, download a free template online to print out, or buy cards online that you can fill in information with a pen.

Add a sign on your door or windows to save your pet

Another place to put an alert card is in your window or on the door to your home. An emergency emergency-pet-sign.jpg.838x0_q80pet alert sticker is ideal when you can’t get to your home but someone like a firefighter or rescue worker can.

Like a wallet card, a sticker should list how many pets are inside and what species they are, so any rescue worker would know if they’d found all the animals inside.

This is a small but potentially life-saving step in preparing for emergency situations such as after an earthquake, tornado, fire or flood, so that someone who is searching through homes can rescue your pet even if you can’t — or aren’t allowed — to get back to your home.

Ensure at least 2 separate people you trust have access to your home

Your emergency wallet card states contact information for people you trust to care for your pet if you’re in an emergency situation and can’t get home to them. The next step is ensuring they can get to your pet when needed.

Make sure each person listed as an emergency guardian has a set of keys, or that they know the secret hiding place for your spare set of keys. If you have an alarm system on your home, you’ll need to provide these friends with the access code.

Because these friends or family members not only have access to your home but also will take responsibility for your animal companion, you’ll need to put some thought into who you’ll have in place as a temporary caregiver or as a permanent caregiver.

The ASPCA notes:

When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.

You may want to put down temporary caregiver contact information on your emergency cards, and ensure they know who is designated as the permanent caregiver should you not be able to return home to your pets for a long time, or at all.

An emergency kit with your pet's medical information, extra food and other supplies will help rescuers. (Photo: rSnapshotPhotos/Shutterstock)
An emergency kit with your pet’s medical information, extra food and other supplies will help rescuers. (Photo: rSnapshotPhotos/Shutterstock)

Create a kit for your pet

A disaster preparedness kit is a great idea both for you and your pet. This also benefits your pet not just for a natural disaster, but if you’re in an emergency and can’t get to them.

An emergency supply kit should include a document that a temporary caregiver or potential permanent guardian can use to understand your pet’s needs. This includes:

  • vet and vaccination records
  • pet insurance details
  • information about any medications your pet needs
  • an extra leash and collar
  • a carrier if you have a smaller pet
  • information on any behavior problems, quirks or habits that a caregiver should know about

Be sure to tell your emergency contacts and temporary caregivers where this information is located in your home, so they can access it should they need it.

Make formal long-term arrangements for your pet

We briefly discussed designating someone as a permanent caregiver for your pet should you not be able to return to them. You may want to consider setting up a formal arrangement for this to ensure that your pet definitely goes to the person you’ve designated and receives the care they need.

This could be a formal written arrangement with a permanent caregiver or it may be part of your will. You might also consider creating a trust or other financial arrangement to ensure your pet is cared for if you’re incapacitated. However, Petfinder notes:

Before making formal arrangements to provide for the long-term care of your pet, seek help from professionals who can guide you in preparing legal documents that can protect your interests and those of your pet. However, you must keep in mind the critical importance of making advance personal arrangements to ensure that your pet is cared for immediately if you die or become incapacitated. The formalities of a will or trust may not take over for some time.

Such a document may at first seem like a lot to handle for a “what if” situation, but by taking the appropriate precautions ahead of time, you can be sure that your pets are immediately cared for should something occur that prevents you from returning home to them.


This all seems like very sound advice and, believe me, advice that Jeannie and I will review and adopt wherever we can.

Please, good people, do take care of yourselves including all your pets.

No way to run a world!

Why we have to learn integrity from our dogs, and soon!

After yesterday’s post about the ice dagger poised to fall on the heads of humanity, I was hoping to offer something more cheerful for today. Indeed, I had a guest post ready for publication but then ran into a small technical hitch that stopped it being scheduled for today.

So I turned to this recent article that appeared on The Conversation blogsite that is, unfortunately, another reminder of these mad times. It is republished within the terms of articles that appear on The Conversation.


How could VW be so dumb? Blame the unethical culture endemic in business.

Author: Edward L Queen, Director of Ethics and Servant Leadership Program, Emory University.

How much can corporate culture explain VW’s deception? Jim Young/Reuters
How much can corporate culture explain VW’s deception? Jim Young/Reuters

That far too much of the world’s corporate leadership is driven by moral midgets who have been educated far beyond their capacities for good judgment should be obvious after observing the events of the past week.

The financial industry-led economic collapse of 2008 should have taught us this lesson, but the specificity and clarity of it was brought home by news of price-gouging in the pharmaceutical industry and, even more blatantly, by the announcement that Volkswagen intentionally programmed thousands of its diesel automobiles to cheat emissions testing.

