I pretty much completely disagree with Tony Parkinson’s conclusions in this article (it’s a link from the Melbourne newspaper The Age, and will probably only work for 8 days). He seems to conclude that the fact that Fallujah is both a city with a large civilian population (apparently around 300,000, of which something like 200,000 escaped before the assault started) and a base of insurgent activity means that ‘the gloves are off’ and that it will mean ‘goodbye to the Geneva conventions’. It’s very clear that the kind of bombing that has occured – with 500 and 1000 pound bombs – is indiscriminate, and that civilians are dying at a huge rate in Fallujah. It’s even been argued (by a general) that this kind of action constitutes terrorism in the traditional sense. Whatever the case on that specific charge, it’s definitely becoming a case of ‘we had to destroy the village in order to save it‘.
As some of you know, I’m currently trying to find a publisher for a manuscript called ‘On being a man’. I think at this point I’ve pretty much decided that the plan is to self-publish it and sell it on-line, and if I can sell a decent number of copies, then to interest a ‘real’ publisher in taking it further: the barriers to entry just seem too high any other way, and Print On Demand approaches are reasonably priced and accessible these days. A bunch of my friends from the William Gibson Board have read a draft of the book, and their comments and feedback have been invaluable.
The book is basically about the kinds of questions and decisions that men face – the focus is not on prescribing a course of action, but on just laying out the issues, because I think a lot of the time the problem is not that we deliberately make bad choices, but that we don’t recognise that there are choices there to be made.
My friend Paul Donnett is someone who has participated in a lot of the conversations around this issue that have informed my understanding, and Paul has just started a new blog – the Nuggery – that’s devoted to men’s issues and personal growth. (Yep, Paul linked to me recently too, but this is all about our friendship and our shared concerns, not about co-promotion!) I know some of the WGB people found my book really annoying because they felt they were outside the target audience, and those people will probably have a similar reaction to The Nuggery, but if you’re a man, or have to live with one, it’s well worth checking out.