Wednesday, August 01, 2012

On the military and espionage side of the house

Before Deadly Bulgaria Bombing, Tracks of a Resurgent Iran-Hezbollah Threat - ProPublica:

'via Blog this'

Obviously I'm not as I up to speed as I once was on military and intelligence affairs, but I do my best to stay on top of my reading since I like writing stories that touch on both of these worlds. The Call demanded a week and a few days of dedicated research, but normally mil-intel stuff has to compete with a lot of science and history and genre books in my reading lineup.

Still, along with some good books, I do occasionally come across some good articles that paint interesting pictures of events. The above joint ProPublica - Foreign Policy Article suggest a plausible connection between a recent wave of botched or clumsily executed terrorist attacks and attempts by Iran to retaliate over the assassination of several of its nuclear scientists as well as cyber attacks against their nuclear infrastructure. Since Iran has been much more Lebanon focused and hasn't carried out many major attacks outside of the Middle East for much of the past two decades, there may well be something to the authors' assertion that they've lost a good deal of their operational expertise as well as having underestimated how much the international security landscape has changed since 9/11.

This kind of granularity--the fallibility of organizations and their clumsy learning curves, particularly those of the antagonist's--is often missing in science fiction. Which is too bad. Yes, a competent, almost omnipotent enemy creates an obstacle for the protag to overcome, but it also ignores a realm of other dramatic possibilities. An escalating race between two sides, both striving to be the first to master a situation or technology, has all kinds of room for storytelling with setbacks, grit, and stomach dropping or first raising triumphant reversals. 

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