We should be outraged by such behavior and demand appropriate punishments and sanctions as well as restitution and correction. But we should not be shocked. As an ethicist who has looked at the behavior of individuals in business and corporations, I can point to a number of troubling trends that help explain these transgressions.

Impaired moral imaginations

For the past five to six decades, epigones of Milton Friedman have been emphasizing that the only duty of a corporation is return on investment (regularly ignoring his caveat of doing so within the law and social norms).

This lesson, drilled into generations of business school graduates, now drives tsunamis of corporate malfeasance. Data regularly demonstrate that business school students are more likely to cheat on examinations and assignments than their peers, although – and this is of interest for the Volkswagen case – they are closely followed by engineering students.

Are business school teaching the right values? mleiboff/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND
Are business school teaching the right values? mleiboff/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Additionally, some evidence suggests that not only are business students more impaired in their moral judgments in a broader sense than are those in other majors and professional schools, but that business schools themselves may be responsible.

More disturbing, observational and anecdotal evidence suggests that business students are not only impaired in their moral judgments but that significant percentages of them have severely impaired moral imaginations. By this I mean not only do they make bad ethical decisions, but they actually are incapable of identifying an ethical situation when they are presented with one.

Numerous interviews with business ethics faculty I have had over the past decade suggest that when business students are presented with an ethics case, that is a case where they have been told that there is an ethical problem, 20% to 30% of the students cannot find or identify the ethical issue. This has been borne out by my personal experience when teaching business students.

Unmistakable malfeasance

With regards to the Volkswagen scandal, let us be clear about the nature of the company’s activities. This was not a mistake, an error, an ethical lapse or poor judgment. This was an intentionally designed and executed violation of the law in both its letter and its spirit. It also was an ethical violation of the highest level.

Volkswagen intentionally deceived those to whom it owed a duty of honesty. It fraudulently misrepresented its automobiles to be other than what they were. Most significantly, it intentionally chose to do so and went out of its way to commit the wrong.

This last fact may make it far more difficult for VW to recover from the reputational hit than it perhaps has been for GM or Toyota. Even though the latter’s product defects cost people their lives, they did not intentionally produce such parts.

The sheer brazenness and conniving that went into Volkswagen’s actions are probably what shocked people the most. This was a highly technical and sophisticated operation that basically taught the emissions system how to distinguish between road travel, typical idling and idling while undergoing an emissions test.

No spin can mitigate that fact. There is and can be no claims of confusion or misunderstanding, no failures to communicate. This will erode people’s trust in Volkswagen as a company to a degree that the failures of other companies may not have experienced. In the Volkswagen scandal, just like the story about price gouging in pharmaceuticals that broke the same week, consumers are confronted with the stark reality of corporate malfeasance.

In both instances, the wrongdoing was exacerbated by the responses of the companies’ CEOs. The now former CEO of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, basically acknowledged his incompetence and failure of leadership by claiming that he was unaware of the actions taken by his employees. Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, in a series of tweets responding to criticisms of its pricing of the drug Daraprim demonstrated a level of knowledge of moral and social norms that can only be described as clueless.

Redefining success

These events – and others – make clear that there is a need to look at the broader cultural realities that drive unethical decisions in business, particularly the perception that the only way of determining value and worth is money.

This situation is not new – as early as 1906 William James wrote in a letter to H G Wells, “The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That – with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success — is our national disease.”

When a person’s worth is determined only by money, only by success as it is and can be monetized, when one has no sense of being without the BMW, the Rolex, the Armani suits, the yacht, etc, the moral flabbiness emerges. Indeed, it engulfs entire organizations and perhaps even entire societies.


Those last two sentences of that essay need repeating over and over again. This may just be a blog about learning from our beloved dog companions but as my home page spells out, this is not some silly romantic notion:

As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer. Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming, thence the long journey to modern man. But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite. Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.

Dogs know better, much better! Time again for man to learn from dogs!

So there!

Bears and duct tape!

With grateful thanks to Cynthia G. who sent this to me.

(Going to take a break from the serious writing for this long week-end)

So, what's the story here?
So, what’s the story here?

The place: The Alaskan Wilderness

Just a bear wanting some food!
Just a bear wanting some food!

The event: A private “fly-in” fishing excursion to that Alaskan wilderness.

Well, a bear would, wouldn't it!
Well, a bear would, wouldn’t it!

The mistake: The pilot and fishermen left a cooler and bait in the plane.

Now what?
Now what?

The consequence: The bear went exploring for food!

