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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Dont believe the back-handed Publishers Weekly review above. This must be diss-Ritter Week. Ritter is right to use Sun Tzu's Art of War as a working model [the military does and so does every major successful biz in the Pacific Rim] and his military analogies are just what the antiwar crowd needs to embrace.

What Ritter discusses is exactly what Hosnan Ozbekan, the brilliant Turkish Professor Emeritus, taught graduate students in strategic methodology at the Wharton School of Business. Prior to becoming a professor, Ozbekhan worked for International Harvester (US) and was responsible for its global expansion. He made one mistake in his strategic plan, and this resulted in thousands of Turks migrating to Germany where they became third-class citizens as a result. He had wanted to help his countrymen in the course of his international work; instead he brought them shame. Ozbekhan quit business, and devoted his life to teaching proper strategic planning. Ozbekhan's motto was "One idea can change the world" and he taught a distinct step-by-step system for achieving it.

Ozbekhan was the man IBM hired to bury AT&T when deregulation happened in the early 70s and IBM needed to make sure its UNIX system never saw the light of day in a desktop/workstation, even though IBM knew that UNIX was a vastly superior operating system to the young Bill Gates' early efforts. IBM maintained the lead for nearly 20 years as a result. And I know for a fact that IBM followed Ozbekhan's plan to a "T."

It is obvious to me that the Publisher's Weekly reviewer has no experience in this process, much less know about it. Scott Ritter does.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This is a clever useful book. I *like* it. It is not pretentious nor is it convoluted. It does a very fine job of explaining to the non-military average activist or leader of activists the utility of Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, and John Boyd in developing a national and global strategy, national and global campaign plans, and local discrete tactical "events" that can achieve impact *only* if done in the context of a strategy and a campaign plan.

The author does a fine job of gently and respectfully pointing out that the current anti-war and pro-environment movements, projects, and individuals have a severe handicap in not understanding the connection between a strategy, and operational campaign, and tactical events planned and executed in the larger context.

The author does a tremendous job of clearly and concisely describing how the extreme right has managed to define its ideological war plan as "Guns, God, and Gays," while none of the thoughtful but complex, lengthy and somewhat disjointed progressive messages stand a chance.

The author understand that the war for the soul of America and for the stability of the rest of the world is about belief systems, and about capturing as many individual minds and hearts as possible. The extreme right is winning with ideological fantasy while the extreme left is losing in detail for lack of a message that can be adopted by the mainstream, which remains largely apathetic.

The author goes on to articulate a distress that I myself have experienced, politely pointing out that most progressive movements have too many self-named leaders, not enough disciplined followers (for lack of a strategy and campaign plan), and are generally too focused on feel good events or actions. I myself respect all these people, but think of them as the huggy huggy tea party set. They don't know how to bring an enemy system--a domestic enemy system--to a screeching halt in a showdown over time and space.

The author is brilliant--utterly brilliant--in pointing out that there is only one message that can win over the mainstream and the apathetic middle, and that message is "uphold the Constitution and the sovereign power of We the People, with liberty and justice for all." He *nails* it. I am moved by this book. It is *not* a clever marketing book to add to anyone's financial kitty, this is a book by a patriot, for patriots, and it is useful--actionable--and therefore priceless in value to all of us.

In the middle part of the book, after describing Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB), an Army standard, but not discussing the intelligence cycle, the author emphasizes the importance of both psychology, and intelligence: the progressives must "be able to accurately track what an opponent is doing on the battlefield." I tried to explain this to Howard Dean's staff back in the day, and could not get anyone to listen. Our politicians running for President are not only not qualified to be President, they are not even staffed to offer the voters a coherent range of policies within a balanced sustainable budget. All they can do with all their tens of millions is fire broadsides of platitudes at one another. This is one reason I created the Earth Intelligence Network, in order to both teach the progressives how to create intelligence and policy matrices (the ten threats, twelve policies, and eight challengers) and to do so in a very compelling manner using serious games with embedded reality-based budgets. All this is free, so please; do not interpret this as advertising for profit.

The author draws to a close with three hugely important points:

1) The only message that will resonate with *all* of us is upholding the Constitution (Romney, to his eternal disgrace, has refused to sign the pledge to uphold the Constitution--all others need to be pressed on this point).

