Alastair Luft’s Blog

03/13/2017

Priorities, Economy of Effort, and Inner Creative Battles

General Dwight D. Eisenhower is reported to have said that, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” As Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during the Second World War, and later as 34th President of the United States, Ike had lots of experience in prioritizing what tasks
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03/09/2017

International Women’s Day

In honour of International Women’s Day, my publisher asked their authors which female author had inspired them the most. For me, without a doubt that would be J.K. Rowling. First and foremost is her sheer storytelling ability. I first discovered Harry Potter when I was in my twenties and serving in the military. A dog-eared copy
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03/08/2017

Relative Superiority, Schwerpunkt, and an Artist’s Inner Creative Battles

The Revolution in Military Affairs that supposedly began in the 1990s introduced a lot of innovative ideas for how militaries of the future would conduct operations. Recognizing the effect of improved technology and a changed contemporary operating environment, terms such as Network-Centric Warfare and fourth-generation warfare (4GW) emerged, often to mixed reviews. In Canada, the
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02/12/2017

Surprise

2011 was supposed to be a banner year in Afghanistan. Starting in 2009, the American military began surging an additional 33,000 personnel into theatre, a half-again increase of pre-surge troop levels of 68,000. With these extra boots on the ground, 2010 saw an increase in operations and tempo that pushed the Taliban back on their
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02/05/2017

Keep Your Chin Tucked

“War is an act of violence pushed to its utmost bounds.” Carl von Clausewitz, On War. In 2002, suicide bombers were unheard of in Afghanistan. But in 2005, the tactic began to creep in from the neighbouring conflict in the Iraqi theatre of war. As the years dragged on, the tactic continued to evolve; using women, remote
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01/29/2017

Step into the Arena

There was no shortage of fighting spirit during Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan. Attacks, raids, cordons and searches, reconnaissance operations; every day offensive actions were happening to wear down the enemy. And yet, for all this activity, the Taliban endured and today, they remain a viable fighting force, fed and nurtured from generally unreachable safe havens.
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01/22/2017

Kandahar Boardwalk: Morale Builder or Distraction?

A few weeks ago, various media outlets announced that the Kandahar Airfield ball hockey rink would be repatriated and displayed for posterity in the Canadian War Museum. The hockey rink was built during Canada’s deployment of military forces to Afghanistan and occupied prime territory in the middle of the Kandahar boardwalk. The best KFC and
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01/15/2017

Author Interview: Gregory Taylor

This week’s author interview is with Gregory Taylor, a local author from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Gregory is a mathematics teacher with a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, as well as a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University. Gregory’s been an editor and serial writer, he was a Chief Scriptwriter for Faculty, Alumni, Staff,
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01/15/2017

Eyes on the Prize

As part of the series on applying the Principles of War to the business of writing, this week looks at the first principle, Selection and Maintenance of the Aim. ​What was the aim of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan? Consider: Canada sent forces to Afghanistan in late-2001 / early-2002 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The aim
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