Nothing if not ingenious!
Nothing if not ingenious!

The smart thinking: The pilot used his radio and had another pilot bring him 2 new tires, 3 cases of duct tape, and a supply of sheet plastic.

And they all happily went home!
And they all happily went home!

The result: The pilot patched the plane together, and they all flew home!

duct tape

The moral of this story: Duct Tape? Never Leave Home Without It

Turning corners, en route to Plan B.

Nothing stays the same for very long!

I wanted to call this post Change out of hope but that title was used on March 17th so opted for Turning corners instead!

Either way, this Post is prompted by a recent item published on the Earth Policy Institute website.  While Lester Brown’s book World on the Edge is a tough read, Lester is President of the Earth Policy Institute, it’s all too easy to think that the future for humanity is wall-to-wall gloom.  So here’s the article that was recently published, reproduced here under the copyright terms of the Earth Policy Institute.

Hope turning on the wind!

Wind Tops 10 Percent Share of Electricity in Five U.S. States

by J. Matthew Roney

A new picture is emerging in the U.S. power sector. In 2007, electricity generation from coal peaked, dropping by close to 4 percent annually between 2007 and 2011. Over the same time period, nuclear generation fell slightly, while natural gas-fired electricity grew by some 3 percent annually and hydropower by 7 percent. Meanwhile, wind-generated electricity grew by a whopping 36 percent each year. Multiple factors underlie this nascent shift in U.S. electricity production, including the global recession, increasing energy efficiency, and more economically recoverable domestic natural gas. But ultimately it is the increasing attractiveness of wind as an energy source that will drive it into prominence.

Wind power accounted for just 2.9 percent of total electricity generation in the United States in 2011. In five U.S. states, however, 10 percent or more of electricity generation came from wind. South Dakota leads the states, with wind power making up 22 percent of its electricity generation in 2011, up from 14 percent in 2010. In 2011, Iowa generated 19 percent of its electricity with wind energy. And in North Dakota, wind’s share was 15 percent.

The two most populous U.S. states are also harnessing more of their wind resources. While adding more than 900 megawatts of new wind farms in 2011 to its existing 3,000-megawatt wind capacity, California was able to increase its wind electricity share from 3 to 4 percent. Texas has the most wind installations of all the states, with 10,400 megawatts. In fact, if Texas were a country, it would rank sixth in the world for total wind capacity. Figures from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the independent service operator that delivers 85 percent of the state’s electricity, show that wind’s share of electricity in the ERCOT region jumped from 2.9 percent in 2007 to 8.5 percent in 2011.

Even though the cost of generating electricity from the wind has fallen substantially, certain policies have been needed to help it compete with the longtime support and lack of full-cost accounting for fossil fuels. Through so-called renewable portfolio standards (RPS), 29 states now require a percentage of utilities’ electricity to come from renewables by a certain date. This includes 8 of the top 10 states in total installed wind power capacity. For example, California’s RPS requires one third of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. But the biggest policy driver of U.S. wind power growth thus far has been the federal production tax credit (PTC) for each kilowatt-hour of electricity a wind turbine generates. When Congress has allowed the PTC to expire, as it is scheduled to do again at the end of 2012, wind installations in the following year have plummeted.

In the short term, extending the PTC will be critical for the U.S. wind industry, which boasts more than 400 turbine component manufacturers and employs some 75,000 people. Ultimately, moving away from the recurring boom-bust threat by establishing a national RPS or a carbon tax would encourage even greater manufacturing growth and wind installations.

In a country where wind resources could power the entire economy, there is still great potential to be realized. Four states in northern Germany have set the mark, with each getting more than 40 percent of their electricity from the wind. Which U.S. state will get there first?

For more information and data on wind energy in the United States and around the world, see Earth Policy Institute’s Wind Indicator, “World Wind Power Climbs to New Record in 2011,” at

Copyright © 2012 Earth Policy Institute

This video is well worth watching as well as going to that link at the end of the essay above.

Lester Brown, Thomas Friedman, and Paul Krugman discuss the need for a carbon tax in order to price carbon emissions at their true cost.

The “Journey to Planet Earth” series continues with a special program, hosted by Matt Damon, which features environmental visionary Lester Brown and author of “Plan B.” This documentary delivers a clear and unflinching message — either confront the realities of climate change or suffer the consequences of lost civilizations and failed political states.

I will see how much material there is available online with regard to that programme hosted by Matt Damon and, maybe, present some of it on Learning from Dogs.

Finally, the picture of the wind turbine at the head of this Post came from a website called  Fancy a home wind generator?

