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Stiff was a Superintendent in the BSAP during the bush war, and has written extensively on conflict in Southern Africa, ranging from the Rhodesian war, the final struggles in South West Africa prior to Namibian independence, and the collapse of Zimbabwe as seen in the farm occupations with the first genuine hint of a successful political opposition in Zimbabwe.

His fictional "The Rain Goddess" (Jacaranda Press, Salisbury, 1973) had as its selling point the cover note "On our first day in the Rhodesian army, the Major said we should read The Rain Goddess, because that is how the war is . . . and that is how it was." All Rhodesian actions are legal, justified, and often regretted - certainly when compared to terrorists opposing the rule of law. Many of the terrorists are at least able to regret their actions, but feel that they have no choice - once a terrorist, the only way out is death or prison.