Jerry Pournelle was a very prolific science fiction and science fact writer. I got introduced to his writing in his classic non-fiction work A Step Farther Out, where he discusses the possibility of man exploring space, and what it will take to get us out there.
After the September 11 attacks, my favorite place to go to for insight on the attack and how we should respond to it was Jerry Pournelle’s mail column, which culled out the more emotional responses and gave me a good summary of how we, as a nation, felt about the attack and how to respond to it.
In late October of 2001, Jerry Pournelle was right that nation building in Afghanistan (“Empire” as he called it) went over and beyond our responsibilities there:
I want people to realize that it costs to attack the US. Beyond that I want OUT of those areas. This is not likely to happen. We are not likely to choose Republic. We are likely to choose Empire.He was right: Trying to build empire in Afghanistan did not work. When we left Afghanistan, it was pretty much the same nation that we entered in 2001, the only exception being that Bin Laden is no more.
Pournelle was a very intelligent and kind man. While I did not agree with him on everything, he came from an age where we could disagree on political topics but still respect one another.
I enjoy his writing style and how he presented an alternate point of view. I especially enjoy the letter section on his blog, where a lot of people would send him email. He would cull the email, only publishing the most intelligent and insightful commentary, while leaving the more emotionally laden “flame bait” kinds of personal attacks unpublished.
I miss the days of greats like Jerry Pournelle.
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