Final message in a bottle

The concluding part of what we might care to leave for the next generation

Mankind over the next few years is facing the start of an interval of economic chaos and social stress between the end of the fossil fuel age and whatever follows.  That interval could well last a lifetime or more.  Some might argue that the economic challenges that have been the mark of 2011 are, indeed, the first signs of this economic chaos.

How well we cope, adapt and survive is not going to be down to those of my age (born 1944) but to the bright youngsters who have been born in the 21st century.

That was the motivation behind publishing, on December 1st, the speech given by Steve Jobs, the 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech, and on December 6th, the famous and fabulous speech given by Sir Ken Robinson at the 2005 TED Talks conference.

The third and concluding message is a subsequent speech given by Sir Ken, this time in May 2010.  It isn’t as stirring as his speech in 2005 but still a wonderful focus on what is our, as in homo sapiens, only chance of surviving – the innovation and creativity of the next  generations.

In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — creating conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish.

Second message in a bottle

Continuing the advice you might offer to the next generation?

On the 1st December I published the first message.  It had been inspired by a conversation with Peter McCarthy, who lives and works in Bristol, England.  Here’s a little of what I wrote,

Anyway, Peter and I were talking about the sorts of qualities that enable some young people to take a risk-based entrepreneurial approach to life.  Peter gave me the links to three videos that he thought were especially relevant to the notion of achieving success in life.  So over the next few days I want to share those videos with you, dear reader.  To me, these videos are, indeed, the essence of the messages that any person, especially those the wrong side of 60, would wish to leave in a bottle floating down the river of life.

So to the second message which is a recording of the talk that Sir Ken Robinson gave to the TED Talks conference in Monterey in February, 2006.  It has been widely seen for all the right reasons; Sir Ken offers some powerful common-sense and a wonderful message for all the young people out there.  As Sir Ken’s website says,

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation.  He is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere.  The videos of his famous 2006 and 2010 talks to the prestigious TED Conference have been seen by an estimated 200 million people in over 150 countries.

Read the rest of Sir Ken’s background here.

So with no more ado, here’s the film, watched by nearly 3 million people!


First message in a bottle

So what advice would you offer to the next generation?

One of the biggest differences between Homo sapiens and Canis lupus familiaris is that the latter is such a master of living in the present that, one assumes, the issue of worrying about the next generation is largely irrelevant.  Definitely not so with us humans.

A few weeks back I was chatting to a good friend of mine, Peter McCarthy, whom I first met when I undertook a sales and marketing project for one his companies.  That was many years ago but Peter and I have stayed in touch.  One of the many attributes about Peter that I have admired over the years is his instinctive and thoughtful approach to entrepreneurism.  Peter is still an active entrepreneur.

Anyway, Peter and I were talking about the sorts of qualities that enable some young people to take a risk-based entrepreneurial approach to life.  Peter gave me the links to three videos that he thought were especially relevant to the notion of achieving success in life.  So over the next few days I want to share those videos with you, dear reader.  To me, these videos are, indeed, the essence of the messages that any person, especially those the wrong side of 60, would wish to leave in a bottle floating down the river of life.

So to the first.  The address by Steve Jobs to the University of Stanford’s 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005.  Already watched at the time of writing this by 12,690,731 persons!

Lying is OK, that’s official! Duh!

I find this utterly unacceptable – here’s the story

Jean Claude Juncker, lying for Europe!

I was talking to someone in the UK just a couple of days ago, Martin J., about investment matters and we were generally ‘slagging’ off the quality, or rather the lack of quality, of the statements of leading political persons in many fields of government.  Martin then made the statement that Jean Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, and the head of the Eurogroup council of eurozone finance ministers had recently stated that “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,”  I was staggered to hear this and asked Martin to supply the details.  Here they are.

Mr. Juncker’s remark had been widely reported and I have chosen the Wall Street Journal’s report to quote from in Learning from Dogs.

MAY 9, 2011, 10:54 AM ET

Luxembourg Lies on Secret Meeting

By Charles Forelle

Is lying considered an appropriate mode of communication for euro-zone leaders?

We have to wonder after a strange episode on Friday evening. Here’s what happened:

Just before 6 p.m., German news magazine Spiegel Online distributed a report saying that euro-zone finance ministers were convening a secret, emergency meeting in Luxembourg that evening to discuss a Greek demand to quit the euro zone.

Calls from reporters flooded in to Guy Schuller, the spokesman for Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, the man who is the head of the Eurogroup council of euro-zone finance ministers.