2) The progressives need training in both leadership and followership, and I am hugely impressed by the author's provisions on pages 75-77 of specific URLs for specific Incident Command System (ICS) training courses as well as leadership courses. He is very complementary of these materials provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Wildlife Coordination Group (funded by taxpayers, naturally, but not now in the active service of taxpayers).

3) The author's third important point in closing is that activism must be global, not just local or national. Most activists understand this intuitively, but the *only* group to actually do something along these lines is the World Index of Environmental and Social Responsibility (WISER) under the conceptual leadership of Paul Hawkin and the technical leadership of Peggy Duvette. Indeed, combining the author's advice and concept of organization with my own vision for the "six bubbles" (see image) of the Earth Intelligence Network is in my mind a useful starting point for the yet to be developed WISER (Self) Government module.

The author offers other useful tidbits in passing, including a definition of how the progressives could organize administrative, intelligence, operational, planning, logistics, communications, and public relations teams with proper training and recognized leadership. He may not be familiar with all the training that is being done along these lines by some, for example those taking on the World Trade Organization, but in general his observations are helpful.

The book ends with two appendices, the U.S. Constitution and the United Nations charter. The author is NOT Jane Fonda on steroids. He sees, quite clearly, that the Republic is in the battle of all time for the soul of democracy and the soul of (moral) capitalism. He understands that the center of gravity is the huge disengaged apathetic "middle" and that until that middle understands that what is being done in our name by the U.S. Government is illegitimate, illegal, immoral, and imprudent, we will not be able to mobilize effectively.

This is a truly fine book, of, by, and for We the People.

See also:
Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life
Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (Bk Currents)
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, & Political--Citizen's Action Handbook for Fighting Terrorism, Genocide, Disease, Toxic Bombs, & Corruption
THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
An intelligent, useful and highly perceptive work by a man of great integrity and courage.

I'm a business owner who, like all serious business people, specializes in making things happen. Given what's at stake, the disorganization and naivete of the US peace movement has been a source of great distress to me.

This book is the first I know of to face the problem squarely and offer suggestions that will work if implemented.

Step #1: Americans need to read and then defend the Constitution right here at home. This one step will stop the next illegal, immoral and insane US military adventure abroad.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I am no fan of hierarchial structure; being an anarchist has that effect on me. But I think the criticism(s) Ritter gives can be useful even in a "horizontally" structured movement. You dont need a top-down form of authority to be organized or to resist some form of injustice. Just look at the militant examples of Anarchists in revolutionary Spain (they even got Orwell to fight).

What Ritter does with this book is offer constructive criticism on how an antiwar movement can be effective. It would do good for those opposed to war to read this book, think it over and find common ground where the "strategies" could be helpful.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ritter is a true hero, and this book offers a critique of the anti-war movement that may be futile, but it's right on. There is a huge difference between the mind set of "Give Peace a Chance," and the mindset of "Wage Peace." It's time to give waging peace a chance.

I bought the book because the corporate pigs at Publishers Weekly ticked me off. I'm tired of watching important books smeared, denigrated, and sabotaged by Bush's rent boys in the media. Diss this, gents.

It was clear from the reader reviews that Ritter's book is a valuable, important book. And so it is. Read, gird for peace, and join the battle.
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on November 9, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Poorly written. Goes over the same ground endlessly even though it's a pretty short book. The core points are either good or worth considering though.

1) He points out correctly the peace movement loves to drag a bunch of unrelated issues into everything it does. So someone sincerely interested in peacemaking will be run off by judgmental talk about pipelines, wage ratios, minimum wages, abortion, global warming, business is evil.... So we/they manage to repel most of the people who would like to ally with them/us. True and true. And dumb.

Ironically he makes the very same mistake himself by automatically assuming the "Religious Right" is an inherent enemy. The fundamentals of Jesus' teaching actually propel many biblical fundamentalists (like me) to be intensely interested in peace making. Fundamentalists would be natural allies if you simply don't run them off and appeal to them to take seriously what Jesus taught.

2) The peace movement is so afraid of being hierarchical that it can't function well. It views specialization, and especially the idea that some people are "higher" or "lower" in the organization as smacking of militarism and oppression and part of the problem. I think he is right. I also think the concerns have merit. Probably just needs to be handled wisely.

3) It's important to realize that pacemaking is itself a conflict of sorts, and it requires discipline, sacrifice, and adaptability to win. If you just play at it you will lose. If you just do it to fit in your social group you will lose. You have to be serious and objective to win.

