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Alpha male’s emails reveal novel approach to military liaison work

[26 Nov 2012] On our occasional writing-skills courses for military people, we like to remind them that if they’re writing at work, they’re a species of professional writer.

Looks like this is particularly true of the US military, where General John Allen, the next Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and head of US Forces in Afghanistan, found time to create a 20,000–30,000-page email correspondence with volunteer ‘military liaison officer’ Jill Kelley of Florida from 2010 to 2012.

At, say, 300 words a billet-doux, this adds up to almost the length of Paula Broadwell’s biography of the dashing General David Petraeus, head of the CIA. Petraeus resigned after his affair with Broadwell, a gun-company spokesperson, became public.

Liberal peer Paddy Ashdown, no stranger to the occasional liaison himself in the cause of duty, has declared the war in Afghanistan lost. Could too much writing be partly to blame? 

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