In a phone call and text messages with two reporters for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Schuller repeatedly said no meeting would be held. He apparently said the same to other news outlets; at least one more moved his denials on financial newswires.

Of course, there was a meeting–although not, apparently, to talk about Greece quitting the currency, which would be an extreme step to say the least. Mr. Juncker even said a few words to reporters who had hustled to Luxembourg to stake out the gathering.

Anyway, do read the article in full here.

In that article there is a YouTube video in which Mr. Juncker says “When it becomes serious, you have to lie.”  You can hear it yourself, about 20 seconds into the video despite the sound level being a tad low.

So that’s official then!  Politicians have to lie!  Grand job.  Talking about jobs, don’t suppose Mr. Juncker will lose his.  Or that he will show that, deep down, he is an integrous man and resign his post.

Yes, of course we all understand that what high-profile people say can affect markets and that, at times, one must be careful in terms of what is said.  But lying?  Sorry, for me that will never, ever be acceptable!

What has this to do with dogs?  Simply, dogs don’t lie.

Remarkable people: General Sir Rupert Smith

Conform and/or reform?

Usually, people who have spent a long time in an organisation are steeped in its thinking and its received wisdom. Those who do not fit the mould have difficulty in rising far and may even end up leaving the organisation or being rejected by it.

However, there are people who avoid both outcomes, they fit the mould, and they challenge its thinking. They rise high in the organisation and yet emerge with views which run counter to the common understanding of its purpose. Perhaps they keep their views quiet, at least until they rise above some level where they have sufficient standing based on experience or reputation. To do so, they must very good at what they do and their criticism must be seen, at least on balance, as being constructive.

The utility of force

General Sir Rupert Smith is an impressive independent thinker who combines analysis with clear objectivity; and he has written an important book about it. He has been described as Britain’s foremost “thinking soldier”.

If you’d like to hear a man who has emerged from a substantial military career with a fascinating and important analysis of a major paradigm shift, then you might be interested in his presentation at the Carnegie Council.  He believes that this new era began in 1945 and the first effects were seen in Korea.

“War among the people”

As with so many presentations, the formal content covers the main points and creates the background for discussion; but the subject matter comes alive and the most valuable insights are communicated in the conversations which develop from questions or impromptu stories:

As a fairly young officer, I was in Belfast, responsible for a patch of West Belfast. A bus route came to my area, at the end of its route from Belfast city center. There was a roundabout, and the bus would sit there for twenty minutes and then turn round and go back down into Belfast.

Most Friday nights, somewhere around 9 o’clock in the evening, this bloody bus would get burned. There would be a riot, and people would throw stones at the fire brigade when it came, and then we’d all turn out and fire baton rounds and things at the hooligans throwing the stones, and then someone would shoot as us and we’d shoot back. A good time was had by all. The BBC and everyone were all in there. A burning bus can really get everyone going.

This was going on rather more than I was prepared to put up with. But I couldn’t stop it. I just wasn’t able to defeat this. Until we came up with a cunning wheeze, which involved me persuading two soldiers that it was in their interest to hide in a hidden box on the top of this bus, and when the hooligans appeared with the buckets of petrol and the box of matches, they would leap out before they lit the petrol and capture the hooligans with the petrol, and we would all rush in and help them.

These two soldiers agreed that this was a wizard wheeze and hid in the box. We drove the Trojan Horse in. And, sure enough, we got them.

A quiet conversation took place between the regimental sergeant major and these two little hooligans. It turned out that this thing that we had been treating as IRA terrorism, disrupting the streets, a come-on operation so that we would be pulled in so that then we could be sniped at—that was our complete logic and understanding of it—was wholly and totally wrong. This had nothing to do with terrorism at all. It was the black taxis, and they were paying these hooligans to burn the buses so they got more trade. We hadn’t been fighting anybody.

This story provides a clear example of the analysis in this presentation.

During a related interview by Jeffrey D McCausland, General Smith identifies some key questions:

Who are you supporting, to do what and what is military force’s contribution to achieve that?

Watch that the interview here.

On a comical note

In looking at more material, for this post, I ran across one item which you might be able to view, but I could not; this is due, apparently, to my being in the UK. The message that I am presented with at this location is particularly funny given the subject matter; it is:

Dear Great Britain,

We’re terribly sorry, but full episodes of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart are not available.

But please don’t send any Red Coats in retaliation at this time, as you CAN get your headlines at Channel 4.

(The style of the “Channel 4” text is flashing between white and underlined red. However clicking on it does not appear to have any effect. So does that mean that a gunboat of Red Coats would be acceptable after all?!)

By John Lewis