One especially ugly word an author never wants to hear is "pulp."
To pulp a book is not merely to remove it from sale, but literally to destroy it, reducing the actual paper itself — and all of your words and thoughts — to a goopy chemical mash. I've had one of my books threatened with pulping even before it went on sale, so I can empathize with Anthony Shaffer, who has just had the first printing of his book gooped by a gang of goofy censors inside the Pentagon.
Shaffer, a lieutenant colonel who served as an Army intelligence officer in Afghanistan, had written Operation Dark Heart, an unflattering assessment of America's military intelligence bureaucracy. Playing by the rules, Shaffer had dutifully submitted his completed manuscript to the Army prior to publication, getting its official approval in January to publish.
So, 10,000 copies were printed and placed in a distribution warehouse, about 100 advance copies were sent to book reviewers, and Shaffer even received the endorsement of a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who hailed the memoir as "one terrific book."
But in July, the goofiness hit the fan. Someone in the DIA began objecting to Shaffer's critique, and suddenly some 250 passages were deemed to contain military secrets. These so-called "secrets" were mostly well-known facts already published in news articles, Wikipedia and elsewhere.
But Shaffer's permission to publish was abruptly retracted. The Pentagon brass then bought the 10,000 warehoused copies — and, in the overbearing name of national security, had them pulped.
The pulping merely proves Shaffer's point about the heavy-handed stupidity of the military "intelligence" establishment.
Meanwhile, it's also showing once again that the Pentagon brass has way too many of our tax dollars to play with.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.
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