- Corky
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Scott Ritter's book Waging Peace: The Art of War For The Anti-War movement is both a curious and controversial one.

In it he outlines his belief that in order to be more effective in achieving their aims, the anti war movement (the peace movement) need to behave more like big business, more like the military ie more like their enemies do in fighting an "ideological war".

The reason for the controversy stems from the fact that progressives and activists hasten to employ terminology like "strategic objectives", hasten to think of their mission as "attacking an enemy", and hasten to view their fight as a "war" since it and it's manifestations are everything they oppose.

Ritter argues however that in order to improve their efficiency and increase their impact, the Anti-war movement needs to adopt techniques like a pyramid organizational structure where teams are formed and leaders make decisions, rather than what he calls a "flat line" structure where everyone has equal decision making ability on every matter; in itself a controversial proposition to many progressives as it suggests a lack of democracy and a diminution of individual rights.

It seems however that Ritter's idea of organizational structure for activists is focused less on controlling the rights of members within their teams, but controlling their roles, so that each person is maximizing their contribution and minimizing the duplication of effort in working towards their goals.

There are, however, more points than this that activists can pick up from this read.

Ritter discusses the importance for anti-war groups of rallying behind an inclusive and broadly appealing slogan (using the example of the "religious right" and their slogan of "Gods, Guns, and Gays"). It's his belief that the anti-war movement is shutting out important parts of it's would be constituency such as veterans, with actions like attacking the act of military service, pursuing counter recruitment activities and so on. He believes that the anti-war movement would be more effective by basing it's actions on a philosophy of adherence to the constitution and nothing more, rather than convoluting the anti-war message with every other matter of progressive interest.

Finally the book contains two important appendixes: A copy of the United States Constitution, and a copy of the United Nations Charter - Illuminating reading for anyone who hasn't taken the opportunity to do so.

Overall it's a short and powerful read that offers to many a different way to think about what it will take to really "make a difference".
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
The peace movement doesn't need or want to become militarized.

So much of what Ritter suggests is antithetical to the most common beliefs and understandings of the vast majority of the peace movement groups in this country, and around the world.

Ritter doesn't understand the connection between the means and the ends. He makes this VERY clear when he says that the anti-war movement is losing in the name of peace and justice. King was as precise as a laser when he said that peace is more than the absence of conflict; that without justice there is no peace. Participative democracy doesn't flow from hierarchical organizations. Peace movement affinity groups encourage people to work together as equals; they are actually more self-sufficient than the units he describes.

Ritter, like many mainstream journalists, mis-characterizes the anti-war efforts as a movement. Many groups oppose these wars. for different reasons. Many different expressions of opposition from different kinds of groups is more likely to reach a broad segment of the American population than any other. The fact that the wars continue reflects more the indifference to what Americans want from the government than any failure of the peace groups.

None of Ritter's proposals would make the active peace groups any better able to withstand the surveillance, undercover provocateurs, or disruptions from the police. None of his ideas would actually supersede the budgets, staff time or other resources that the government and war-related corporate interests have available. All of his suggestions would have people only respond to the war mongers on their timetable. None of the experienced peace activists want to spend their time and talent becoming exactly like the people who oppose them.

The better strategists to learn from about waging a struggle for peace are the people who've waged their struggles nonviolently - Gandhi, King, Chavez; also the leaders of the dozen revolutions of the last 30 years that used no weapons.

Getting back to means versus ends, peace people don't want to 'win' demonstrations. The core strategy of peace movement groups is to change the relationship between the two sides.

Publisher's Weekly has it right.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ritter's book doesn't add much to his original provocative AlterNet op-ed argument that needs hearing. It's slim (fewer than 200 pages) and fully half of those pages are filler:

* 63 pages are devoted to reprinting the complete text of the U.S. Constitution (including the full list of signatories) and of the U.N. Charter -- as though nobody knew how to look those up on-line

* 7 pages reprint the AlterNet op-ed

* 10 pages are blank

* 20 pages are title / copyright / table-of-contents / index / throat-clearing

* That leaves fewer than 100 pages of meat, even if you include the two diagrams and the sometimes lengthy quotes from other sources

It's really a magazine article-sized argument that's been puffed up to fit in a book.
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on December 5, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Excellent. H.Sh.
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